Automation of processes during production of commercial oil palm seeds

Randall Chinchilla, Ricardo Escobar

Abstract


Guarantying the quality and genetic purity of hybrid oil palm seeds requires precision, control, traceability and constant validation of many processes; both in the field (identifying mother palms and pollen sources, pollination, identification of bunches etc.) and in the facilities where seeds are prepared (identification of batches, cleaning of seeds, germination etc.) for final selling. All these processes can be affected by human error which may have very negative effects on the final product (germinated oil palm seeds) that are offered in the international market to start new oil palm plantations. The objective of automating is to reduce human intervention as much as possible (in the form of hand written forms and reports mainly) to ensure a better control of the information, guarantee its integrity and increase productivity of the human asset.This paper describes the changes done to old methods to accomplish the said objectives during the processes to producing and handling oil palm seeds at the ASD Costa Rica facilities in Coto, Costa Rica. Changes done included the use of mobile devices to capture data in the field and at the seed processing unit, the identification with barcodes of mother palms, pollen sources, seed batches and other key elements, all to guarantee the integrity of the information and traceability, and the reduction of possible human errors.

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