How to build a successful plant factory

2022-08-11
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How to build a successful plant factory

indoor crop planting in plant factories has attracted more and more attention. Some investors believe that simply buying an empty warehouse and installing plant growth lamps can produce perfect lettuce products to make profits, which often disappoints them. Our plant factory expert roel Janssen will share his important experience in some successful plant factory projects

part I: suitable climate, lighting and space

the key to the success of a plant factory lies in whether it has a grower and is familiar with indoor planting. New (sensor) technology and IOT have brought great opportunities for the development of plant factories, but without good planting personnel, they will not be profitable. You can have good packaging and attractive marketing strategies, but the final product itself will determine whether it is successful or not. The following are some key factors:

crop selection

lighting selection and design

airflow design and environmental control

plant planting density setting

crop logistics and automation

irrigation and nutrients

data, sensors, control and software systems

basic selection

target audience and sales channels

when we consider how to obtain the highest return on investment from plant factories, Often focus on using the optimal light level (in moles or mol) in the facility to achieve the highest yield (in grams). Keep in mind that led lighting is one of the highest components of plant plant facility and operating costs. The following valuable suggestions can help you improve lighting output and obtain higher output. This information comes from the research of Philips growwise plant factory innovation center and the practice of Philips plant factory business projects in the United States, Japan and Europe

Step 1: determine the appropriate climate

many new plant factory growers tend to ignore maintaining the best climate conditions for indoor planting. Assuming that 50% of electric energy is converted into light, the other 50% is directly converted into heat. Proper air flow can remove this direct heat production, but the light absorbed by crops will also be indirectly converted into heat. Usually, crops remove this heat by evaporating water into the air, which leads to an increase in air humidity. In order to control the rise of humidity and temperature, we must start with the ventilation and air treatment system of the plant factory. Without proper climate control and air treatment systems, crop yields will be reduced, resulting in additional costs and trouble in solving inefficient production in the later stage

step 2: set accurate lighting

how to obtain the highest output on this basis after obtaining appropriate climatic conditions? To this end, we have carried out hundreds of indoor planting research projects, focusing on the relationship between the yield and the optimal light intensity of specific crops or products in parts such as sudden changes in the shape of metal components, surface nicks or internal defects. However, production is not always the most critical or the only important. Let's take red oak lettuce as an example. When this kind of lettuce is planted in the field, it will turn red due to the influence of strong sunshine or large temperature difference, and its yield is lower than that of the corresponding green variety. When the same friction plate rotates, most varieties will remain green when planted indoors because there is no ultraviolet light, but it does grow rapidly and shows a growth momentum equivalent to or better than that of green products

at Philips Lighting growwise plant factory innovation center, we have four full-time plant experts who prescribe luminous formulas and growth formulas for specific crops. Based on their research, we developed a light formula for coloring red oak lettuce varieties, which can turn most lettuce from green to dark red in just three days. Growers can adopt conventional planting in their normal growth cycle to make lettuce more nodular, and use this special light formula before harvest to obtain high-quality products with high yield and better appearance. We cooperate with breeding companies to help them screen and cultivate better varieties, so as to serve growers and help them breed more varieties according to taste, quality or color

Step 3: set the appropriate spacing

indoor planting spacing strategy is another way to improve the yield/light output ratio (g/mol). Leave space for plants, so that each plant can get the best amount of light, and really provide supplementary light for plants, rather than shine on the growth rack. Understanding the ideal spacing can avoid the waste of spacing adjustment robot investment, which can be obtained by comparing the future of the industry with the output and income brought by putting automation into these new products. For specific plant factory projects, we can help you with business accounting, so as to provide the best spacing and light formula suggestions for each crop. Based on this information, you can determine whether to adjust the spacing manually or by robot, and which method is the most effective. After that, we will cooperate with leading breeding companies in the industry to help you choose the right varieties according to your needs

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