Maro Dedel (left) from DERO GROUP and Karel van Hattum from Jamafa at Mopabloem’s first FlowerCatcher.

There is a growing need in the cut flower industry to automate labour-intensive tasks. To meet this need, the companies Jamafa and DERO have joined forces to combine specialist knowledge of cut flower processing with know-how in the application of industrial robots. Their joint mission? Making the cut flower processing hands-free with the help of industrial robots.

Due to the scarcity of good labour, there is a growing need in the cut flower industry to automate labour-intensive tasks. The application of industrial robots can offer a solution. Robots can be used flexibly for repetitive tasks, they are immune to disease, deliver stable quality and have the ability to work 24/7.

Cut flower industry

Despite the advance of robots within many industries, hardly any robots are used in the cut flower industry. Jamafa wants to change that.

“Within the industry, we notice that there is a strong growing need to automate manual labour,” said Karel van Hattum of Jamafa Machinery. “Until recently, workers were sufficiently available and relatively cheap, but times change quickly. That is why we have been working on further automating the processing of flowers for years.

Processing the loose flowers was still the missing link, however, we noticed that the complexity surrounding the handling of flowers requires a specialist and flexible solution, which is how we arrived at industrial robots. In order to realise our ambition, we looked for a partner who has knowledge of robot technology. We ended up with the DERO GROUP, who were already active within the cut flower industry with the FlowerCatcher. A perfect match, we the knowledge of flower processing, they the knowledge of robots.”

Jamafa Machinery has developed a number of innovative concepts in recent years that will be rolled out in the market in the near future.

Industrial robots

Not only is it becoming increasingly difficult to find the right people, labour costs and increasingly strict rules surrounding the working environment are also leading to an increasing choice of robots. Maro Dedel, CEO and founder of DERO GROEP, knows all about this. He stood at the cradle of robotization in the Netherlands and saw with his own eyes how robots have found their way over the past 35 years. “Despite the great advance of industrial robots, there are still many industries to be discovered where creativity, drive and expertise are required for the right solutions. The flower processing industry is such an industry. We look forward to working with Jamafa to make the cut flower handling hands-free”.

Growing market

Robotization is one of the fastest growing markets worldwide. At the end of 2020, more than 2.7 million industrial robots were active in production environments worldwide. This is evident from data from the International Federation of Robotics (IFR). “The amount of industrial robots operating in factories is the highest ever,” said Milton Guerry, President of the IFR. In a period of five years (2014-2019) this equates to a worldwide growth of 85%. Robots find their way to all industries, especially where manual labour is heavy and repetitive. The cut flower industry has actually stayed behind because this requires highly specialized knowledge. Because Jamafa has been active in this industry for over 90 years, this is now changing.

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