Labour is a major challenge for most pot plant growers. Fortunately, innovation in horticulture does not stand still. WPS asked Jelle Strijbis, director of SV.CO, what his challenge is in the field of automation. With a WPS system at three locations, from Vision sorting to the SmartFlo conveyor belts, this company helps to create optimal working conditions. This way SV.CO can deliver more plants without employees working overtime.
"When we came to this location on the Kreekrug 8 years ago, we were looking for a way to adjust the greenhouse. Taking into account the soft soil, the possibilities were limited. In addition, the economic crisis limited our scope for investment, so we wanted to start on a small scale. We chose WPS because the SmartFlo system offers a lot of flexibility in combination with a heritage floor. Now that the greenhouse has been completely filled with 23cm pots for years, we are really making the most of it and the Decramec expanding and depositing machines integrated in WPS SmartFlo make work done with your hands minimal."
Jelle agrees with hands-free growing: "We still make investments that we pay back, so we are always working on automation. We want to save 5% on labour each year and that is necessary to realise our growth ambitions. With the time that remains, we are already working on the next automation step. This never stops, especially with the 35 million plants we grow every year."
More efficient plant processing through workstations
"Next summer, WPS will expand the delivery buffer, install an extra Vision camera and order software at the Burgerdijkseweg location. Our manual orders will then be sent from the buffer to the new workstations by the sorting system's order software. This makes it easier to process orders. Moreover, this system enables us to process the plants more efficiently, so that we can be ready on time even on peak days."
Time for fun things
"What do I do when I really have time to spare? I like to go out with my family. To the cinema or somewhere for coffee. I also do sports in my spare time and like to watch football. I also like to make time for inspiration from fellow growers. Because even with different products, pot sizes or processes, I find it cool to see how automation works differently in every greenhouse. This gives me new ideas of how things can perhaps work even better in our own garden. My tip for fellow growers is therefore: look for each other, share knowledge and experiences and be inspired.
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