Australian Greenhouse Uses RFID to Pick Tomatoes Efficiently

RFID tomatod’Vineripe, an Australian tomato grower, has begun to employ RFID technology in order to better manage staff productivity, ultimately making tomato picking easier and more efficient. With the new RFID system, management is able to know what their staff of over 100 is doing in the greenhouses at any given moment, which tasks have been completed, and how long they took.

Since d’Vineripe has four 80,000 square-foot greenhouses with thousands of tomato plants, it typically takes between 50-120 employees to work on the plants every day. The tomato plants need to be checked for pruning, pollinating, de-leafing, pest/disease control, and picking.

Prior to the RFID based system, all the work was managed using clipboards and employees had to manually sign in and were then assigned tasks. Details of the tasks were written down on paper and d’Vineripe had no way of keeping track what tasks were being completed by a worker within a particular team, or how quickly each task was done, thus they were operating inefficiently.

Now, each greenhouse contains 120 rows of tomatoes and each row requires eight tasks to be completed at different intervals. In order to make this possible, a worker arrives at a workstation at the beginning of their shift and presents their ID badge. The badge contains a 13.56 MHz RFID transponder embedded inside it, and its unique ID number is linked to the individual’s name in the database. As the worker completes their daily tasks, the greenhouse’s station manager reads their RFID tag, linking the individual to their assigned task and row.

By implementing an RFID system, d’Vineripe was able to better manage their workers, thus creating a more organized, efficient company, ultimately saving both time and money.