TUESDAY 18 FEBRUARY 2020
“It is worth investing in vertical farming”
Gert-Jan van Staalduinen from Logiqs
WUR. At the end of 2014, the Greenhouse Horticulture Business Unit of Wageningen University & Research (WUR) introduced the ‘Club of 100’. A group of horticultural companies that are jointly committed to applied fundamental and strategic research at Wageningen UR Greenhouse Horticulture. The Bloemenkrant regularly portrays one of the participants. Who are they and what do they hope to achieve? In this edition: Logiqs
BY ESDOR VAN ELTEN
In 2019, Logiqs from Maasdijk joined the Club of 100. The company moved two months ago to a brand-new building at Honderdland 841 and is specialized in the design and production of, often complex, mobile cultivation and storage systems.
“Horticulture has formed the base of our business” Gert-Jan van Staalduinen, director and co-owner of Logiqs. “However, in recent years, we have also started to focus on other markets. For example, we have developed an innovative warehouse automation system and we have also supplied systems to cannabis growers in America and Canada.
In the coming years we see great opportunities for our company in the field of vertical farming. The experience we have gained over the past 45 years in our various fields of activity actually comes together here. Vertical farming is a form of agriculture that uses stacked cultivation layers one above the other. In addition to the big gains in space, other important advantages of this type of cultivation are the fact that it can be done almost anywhere: in a hall, flat, in the middle of the city or in the countryside, and that if you do it right, less water and no crop protection is required. “The key lies in ‘optimal climate control’, says Gert-Jan van Staalduinen. “And in particular temperature, humidity, air movement and of course light.” Gert-Jan thinks that vertical farming may become very important: With vertical farming you can develop completely different plants, growing faster, with more resistance. That’s why I think breeders and young plant growers in particular benefit from investing in vertical farming. ”
To add vertical farming as a field of activity, Logiqs asked for a new strategy. “So far we have been mainly reactive,” explains Gert-Jan. “We do a lot of research and development, but we do that mainly in the current projects themselves. This is how new things are developed.
We often sell what was not there before. We are also good at that. But with vertical farming you really have to think much further ahead. And that means that we need more knowledge, especially plant knowledge. We need to know what happens at the core of such a plant, because plants only grow optimally if everything is correct. That has been the main reason for us to join the Club of 100. We want to know more, and we want to help decide which studies will be done. Logiqs is represented in two different working groups. Logiqs is now putting the part of the “contribution” that the company is allowed to spend on its own research into research into better nutrition for lettuce plants.
Logiqs on vertical farming
“We have previously researched the possibilities of VF for chrysanthemums. “Two very different plants indeed. Each plant naturally has separate requirements and optimal growth parameters, but there are also common denominators. We are mainly looking for that now. Our goal is, with the knowledge of ourselves and the WUR, to create the very best plant cultivation environment. ”
WORKING ON THE FUTURE
Those who benefit from the industry knowledge, must in turn also contribute themselves. Logiqs works and thinks actively in the Climate working group and also makes its own expertise and, where necessary, materials available: “Of course we know a lot about logistics, and we also share that knowledge. In addition, we regularly make materials available to WUR. Together we can work on the future of vertical farming. And vertical farming can also lead to better research, because you can research under manageable conditions. ”
The name Logiqs stands for Logistics Quality Systems. Logiqs became big in horticulture through the development of greenhouse automation such as roller table systems (and accessories) for potted plant growers, but also automated climate cells and automatic irrigation. Their work also sometimes touches on climate control: for example, they developed a bottom rolling table, which ensures optimal air circulation when using rolling tables. In recent years, however, the company has also shifted its field of activity to warehouse automation and vertical farming (VF). Logiqs developed the iCube for warehouses, a fully automatic system for pallets in particular, which can be maneuvered anywhere in the rack using Logiqs 3D carriers and lifts. For vertical farming, the company developed the Greencube automated vertical growing system, taking advantage of the experience gained in other industries. For example, the Greencube system works with standardized components that you can also find in the warehouse systems. In addition to the “hardware”, Logiqs also develops all necessary software itself and also offers service and maintenance. More information: www.logiqs.nl.