According to a Christiaens Group press release on December 21st, Heereco, a pioneer in organic mushroom cultivation in the Netherlands, is implementing the most fully integrated automated solution for mushroom harvesting in the fresh market. This is realized through the strategic integration of Christiaens’ Drawer System and Mycionics’ robotic technology, including the pointer system.
In 2021, Heereco decided to construct a new mushroom farm in Uden with a layout based on a multi-zone system. They chose to equip the farm with the drawer system developed by Christiaens Group, the second mushroom farm to feature the system in Europe, but the first built specially around this concept.
A lower cost price, higher yields and improved labour conditions were the motivating factors behind the choice for this system according to Jeffrey Heeren, co-owner of Heereco (see articles in Mushroom Business 87, 114 and 121). End of September 2022, all the rooms were in production and participants at the BDC Jahrestagung could visit the site.
In collaboration with Mycionics, Christiaens Group will take the automated system for mushroom harvesting at Heereco in 2024 a step further up to the packhouse.
Next step in automation
According to Christiaens, their “future-proof Drawer System, combined with Mycionics’ state-of-the-art robotic technology, marks a significant advancement in the field. Mycionics’ robotic picker, working in tandem with human efforts, demonstrates the capability to harvest mushrooms at twice the speed. This not only boosts productivity but also reduces reliance on human labor, resulting in increased crop yields and superior quality at a reduced production cost. The integrated robotic picker, coupled with the Christiaens platform, promises a fast return on investment.”
To further enhance automation, the automated packaging system efficiently places mushrooms into containers and transports them for packing and shipment preparation, bringing consistency and efficiency to the packaging process.
“Mycionics’ Pointer System creates an optimal interaction between robot and human, improving harvesting efficiency, reducing training time for new pickers and minimizing picking errors. Next to that, big data offers real-time information about the mushroom bed, including: size, microclimate, growth rate and quality, adding invaluable insight to the cultivation process”, says Christiaens.
Christiaens’ Drawer System, enhanced with robotic capabilities, is seen by the supplier as a game-changer in farm productivity, “Demonstrating the potential to enhance both quantity and quality of mushroom crops, this system outperforms traditional shelf farms reliant on manual labor, offering a remarkable fast return on investment and a significant advancement in mushroom farming efficiency.”
“Our commitment to organic cultivation and innovation creates that we partner only with the best in the market for automated mushroom harvesting. This groundbreaking technology of Mycionics and Christiaens enhances our productivity and aligns seamlessly with our dedication to sustainability. We believe this marks a transformative moment in the future of mushroom farming”, said Jeffrey Heeren, owner of Heereco.
Heereco is a leading organic mushroom cultivation company known for its commitment to sustainable farming practices and continuous innovation. With 12,000 square meters of production on 3 sites, Heereco combines environmental consciousness with cutting-edge technology.
Mycionics is a leader in the development of robotic solutions for the agriculture industry. With a strong commitment to innovation, Mycionics is dedicated to enhancing agricultural processes, increasing efficiency, and reducing labor dependency through cutting-edge robotics technology.
Christiaens Group is a global leader in innovative solutions for mushroom cultivation, organic waste composting and mycelium products. With a rich history of innovation, Christiaens Group is dedicated to shaping the future of mushroom farming through forward-thinking concepts and technology integration.
In the picture: Mycionics’ robot technology and pointer system on Christiaens’ drawer system.