The Ter Laak Orchids nursery is currently expanding its Wateringen premises in the Netherlands with a new 50,000 m2 Daylight Greenhouse. To kit out the new greenhouse, Ter Laak Orchids has decided to install another WPS system. With this innovative automated system, the orchid grower expects to be able to respond better to the rapidly changing market demand and ever smaller order sizes.
The fact that orders are getting smaller right across the sector presents growers with new challenges. In addition, flexibility in automation was another key consideration for Ter Laak Orchids. The new sorting and delivery system was designed jointly by WPS and Ter Laak Orchids with these criteria in mind. WPS is supplying the entire logistical system, including potting up and spacing lines, a fully automatic sorting system with camera units, staking stations, a delivery buffer with trays, and packing stations.
This new sorting and delivery system uses three-dimensional robot arms. The 3D arms will place the orchids in the Plant Growth Cells and will then transfer them to the growing benches. The orchids will be scanned by SmartScan 3D camera units. The six units capture highly accurate and reliable plant data, including numbers of buds, branches and flowers. The cameras also measure the diameter of the buds. Armed with this information, the grower can sort the plants by certain plant characteristics later on in the cultivation process, enabling them to fulfil orders quickly and relatively easily. Thanks to this new method, Ter Laak Orchids will be able to offer its customers the very best product quality.
The delivery system will be fitted with accumulating trays. This will relieve pressure in the line and will make optimum use of the available space. The WPS system will also feature links to other software applications so it will be compatible with other systems already used by Ter Laak Orchids.
The large-scale project is expected to take 12 months to complete and will be phased in gradually. Installation started in late 2017 and the system is scheduled for completion by late 2018.