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The development of an automated system for the cutting and plantingof rose cuttings

Exploitable results

Cuttings are one of the most common methods of plant propagation. In propagation by cuttings, a portion of a stem, root or leaf is cut from the parent plant, after which this plant part is placed under certain favourable environmental conditions and induced to form roots and shoots, thus producing a new independent plant which, in most cases, is identical with the parent plant. The propagation of potroses is a manual process/procedure that has the following (technical) limitations: - the productivity is limited; the average productivity per person is 800 - 900 cuttings/h. - the (through-put) time from the cutting of the rose branches to the planting of the rose cuttings should be as short as possible in order to reach the best quality. - the variations in quality by variation in expertise and concentration amongst the workers. - the quality of the labour is low. Moreover, there is frequent skin contact with the plant, etc. Main technical results Two prototypes have been developed and built. These prototypes are the rose cutting and planting system (RCPS) and the potting machine. The Intellectual Property Rights of the underlying principles have been patented. The field tests with the RCPS-prototype revealed a number of aspects to be taken into account in the redesign and production engineering of the prototype. The outcome of the redesign and reengineering is the design of a new concept that is being further developed by the involved machine construction companies. A preliminary estimate show that the potential benefits (industrial impact) of such a system are favourable compared to the foreseen costs (depreciation of investments and operational costs). Impact on the environment, working conditions, society, etc. The potential safety, social and environmental benefits are: - less loss of productivity by improvement of the reliability/quality; - safer, reliable and ergonomic automation process and procedures; - higher degree of job satisfaction through: better quality control, operator friendly control, more intelligent work, simple maintenance and cleaning, low noise level (< 78 decibels), etc.; - improving the quality standards for potroses.