Robots on ‘Shrooms
NGen to fund Canadian-made robotic mushroom harvesting system.
The project, led by Putnam, Ontario-based automation firm, Mycionics, will demonstrate the commercial viability of the company’s system at two southern Ontario mushroom operations: Whitecrest Mushrooms Ltd. and Piccioni Brothers Mushroom Farm Ltd. According to the company, its robotic system, using data analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence, will be the first to fully automate the end-to-end mushroom harvesting process.
“Our partnership with NGen will accelerate commercialization of Mycionics patented robotic mushroom harvesting to solve the increasing labour shortage affecting mushroom farms globally,” Mycionics CEO, Michael Curry. “Mycionics robotics were designed to simply integrate with existing mushroom farm infrastructure commonly used throughout the world.”
Mycionics says its robotic harvester can increase yield via a “smart graze harvesting” strategy, picking over a 24-hour period and allowing the system to pick each mushroom at the optimal time instead of being restricted to harvesting only during normal working hours. In addition using robotics paired with data analytics increases food safety, traceability and disease detection, the company says.
“This project serves to highlight exactly what NGen hopes to achieve through its supercluster project funding,” said Jayson Myers, CEO, NGen. “The Mycionics project brings together multiple partners from different sectors of the economy to develop and build a world class advanced manufacturing solution. In the process, Mycionics will create jobs, establish a Canadian supply chain for machine parts and assembly, help build out the entire advanced manufacturing ecosystem, and have a lasting and positive impact on Canadians and the economy.”