The Korea Herald


CNH Industrial awards sustainability innovation grants to startups Blixify Meraque and Sofien


Published : June 9, 2023 - 15:10

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BANGKOK, June 9, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- CNH Industrial has awarded innovation grants to start-ups Blixify Meraque and Sofien for their outstanding zero waste solutions as part of Enterprise Singapore's Sustainability Open Innovation Challenge 2022.

The Sustainability Open Innovation Challenge brought together industry partners and creative innovators to co-develop sustainable solutions in areas such as zero waste, sustainable food sourcing, materials, and packaging.

CNH Industrial's zero waste challenge statement focused on the mechanization of palm oil harvesting using robotics and new technologies. By improving harvesting efficiency, farmers can maximise yields from current growing areas, ultimately resulting in less waste and reduced environmental impact.

Matthieu Sejourne, Vice President of Brand and Commercial Services CNH Industrial APAC region, said, "Large-scale palm oil farming can present social and environmental challenges, but it's a crop that is very important globally. We have to find a solution that will make production efficient, sustainable and safe."

The palm oil industry, with an annual harvest of 71 million tonnes, predominantly relies on manual harvesting methods. This labour-intensive process involves workers cutting fruit bunches from the trees using knives on long poles, resulting in significant fruit loss and safety issues.

After a comprehensive evaluation based on technical criteria, Blixify Meraque and Sofien emerged as the first and second placed projects, respectively. In addition to receiving cash and in-kind prizes, CNH Industrial has committed to being the initial launch customer for both start-ups, and to support their IP development and go-to-market strategies.

"Safety is paramount, as is affordability, for an innovation to benefit smallholder farmers. The two winning prototypes were very interesting and met the key criteria. We look forward to co-developing these projects," Matthieu added.

Malaysian consortium Blixify Meraque designed a pruning and harvesting machine using computer vision and AI technology. The machine incorporates sensors and cameras to analyse the colour and texture of palm oil fruit, accurately detecting its ripeness before harvest.

Sofien, a startup based in Brazil, meanwhile created a cutting device attachment equipped with two mounted cameras and sensors to detect and monitor the ripeness of palm oil fruit, ensuring efficient harvesting.

The Sustainability Open Innovation Challenge is part of CNH Industrial's on-going engagement with the Singapore Agri-Food Innovation Lab (SAIL) at Nanyang Technological University. In 2021, CNH Industrial partnered with SAIL to foster innovation and explore opportunities for co-developing sustainable agriculture solutions with the start-up ecosystem, academic and research institutions in Singapore and Southeast Asia. 

CNH Industrial (NYSE: CNHI / MI: CNHI) is a world-class equipment and services company. Driven by its purpose of Breaking New Ground, which centers on Innovation, Sustainability and Productivity, the Company provides the strategic direction, R&D capabilities, and investments that enable the success of its global and regional Brands. Globally, Case IH and New Holland Agriculture supply 360° agriculture applications from machines to implements and the digital technologies that enhance them; and CASE and New Holland Construction Equipment deliver a full lineup of construction products that make the industry more productive. The Company's regionally focused Brands include: STEYR, for agricultural tractors; Raven, a leader in digital agriculture, precision technology and the development of autonomous systems; Flexi-Coil, specializing in tillage and seeding systems; Miller, manufacturing application equipment; Kongskilde, providing tillage, seeding and hay & forage implements; and Eurocomach, producing a wide range of mini and midi excavators for the construction sector, including electric solutions. Across a history spanning over two centuries, CNH Industrial has always been a pioneer in its sectors and continues to passionately innovate and drive customer efficiency and success. As a truly global company, CNH Industrial's 40,000+ employees form part of a diverse and inclusive workplace, focused on empowering customers to grow, and build, a better world.

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