Cutting produce with water: "the produce stays fresher"

With a large collection of greenhouses located in Essex County, local industrial automation and technology companies see an opportunity to transfer the skills honed in the automotive sector to the agricultural industry.

After the automotive industry, agricultural is the second largest segment of the local economy. "The growers are open to technology, but they're very traditional in their ways," said Durobyte vice president Curtis Laurie. "There's automation in agriculture, but they have tended to look to the Netherlands for it because that's what they've always done. Our challenge is to get them to look closer to home."

Durobyte, which pivoted from an automotive services firm to a manufacturer to survive the COVID pandemic, is literally on the cutting edge of the technology being introduced to horticulture. They've taken water jet cutting technology employed in the automotive industry and created an assembly line process that can be used by fruit and vegetable growers.

Laurie said Durobyte's water jet cutting machine is the only one of its kind designed for use in horticulture. "We thought, we use water jets to cut steel, why not for produce? The machine can produce a stream of water up to 60,000 psi. It's clean, it's sustainable using both new and recycled water, and the vegetables stay fresher longer when they're cut using water."

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