Alibaba invests in tech for fruit handling
Alibaba has announced that it will add several new fruits, including Dekopon tangerines, to its online and offline ranges, thanks to the firm’s five new digital agricultural processing centres set up across the country, fitted with the latest technology. In Shandong, a sorting line for locally grown cherries will start operating in the Alibaba Zibo Digital Agriculture Warehouse in April. Until now, China had only been able to grade fruit for size and appearance, but not the colour. Colour is important not only for appearance but also as an indicator of ripeness. The new sorting equipment not only adds a colour index, but also establishes a more detailed index for inspecting appearance to eliminate problems such as soft flesh, cracked fruit, and deformity.
Meanwhile, the Alibaba Production Warehouse in Xi’an, in the northwest of the country, is developing a new robot whose main function is to transport the packed fruits to a location according to instructions and stack the boxes neatly. As the Spring Festival approaches, Orah mandarins from Yunnan and Guangxi are expected to reach large marketed volumes by mid-January. To this end, Alibaba’s two production warehouses in Kunming and Nanning are equipped with three fully automatic smart packaging lines, which can pack at least 100,000 packs per day. From sorting to packaging, 70% of the work can be done by robots.