Automation of Grading and Sticking Vegetative Cuttings
Department of Agriculture
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Small Business Information
152 Oglevee Lane, Connellsville, PA, 15425
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
Mr. J. Robert Oglevee
AbstractCurrently the floriculture industry is moving off-shore to reduce labor costs. Automation of labor-intensive operations in floriculture promises to keep U.S. greenhouses competitive. Unfortunately, the U.S. lags behind Europe in the automation of greenhouses and such technology is not readily available in this country. We have identified the propagation of geraniums as an application that is ripe for automation. Currently the propagation (harvesting, cleaning and rooting) of geraniums is entirely manual. The task is tedious, and a significant effort is expended in training and retaining skilled workers. We anticipate that with our current methods of production, total costs of production will rise approximately 5% per year. We will develop technology that freezes production costs while improving quality. Sepecifically we have identified parts of this cycle that would benefit most from automation. Recent research results indicate that automation is possible; our main task is to develop systems that are economically feasible. We propose to: 1) develop a fully automated system that will grade plant cuttings; 2) study three types of automation systems to stick cuttings; and 3) study the changes in greenhouse design necessary to support automation.
* information listed above is at the time of submission.