Siemens is to provide hardware and software, including a digital twin model and machine learning, for the latest indoor vertical farms in the Netherlands and the US.
A deal with 80 Acres Farms in the US will see Siemens technology used at research sites in the Netherlands and Arkansas. The company has five production farms in southwestern Ohio, a new farm in Florence, Kentucky and a future farm in Covington, Georgia.
The Siemens Digital Industries Software business is currently developing a digital twin that simulates the farm, plant growth and the production process to predict plant growth under diverse conditions as well as to optimize future farms for growth and shipping.
The R&D arm, Siemens Technology, is using artificial intelligence and machine learning to develop an app that optimizes software to identify irregularities in the plants as they grow.
Meanwhile the Smart Infrastructure business is providing power distribution equipment while its energy and building management technologies within the facilities help monitor fire and life safety, security and power distribution systems all from a single interface.
Efficient use of energy is a key requirement for vertical farms which use specially tuned LED lighting and aeroponic or hydroponic technology to grow plants indoors in factories or even shipping containers.
Vertical farm automation
Siemens Digital Industries will install a suite of advanced industrial automation technologies and edge devices to help automate the production line, while edge devices and human-machine interfaces monitor and update the farms’ control systems. It is working with the proprietary Loop platform developed by 80 Acres technology subsidiary, Infinite Acres. This includes crop management software and algorithms, environmental controls, robotics and automation
The technology includes LED lighting technology from another European company, Signify and automation equipment from Ocado in the UK.
“We sometimes hear that food is medicine. Vertical farming is an opportunity to turn this concept into a reality, and 80 Acres Farms’ use of technology is now modeling the path forward for this transformative approach to food production,” said Siemens USA President and CEO Barbara Humpton. “In this moment of change and disruption – and in a world becoming increasingly ‘glocal’ – what I see at 80 Acres Farms represents both the purpose and the power of the industrial technologies now readily available to us: the capability to invent anywhere, then to scale our world-changing solutions everywhere.”
“Infinite Acres has built the Loop platform through collaboration with best-in-class technology partners such as Priva, Ocado, and Signify. Our new partnership with Siemens takes our collaboration and technology platform to a new level through the 360° approach across software and connected hardware solutions — from digital twins to advanced controls,” says Tisha Livingston, co-founder of 80 Acres Farms and CEO of Infinite Acres.
“In just seven years, we have scaled from a single R&D facility to a high-tech modular system that we can deploy across the world,” says Mike Zelkind, co-founder and CEO of 80 Acres Farms. “Standardizing our technology and infrastructure enables our industry-leading technology to scale worldwide rapidly and effectively. By building a network of committed global partners like Siemens, we can feed tens of millions more people in a matter of years.”
The company already supplies salad blends, microgreens, herbs, tomatoes, and cucumbers to US retailers including Kroger, Whole Foods, The Fresh Market, Jungle Jim’s Markets, and Dorothy Lane Market, as well as foodservice distributors including Sysco and US Foods.