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"Sercom automated Vertical Farming long before the hype"

IT company Sercom from Lisse automated the first companies using multi-layer cultivation five years ago, well before the term Vertical Farming became a hype. Examples of its work include a lettuce grower and tulip grower Karel Bolbloemen BV in Bovenkarspel. At the GreenTech in Amsterdam, Sercom will be displaying the latest process control - hardware and software - in this field.

Vertical Farming is the theme of the upcoming GreenTech trade fair in RAI Amsterdam. Vertical Farming is a global trend, and generally leafy vegetables and herbs are cultivated in closed spaces on several layers under LED-lighting. In Japan and America, Vertical Farming is on the rise, and primarily young entrepreneurs are attracted to it. In America one Vertical Farming company after another is being set up, always in close proximity to large cities. The Association for Vertical Farming (AVF) expects that there will be a Vertical Farm next to every major urban area within 10 years. It is not surprising that multinationals like Philips, Metro, Osram, Toshiba, Microsoft, Panasonic, Fujitsu and GE are interested in it.

Wageningen UR conducted research about 5 years ago in Lisse into multi-layer cultivation of forced tulips under LEDs. There are now over ten companies involved in forcing tulips with multi-layer cultivation. One of them is Karel Bolbloemen BV in Bovenkarspel. Since 2011 they have been farming vertically. That makes Karel one of the first tulip companies that started large-scale 'internal expansion' with multi-layer cultivation. In a greenhouse of 3,000 m2, tulips are propagated from the start in four layers in containers with an ebb & flow system. The tulips remain in the dark for the first few days, then fluorescent light is added. Sercom developed the system for climate control, including the cooling of the climate chambers, the lighting for the multi-layer cultivation and the irrigation of the greenhouse. The company has been a customer of Sercom since 1988, says director-owner Bert Karel.

In due course, the fluorescent lighting will be replaced by LEDs. Karel thinks this will use less energy and allow better control of the plants. Research conducted by Wageningen UR in 2011 revealed that tulips respond differently to different LED-colours. There will also be a new system, in which LED-lighting will be used to improve the quality of the tulips even more and match the production better to peaks in demand. Karel Bolbloemen BV supplies tulips upon demand to supermarkets throughout Europe.

Sercom can be found at Sercom Plaza, stand 11.321, at the GreenTech in RAI Amsterdam from 14 to 16 June 2016.

For more information:
Heereweg 9
2161 AB Lisse
T: +31 (0)252 416530
F: +31 (0)252 419481
[email protected]
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