A vegetable factory that plans to open in Kyoto in 2017 will be the first farm without farmers. The 4,800-square-metre indoor facility will be entirely run by robots.
The Japanese vegetable factory plans to grow 80,000 heads of lettuce per day vertically, beneath LED lighting, and aims to expand this to 500,000 per day by 2020.
The company behind the new farm, Spread Co. LTD, already runs the world’s largest vegetable factory in Kameoka, Japan, which uses artificial lighting to grow 10,000 lettuce heads per day with a production yield of 97%.
By fully automating the process the company is aiming to reduce labour costs by 50%, double productivity per unit volume, and optimise lighting, air conditioning, moisture and water use. Automation has also enabled 98% of the water used in cultivation to be recycled.
Further proposed benefits include the reduction of risk of human contamination, and round-the-clock growing and harvesting.
Initial investment costs of an automated facility are down by 25%.