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Automation and software for vertical farms

Swisslog, provider of warehouse automation and software, has created automation systems that bring scalability, flexibility and lower costs to vertical farming. 

“At Swisslog, we are researching and exploring applications where our automation technology could improve efficiencies,” said Dr. Christian Baur, CEO of Swisslog. “By bringing automation technology to vertical farming, we can help strengthen the food supply chain, transform abandoned urban buildings into growing facilities, contribute to reductions in pollution and, most importantly, eliminate food deserts.”

The 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.

"Without the help of cost-effective and flexible automation, vertical farming is not profitable or scalable beyond the niche applications it currently occupies,” said Markus Schmidt, President of Swisslog Americas. “By taking a logistics-market approach to vertical farming, we can provide scalable, adaptable, cost-effective automation solutions for low-footprint, vertically stacked installations that can handle planting, monitoring, maintenance and harvesting – as well as the complex scheduling and logistics of such an operation.” 

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