Kronen has collaborated with partners to develop a new robotic solution that cuts, pits and peels avocados

German fresh-cut machinery expert Kronen has partnered with the DIL German Institute of Food Technology, robotics supplier Stäubli and a customer in the UK to develop a new solution for cutting, pitting and peeling avocados.

Kronen avocado cutting machine

According to Kronen, the automated robot-based solution offers a “multitude of advantages” compared to conventional processing in areas such as hygiene, reliability, flexibility and yield, while also eliminating the stress caused by turning during manual processing.

The new solution was demonstrated live at Anuga FoodTec in March and was then delivered for a practical test at Lazy Food, a producer of fresh guacamole from Ridderkerk in the Netherlands.

“In the case of avocados, which are very sensitive, you may initially think that a machine-based solution is not possible,” says Kronen managing director Stephen Zillgith. “Here at Kronen, however, we have decades of experience in food processing, even with sensitive products, and we invest a great deal in research and development to advance our customers with innovative solutions.

“In this case, manual processing is not ergonomic and cannot achieve better results,” he continues. “The quality and yield achieved by the robotic solution are just as high, if not better, which is why we chose to develop this brand-new solution.”

The new line can be used to peel, halve and pit avocados gently and efficiently, while it can also be adapted to process different types of fruit that are suitable for robotic processing in the middle segment.

Kronen notes that, depending on the capacity required, several robots can be used simultaneously, with three robots able to process up to 1,000 avocados per hour. A wide variety of additions can also be introduced to further extend the line, it says, such as a cutting machine to subsequently cut the peeled, halved avocados into slices.

“An advantage of this automated solution is the reliability of the robot, which is not impaired even in cold temperature ranges and minimises the risk of failure,” the group explains. “The robot can additionally be easily cleaned and decontaminated, thus enabling maximum hygiene in the processing facility. What’s more, it can also be used – flexibly and as needed – for any length of time and processes a fixed, calculable amount of fruit during operation.”

The system features integrated Stäubli robots with specially treated surfaces for optimal cleaning. It also has its own separate safety housing and is equipped with remote maintenance technology, meaning that customers can make the most of quick and direct support from a Kronen service employee if required.