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Norway: Modularity, flexibility and automation all in one system

“The Growth Station in itself is a fine-tuned piece of machinery, but we don't consider that the main differentiator for Avisomo. Our uniqueness is in how you can individually control every Growth Station, every Plant Trolley, every plant-growth parameter, and every piece of automation machinery in a never-ending dance of optimizing growth throughout your facility,” says Endre Harnes, Chief Commercial Officer at Avisomo, a Norwegian vertical farm supplier. 

Having installed more than 15 projects across their home country, Norway is one of the largest markets at this point. Yet, other leads are derived from the USA, Europe, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Avisomo’s concept is built around a nature-emulating approach which seems to attract existing businesses as well as established food industry companies. 

The Avisomo team

A unique one-of-a-kind system
The Growth Station is unique in the way that it combines modularity, flexibility, automation, and logistics based on Avisomo's digital plant recipes. The automation concept is quite simple, as Endre puts it. It stems from how Avisomo tries to utilize existing standards as much as possible. This reduces costs for customers and has the potential to make vertical farming a more viable economic proposition in general. The team works very hard to reinvent the wheel as few times as possible, you could say. 

Meaning that growers could start farming by using a small system, which is about 15 to 20 Avisomo Growth Stations. In this case you would handle logistics manually based on instructions from the integrated software. “This requires a smaller investment and risks related to capital costs but comes with higher labor costs. However, we then assume growers will get responses from the market saying they can grow and sell more produce. Accordingly, more Growth Stations can be simply added to the farm,” Endre adds. 

Once a certain size is reached, depending on the market conditions, it makes sense to implement an AMR (Autonomous Mobile Robot) robot to handle all logistics in the facility. Later on, potentially add a seeding machine, harvesting machine, packaging machine and other relevant machinery for full automation, based on the scale reached and the developing business case. 

Scaling benefits
The primary benefits of scaling are based on the ratio between your farm output and labor costs. On a large scale, you will be able to customize further parameters while implementing a larger degree of automation.  If you get to the point where you can have a fully automated processing line, this in our case means full automation from seeding to packaging, never requiring any people touching the plants. 

At this scale growers can build a multitude of different climate zones in the facility, allowing to optimize parameters for a wider range of plants being produced simultaneously in the same facility. “This again will increase your yield, and as all the logistics and growth parameters are controlled by our software and the AMR robots, further yield optimization will not increase your operational costs. An enticing suggestion, if you ask me,” Endre affirms. 

Exciting plans for 2023
“2023 will finally see the unveiling of Avisomo's technology in full effect. We already started building our automated R&D facility in Norway. On top of that, we’ve received a video from the Netherlands showing the Lowpad moving our trolleys around their facility, controlled by our software. In a few weeks, they will arrive in Norway, where they’ll be moving around plants a few weeks later. Then, after a few months, we’ll be able to invite all VerticalFarmDaily readers to the grand opening of our automated vertical farm.” 

“Some very interesting opportunities came up so Avisomo is considering raising a bridge round. We want to expand our runway in six to eight more months and get a few extra investments in place. This will allow us to get some industrial size, market-related proofs of concept fully in place before our series A. Investor parties interested in this, please reach out.” 

For more information:
Endre Harnes, Chief commercial officer