“A common misconception that people have is that automation is “high-tech and therefore complicated. Automation can be high-tech – but it doesn’t have to be. Automation is simply a logical solution to a process that can be simplified and more efficient,” says Jean-Pierre Coene, CEO at Urban Crop Solutions.
Yesterday, UCS announced a partnership with an Italian supplier of horticulture and nurseries equipment, Da Ros S.R.L, and as Jean-Pierre argues, this clearly shows the advanced stage that the vertical farming industry is now in. In the beginning, the industry was working mostly on a low-budget level, but now the industry has matured and is using much more advanced installations.
Through this partnership, Urban Crop Solutions extends its end-to-end offering further, as well with after-sales support and maintenance on this equipment. Da Ros S.R.L. is a machinery manufacturer with headquarters in Italy, that has been supplying the horticultural sector with specialized peripheral equipment for over 35 years.
“We can see this in the types of installations that are emerging, and the applications for which it is being used. We are already at a stage where companies are scaling up their volumes. An increase in production, however, comes with an increase in labor costs. And depending on geographic location, this can be extremely costly and, in a sense, ‘make or break’ the profitability of a business,” explains Filip Meeuws, Global Sales Director at Urban Crop Solutions.
“To give an example of the role that automation can play, we can take baby leaves. Baby leaves are high-density crops, that require much shorter growth cycles, and therefore more frequent seeding than other crops. And are moreover tiny and hardly visible – making the seeding process already a bit more strenuous. Switching to an automated seeder here would ease a lot of burdens and be a gamechanger.”
This partnership with Da Ros, is an expansion of their offering and offers their customers the convenience and guarantee of a more centralized and complete solution. Discussing what this means for Urban Crop Solutions, and why the company has opted to expand its offering to peripheral machinery, CEO, Jean-Pierre Coene said:
More automation to come
For the future, Filip expects much more of the production process to be automated, as automation is such a broad movement in the sector. “This can range from potting machines, seeders, harvesting equipment, tray-fillers, soil handling equipment, etc. We can, therefore, together with our clients, figure out what is needed to ease their operation and complete the solution that we are offering them. Our aim is to offer a complete end-to-end solution, by integrating into our own solutions, high-quality machinery made by reputable producers that match our own standards of quality.”
This is also the direction in which Urban Crop Solutions aims to move. “We understand how all the cogs in the machine interact with each other. Therefore, our customer doesn’t need to worry about calling out two different technical teams to resolve a problem. Before we walk away from servicing a harvesting machine, for example, we will make sure that the entire indoor farming set-up is intact” Jean-Pierre adds.
For more information:
Urban Crop Solutions
Grote Heerweg 67, 8791 Beveren-Leie (Waregem), Belgium
800 Brickell Avenue 1100 Suite, Miami (FL 33131), USA
+32 56 96 03 06