Automatic grafting

Innovation is ongoing business, also in rootstock. One of the first automatic grafting machines was introduced in 2007. Since then, a robot can graft young tomato and aubergine plants. This machine was developed in The Netherlands and uses ingenious techniques.

Handling the grafting machine is surprisingly easy. The pre-cut rootstocks enter in trays. The scions are entered piece by piece in a carrousel of twelve positions. The operator determines the grafting position on the scion, with the help of a laser line projected on the plant. The grafting robot uses a clip to fasten the rootstock to the scion. This clip is identical shape and material to the one used in manual grafting.

The grafting machine has a unique cutting system ensuring that the cuts are parallel and stems match almost precisely. One of the most important benefits is the high lever of hygiene: the machine is easy to disinfect and there is minimal plant contact. Moreover, the machine has an automatic blade changer, so it is possible to define after how many grafts the blades need to be changed.

The grafting robot realises up to more than a thousands grafts per minute. And that truly is a breakthrough for the production process of grafted plants. Extensive practical research has proven that the rootstocks of De Ruiter are extremely suitable for automatic grafting.

Courtesy of Iso Group (Gameren, The Netherlands).

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