Automatic Flowers Classification

Have you ever been at the monumental Aalsmeer Flower Auction, near Amsterdam in Holland? 20 million flowers are traded there every day in a building whose floor space measures close to one million square meters! This huge operation receives flowers bins from all over the world, trades them in an auction called bloemenveiling and finally ships them to the location decided by the buyer.
Warehouse at Aalsmeer Floraholland, the world's largest flower auction

Warehouse at Aalsmeer Floraholland, world’s largest flower auction

There is no much room for uncertainty at Aalsmeer: if you want your flowers to be bought at their right value, you’d better tag each bin with perfectly precise information, provided by an objective measurement tool, such as the one provided by RSIP Vision to one of his clients. In fact, flowers need not only to be classified following their species and color, but also according to other features providing an indication of the expected life span of the flowers in the bin, in particular the stem width.

flowers sorting

This is why RSIP Vision’s flower sorting algorithms are needed to provide the optimal solution. The strict regulations of Aalsmeer can be met by an accurate classification method installed at the production center: infrared technology enable cameras placed on a conveyor belt to overcome the problem of low color contrast due to the dirty bins in the background. RSIP Vision’s sophisticated algorithms segment accurately edges, leaves and stems and differentiate between overlapping parts. In fact, segmentation starting from the bottom of each stem encounters a difficulty at every split, which might lead to a leaf and not to the top of the flower. Here graph theory methods proves very helpful in representing the image as a layer graph, on which neighboring pixels with intensity differences are the basis for edge weights.

A glimpse at our flower sorting software operating on a grading machine (courtesy Tecto Ltd)

Several steps of the flower sorting operation can be viewed in the above video. Once a flower’s features are identified, that flower is conveyed to the appropriate bin, which will be marked by the software according to the common features found in its content. This objective and accurate classification provides full certainty to buyers in Aalsmeer about the content of the flower bin being auctioned: flowers, buds and stems of different breeds, sizes and shapes are sorted according to the trade market’s criteria. Thanks to RSIP Vision’s flower sorting software, buyers can bid higher prices, since they are sure of the quality of the merchandise they are buying. In addition to this benefit for the producer/seller, our solution has other advantages too: it saves time, prevents waste and frees personnel for other tasks. Don’t hesitate to Contact Us to discuss how we can help you meet your automatic classification needs.
35660417 - amsterdam - september 22: flower auction taking place at aalsmeer floraholland, taken on september 22, 2014 in amsterdam, netherlands

The flower auction room at Aalsmeer Floraholland