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Rethinking vertical farm automation with ‘Robotics-as-a-service’

The economic landscape in which vertical farms must operate has fundamentally changed in a very short amount of time. Rapidly rising inflation, increasing interest rates, and the economic consequences of that have hit the industry hard and left many current and new farms struggling. Despite its large potential, vertical farming remains an emergent technology, still finding the right formula for profitability and scalability.

Part of that new formula is to align costs and revenue. Vertical farms are expensive to build and require a lot of up-front investment long before any crops are seeded. By actively looking for as-a-service models from their equipment suppliers, growers can better align the revenue coming in with their costs.

At Seasony, we are taking that path with our customers. Watney is offered in a 'Robotics-as-a-service' model. For a yearly fee, growers get the automation they need without up-front investments, expensive service agreements, or unnecessary buy-in.

Below are three key economic factors that impact the operations and profitability of vertical farms and why farms can benefit from looking at OPEX-based automation using mobile robotics.

Cost Relief Amidst Rising Energy Prices
The abrupt increase in energy costs left many vertical farming operations challenged almost overnight. To counteract the added operational costs, farms are forced to explore short-term cost-saving solutions – such as automation of laborious tasks.

Watney can integrate with your existing systems, offering immediate cost benefits without the need for extensive redesign. The goal is simple: automation that yields rapid ROI without a prolonged design and commission period.

Reduce capital need in a high-interest rate environment
High-interest rates make capital more expensive, making it challenging for farms to invest in traditional CAPEX-heavy automation solutions. Vertical farms already must raise large amounts of up-front capital for land, building, and core cultivation technology. Adding a large up-front investment in automation systems makes a tough capital market even tougher to overcome.

Watney's OPEX-based model allows you to align automation expenses with production output. This makes scaling up—or down—a lot less daunting and frees you from long-term capital commitments.

Counter wage pressure with flexible and scalable automation
With inflation set to remain high, wage pressures are inevitable. As wages rise, the case for automation improves, also for more marginal labor tasks that were previously outside the scope of robotics automation.

Watney offers a flexible automation solution that can automate tasks across the entire farm, ensuring that even marginal labor tasks can be handled efficiently.

As the economic landscape evolves, so must the approaches to vertical farming. The uncertainties of rising inflation, fluctuating interest rates, and wage pressures necessitate flexible and economically sustainable solutions. By providing immediate cost relief, reducing capital needs, and offering scalable automation, Watney enables vertical farms to navigate these tumultuous economic waters.

For more information:
Dan Nielsen
[email protected]

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