In an age of worker shortages, automated solutions like Sorma’s box filling robot are not only helping to make up the shortfall, but are also improving overall efficiency

Sorma box-filling robot FL 2024

Machinery specialist Sorma used Fruit Logistica to showcase its new box-filling robot for post-harvest fresh produce processing.

Designed to facilitate the placing of produce in boxes in an accurate, delicate and efficient way, the robot can place up to 30-40 packs of produce each minute.

Particularly unique is the automated hand that delicately places each pack in position, compared with an ordinary box filler which drops the packs of produce into a designated container after travelling along a conveyor.

The box filling robot can substitute for one or two production line operators, which is crucial in today’s market given the ongoing problem of labour shortages.

This was highlighted by Francesco Semprini, Sorma area manager, who spoke with Fruitnet at the trade show in Berlin.

“The robot was created because in Europe we have a lot of problems with workers,” he confirmed. ”So we want to help our customers with a solution that works continuously.

”When Covid restrictions finished, a lot of customers saw that workers were not available, so machinery like the box-filling robot is a great solution.”

Semprini highlighted how the new machinery was compact, offered a delicate method of placing and sorting the products - in this case potatoes - and utilised a 3D camera to organise products accurately.

“I think this machine is very good news for customers, because in two to three years it has paid back what it costs – it can carry out the work of one or two workers, without the inefficiencies associated with those workers,” he said.

The labour situation had driven interest in the technology at Fruit Logistica, Semprini noted, with much interest generated in the box-filling robot.

”Customers are happy to see this, and they would like to have this machinery,” he confirmed. ”In the past, the first thing they ask about is price. Now, they don’t ask about the price, they ask about availability, because the main problem is not cost but a lack of people working in production.”