CROPS EU-project

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WP3: Manipulators and End-Effectors

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The objectives of WP3 are the design, modeling, manufacture, start-up and optimization of lowcost, lightweight, modular and compliant manipulators with exchangeable end-effectors and their motion control.

This workpackage is coordinated by the Technical University Munich (DE), Institute of Applied Mechanics.


Crops manipulator

Prototype of the multi-purpose agricultural manipulator developed in the project. It was designed and manufactured at the Technische Universität München, Institute of Applied Mechanics

You can watch some video clips of this prototype here.



While the manipulator is suitable for all three applications of the CROPS project, Festo needs to develop different gripper for handling sweet pepper, apples and graves.

Figure 1: First field test of the manipulator and gripper prototype in a greenhouse close to Wageningen, NL.

The third version of the gripper-prototype for sweet pepper can be seen in figure 1 mounted on the manipulator. On each gripper jaw there are mounted three Finray fingers which are able to adapt to the geometry of the peppers. One of them allows further on a rotative adaption.


Figure 2: Cutting devices for sweet pepper

The sweet pepper needs to be cut from the plant. Therefore Festo manufactured three different types of cutting devices shown in figure 2. The first one bases on a pneumatic linear drive, the second on a pneumatic angle gripper. The third one is special, because it is able to grip the peduncle of the pepper and cut it in one step.

Figure 3: Grippers for apples

For apple harvesting also different versions of the gripper were developed, the last prototype tested in the orchard in Chile in March 2012 can be seen in figure 3. It consists of a long stroke parallel gripper with two membrane jaws. In Chile it was tested, if a third, fixed finger pushing on the stem of the apple can help to optimize harvesting success.

Figure 4: Grippers for grapes

For grapes Festo developed two different grippers, that also were tested in Chile in March 2012. One bases on an angle gripper, the other on a parallel gripper. Both can grip the stem of the grapes and cut it in one step.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 January 2013 16:05