The Belgian-Dutch company is the first to introduce a UV-C robot on a large scale that can drive autonomously throughout the greenhouse without using a pipe rail system

During a demo in the Dutch village of Achtmaal at the start of April, growers got a glimpse of the UV-C robot, the latest in the Lumion robotic line, at work.

Navigating autonomously, Octiva’s UV-C robot has been commercially available for some time, but until now the robot always navigated using pipe rails between the crops. Thanks to this new “no rail” application, Octiva said, UV-C technology can now be made more widely available.

The robot drives on pneumatic tyres and can remain in the middle of the row using cameras and smart software.

Octiva CEO Tom Coen commented: “This is a logical step after the success of Lumion with our customers. We often receive requests from growers without pipe rail systems and now we can respond to them. Of course this platform is also compatible with our full range of applications.”

“As always with Octiva’s robots, no adjustments to the infrastructure, not even markers, are required to be able to drive around,” the company stated. “Thanks to smart technology, the robot is able to determine where it should drive and intervenes in unforeseen circumstances and safety situations. Thanks to intelligent trajectory generation, the robot can also quickly deal with changes in the greenhouse or cultivation.”

For growers still on the fence about installing a rail system, the company pointed out that “no rail” Lumion can readily be converted into a traditional pipe rail robot by equipping it with other wheels.

On 3 April, growers from various auctions and cooperatives came to view this latest variant of Lumion at Mark Roovers’ strawberry farm in Achtmaal.

“Over the past few years, Mark Roovers has acted as a pilot company to validate this version,” Octiva said. “There is a lot of demand from the sector for quickly deployable and reliable solutions to tackle mildew and other diseases, especially since chemicals have become increasingly difficult to apply.”

Octiva said that UV-C had been proven to be an effective treatment for powdery mildew on, among other crops, strawberries. “By using the UV-C robot, significantly less residue can be found on the fruits, thanks to autonomous application during the night,” it revealed. “As of today, Lumion is available for soft fruit and highwire crops, both with and without a rail system.”