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CASE: LJUSGARDA

OCS helps Swedish company Ljusgarda with automated salad production

Result: Ljusgarda has increased its production from 2 to 60 ton salad per month.

Ljusgarda’s production, which so far has been managed partly manually on a smaller scale on an area of 650 sqm, has now been transformed into an automated production system of 7,000 sqm with high ambitions for continued expansion and growth. Thanks to the new way of growing lettuce, more than 600 pallets of lettuce will leave Ljusgarda to be distributed to over 800 stores around Sweden every week.

 

About Ljusgarda

Ljusgarda is located in Tibro, in a facility previously used for wood industry now upgraded to a state-of-the-art indoor vertical farm. The plant is climate certified where air, light and water are regulated to create perfect growing conditions for each specific plant. At Ljusgarda, quality is the main focus, both in terms of nutrition and taste. Studies show that today’s fruits and vegetables contain less vitamins and minerals than 50 years ago. The main explanation for this is that the nutrient content has been neglected during decades of plant breeding with a one-sided focus on high yields. By growing indoors, under controlled conditions, you ensure both the production process, the environment and the quality of the products.

Background

Ljusgarda contacted OCS and requested a solution that could handle and automatically transport 2.5 meter long vertical pipes for salad cultivation. The plants should be transported through various stations and cultivation rooms.

Initially, the design was based on automatically driven tracks throughout the plant, but the investment was too high, thus we developed a solution with non-driven buffers in the cultivation rooms. OCS looked at different solutions to be able to handle either smaller or a higher number of pipes per trolley. At the end, the solution was to design a system with carriages that handle 12 pipes at a time throughout the process. Each tube contains 24 seedlings, a total of 288 seedlings per wagon. The system contains a total of 686 carriages.

Automatic transport between harvesting station, washing, planting and cultivation room

The cultivation rooms are designed as closed cells to minimize contamination of any pests between the tubes in the different chambers.

The system handles 48 wagons in each cultivation room and a total of 672 pipes are harvested every day. The carriages are positioned in such a way that irrigation is possible from above the pipes. Lighting and ventilation are integrated with the conveyor system. At maximum capacity, the system holds approximately 300,000 plants.

After planting, the crops stay in the cultivation room for about two weeks. The crops are harvested at least twice to achieve the highest productivity and growth. While the tubes are in the cultivation room, they can easily request a cart from a desired position in the room to perform inspection of the plants. When the crops are ready for harvest, they are automatically transported to the harvesting room, via a transport section by using the OCS 500 system. The salad is harvested, checked and packaged before it is time for transport to the stores.

“Having a fully automatic transport system has been obvious to us from the beginning, and OCS’ overhead conveyor solution is really smart. The fact that the whole installation process was conducted in an extremely professional way is an extra plus, says Mats Hellman”, Main Project Manager at Ljusgarda.