Ultimation Develops New Vertical Farming Control System

The new vertical farming control system developed by Ultimation’s control engineering team provides our customers the ability to monitor the position of 10,000+ plants including location, product type and grow time in the present location. It can route, divert, and manage product flow from initiation to harvesting.

The system uses Ultimation-developed software and controls systems to manage the physical movements and tracking of the products as they grow. The system is suitable for managing vertical format (hanging tower) or horizontal format (tray) style vertical farms.

Ultimation Vertical Farming Monitoring System

Ultimation’s vertical farming control system is ready to integrate with the customer’s enterprise resource planning system (ERP) or manufacturing execution system (MES) to automatically make decisions for each container for every location on the conveyor system, regardless of loading or unloading sequence. This allows a customer to gain efficiency in the system’s cycle time. The system’s sequencing enables the farm to deliver the right product at the right time to the right customer.

This control system is sold as part of our conveyor equipment and can be tailored to the customer’s needs. Over the past few years, Ultimation has successfully delivered three indoor farming conveyance systems that utilize this control system.

Click here to learn more about vertical farming applications and how Ultimation can help design your perfect solution.

Ultimation Industries Shares Five Industry Trends Shaping Material Handling in 2024

Economy and labor shortages are among the factors driving the need for more productivity and efficiency

ROSEVILLE, Mich. (Nov. 28th, 2023) – Economic conditions and other factors are driving manufacturers and distributors to look for creative ways to gain more efficiency and productivity from their material handling operations, according to Ultimation Industries.

 

“Warehouses and distribution centers are evolving based on the changing demands faced by modern supply chains,” said Kali Wahrman, general manager for Ultimation. “In 2024, we expect the growth of e-commerce and continuing economic uncertainty to influence the way manufacturers and distributors address productivity challenges in their facilities.”

 

Ultimation, an MCE company, is the leading direct-to-consumer conveyor manufacturer, specializing in solving productivity challenges with fast-to-deploy solutions for a broad range of end-markets, including energy, automotive, logistics and vertical farming.

 

Based on interactions with customers, Ultimation has identified these five industry trends that it believes will shape material handling decision-making for warehouses and distributors in 2024:

 

  1. Rising cost of square footage. The price of goods and services is rising, but so is the cost of commercial construction. Simply adding onto a manufacturing facility or distribution warehouse to meet growing demand is out of reach for many small and medium-sized businesses. That’s why many are looking to maximize the space they have through conveyors and other material handling systems that make the most of small footprints or utilize otherwise unused vertical space.  Lifters and overhead conveyor systems are an affordable, effective solution that can be deployed relatively quickly, moving totes, cartons and pallets from one level to another with carriers designed to handle multiple load weights and sizes.
  2. Worker shortage. Manufacturers and distributors are increasingly turning to automated systems and robotics to meet production schedules in the face of worker shortages. While some are making longer-term capital investments in new technologies, others are adopting flexible solutions that can be deployed quickly without reconfiguring production lines or factory footprints. One example is Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMR) or warehouse robots that move materials within a facility. Unlike automated guided vehicle (AGV) or cart (AGC) systems which require a path or track to navigate or use wires or lasers, warehouse robots use integrated sensors to read their environment. Companies are also looking for more “smart” systems such as barcoding technologies that integrate with their existing Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and inventory systems to streamline processes and gain efficiencies.
  3. Growth of e-commerce. A few short years ago, shopping for conveyors or other material handling equipment online was unthinkable, according to Wahrman. Today, the same companies that are trying to keep up with the pace of e-commerce are using it themselves to outfit their facilities with conveyors and other material handling solutions that can be deployed quickly and inexpensively. Supply chain procurement managers can now compare costs and shop for a growing variety of warehouse and distribution center products and parts with the click of a button.
  4. Faster delivery times. It’s not just consumers who want it now. Today’s supply chains are scaling fast and there’s rarely time to wait for expensive, custom-designed systems. Lead times for many material handling solutions have improved since 2020, but are not yet back to pre-pandemic levels, according to Wahrman. She adds that off-the-shelf, quick-ship conveyor solutions that can be configured almost overnight for their specific requirements are helping supply chains keep pace.
  5. Energy-efficiency. Reducing energy consumption is gaining a greater sense of urgency as overall operating costs continue to rise. Replacing legacy conveyor systems with alternatives that only use electricity when they are actively moving cargo can be an important part of an overall energy-efficiency strategy. Conveyors equipped with motorized driven roller (MDR) systems, for example, operate with 24-volt DC power and run on demand. Wahrman estimates that replacing a typical 5-foot ­­­­Chain Driven Live Roller conveyor system using approximately 0.75kWh of energy for operation could save up to 81% in energy usage by replacing it with a same-size MDR system.

 

Today’s conveyor systems offer so many innovations that increase material handling efficiency that it’s worth the time to rethink your current systems. Visit the Ultimation website at https://www.ultimationinc.com/ for more information.