Robotics company Robit, known for implementing AI technology in robotics to address societal challenges, has developed a new model of their robot system “CUTR” specifically designed for automating the cutting process of irregular food items such as lettuce. By increasing the number of articulated robots from one to two and enabling parallel operations, the company has successfully enhanced the system’s processing speed. The robots are capable of cutting lettuce, adjusting the portions according to weight, and removing inedible parts at a remarkable rate of 12 cuts per minute. The target market for this cutting-edge technology includes vendors in the retail industry handling a significant amount of cut vegetables, as well as plant factories.
Previously, Robit had already developed AI-powered robots that efficiently cut maitake mushrooms and remove lettuce cores, performing at the level of skilled human workers. Leveraging these technologies, they have now expanded their portfolio to introduce the “CUTR” robot system, capable of flexibly cutting irregularly shaped food ingredients and eliminating inedible portions.
In response to the demand for increased processing speed in industrial settings, Robit has taken steps to meet the needs by doubling the number of robots to two. Each robot grasps a lettuce head and efficiently directs it to the cutting machine’s blade. The cutting machine, which is self-manufactured, incorporates a carefully designed cooperative programming to ensure that the two robots do not interfere with each other.
Lettuce exhibits various shapes, lengths of roots, and sizes, making it a challenging ingredient to process.
With the AI technology implemented in CUTR, the system automatically estimates the position and orientation of lettuce heads, determining the precise location and angle for optimal cuts. This advanced capability enables the system to achieve yields equal to or surpassing those of human workers.
Furthermore, the system allows for adjustments in cutting according to weight, accommodating different sizes such as M or L, as well as half-cuts. It is also versatile enough to handle different lettuce varieties, including green lettuce and leaf lettuce. Mr. Arai, the company’s CEO, emphasized that the system is particularly suitable for plant factories with consistent year-round operation and standardized sizes.