Swisslog has launched automation systems that bring scalability, flexibility and lower costs to vertical farming, allowing them to be installed and maintained in a range of pre-existing and purpose-built spaces. These systems help broaden the applicability of growing crops and bring food production closer to consumers in densely populated urban areas.
The broad portfolio of Swisslog automation solutions provides flexibility in customizing systems and configurations based on the strategy, growing process, crop type and space availability of the vertical farming operation. For instance, one approach could use a shuttle system with a modular design, such as Swisslog’s PowerStore high density shuttle system. In this possible installation, automated shuttles would move around discrete plant shelving units inside an enclosed room or facility. Each shelving unit could hold multiple plant trays, depending on plant growth height needs. Shelving units would move around the enclosed space based on the needs of the plants for water, nutrients, light, planting, germination, maintenance, harvesting and monitoring.
While the global market for vertical farming is forecasted to increase, many operations are still only able to profitably grow a limited number of crops. The Swisslog automation solutions will help the industry overcome barriers to growth by providing the following potential benefits:
Orchestrating the process by using essential parts of Swisslog’s SynQ management software to support automated flow in production of the plant.
Enabling installation into in diverse types of spaces (e.g. abandoned warehouses in urban centers, unused floor space in office buildings or new purpose-built facilities).
Lowering the cost of labor for harvesting, planting and logistics.
Reducing energy use by optimizing lighting system.
Decreasing costs of nurturing the plant by using unique space management arrangement.
Shrinking transportation costs by enabling vertical farming to be placed closer to point of sale.