Spread to set up world’s first fully automatic vertical farm.
By Sreekanth A Nair
Spread, a Japanese lettuce production company, is constructing the world’s first large-scale vegetable factory that can produce 30,000 lettuce heads per day. More importantly, the factory will be fully automated from seeding to harvest.
The new factory follows the vertical farming system where crops are grown indoors using LED lights. Using this method the use of pesticides and other chemicals can also be reduced.
The vertical farm using artificial lighting called a Vegetable Factory will have conveyor belts with arms that plant seeds, water plants and cut lettuce heads when they are ready to harvest.
“The use of machines and technology has been improving agriculture in this way throughout human history,” J.J. Price, a spokesperson at Spread, told Tech Insider.
“With the introduction of plant factories and their controlled environment, we are now able to provide the ideal environment for the crops,” he added.
The new farm to be built in Kansai Science City, Kizugawa, Kyoto, will be completely using artificial lighting.
Spread is going to implement some innovative techniques in the new factory. Recycling of 98% of the water used for cultivation in the factory has been made possible. A system capable of stable production that is possible in any environment around the world has also been developed.
Labor cost can be reduced by 50% by fully automating the processes from seeding to harvest. The energy cost of lettuce per head can also be reduced with LED lights specifically created for SPREAD and the development of a unique air conditioning system.
The new farm will start production in 2017.