"One of the biggest bottlenecks for most vertical farms is labor-intensity and associated costs. Our first focus was to reduce manual handling," says Ard van de Kreeke, Growx's CEO and founder.
Growx has recently been featured in the 75th edition of RuMoer Magazine by BOUT, a master student association program in Building Technology at TU Delft, the Netherlands. The 75th issue is dedicated to urban farming as a solution for reconnecting the urban population to their food sources.
Ard continues, "Not only to reduce cost but also to ensure a constant quality of produce. The implementation of 100% robotization was successfully introduced in 2020. This not only makes a huge difference in labor costs and produce quality but also keeps the cell extremely clean. Human interfaces are only needed for malfunctions and checks. Another additional advantage is that there is no need to keep aisles and room for personnel to move around."
Each plant (gutters) continuously records broad water and nutrients, exposure and air quality. But also a photographic representation in visible and infra-red light. This data stream is centrally stored and analyzed with the aim of developing optimal cultivation profiles.
Growx's robots pick up the entire process from start to finish, in other words, from seeds to harvest. "As soon as the plant moves on to the next phase of the growing cycle, the robot can respond automatically. Think of different light- or water composition," says Ard.
The company created a closed-loop system, where 100% of their waste is recycled to produce energy, CO2, water and nutrients. They use an anaerobic digester for all the waste, which results in biogas that can be used for heat pumps and CO2 for the plants to use.
The complete article can be found here.