Vertical farms come with unique labor challenges that are not designed for efficient manual work. Leafy greens and herbs are the main harvest because of their fast cycle, high margin, and short shelf life. But with the natural characteristic of the produce, packing by the ounce (gram) remains as one of the most labor-intensive parts of the operation, explains Yamato Scale Co.

Normally about 15-20 people are put on the packing line with small scales to weigh the products individually. "Because of its labor
intensity, as they work closely together, keeping the adequate social distance is problematic, and there's also a necessity for hiring casual workers with a risk of high turnover."

In such cases, automation is generally considered, but not all the food can be automated. "Many companies struggle to automate because not all the leaves are the same size and they are not supplied to the work site in the same."

Solution process 
TSD-N3 Large config. is installed in the packaging line. "It can integrate and design from the feed to the end. Multiple machines are put on for operation depending on the space and the volume of the daily production. As it's semi-automatic, small batch production of many products can be handled. For example, one-run is for baby arugula. After it's finished, with minimal downtime, basils are thrown in."

The leafy greens are conveyed to the combination scale or manually carried up. "Normally, two people stand on both sides to place the product on each weighing head. Once the best combination is made, a combined product nearest to the target value is discharged and
it dumps into a clamshell pack."

"TSD not only improved accuracy and yield but also contributed greatly to labor reduction. Labor shortages are becoming more serious all over the nation, and we are very pleased that the introduction of the TSD-N3 has eliminated the need to hire short-term, part-time workers, making it possible to select candidates instead of just hiring anyone." 

"More countries are embracing vertical farming as a way to address global food security, driving an increase in the number of vertical and we are always ready to help," the Yamato Scale team adds.

For more information:
Yamato Scale Co., Ltd.