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Vertical farming gets boost with Siemens’ 80 Acres collaboration

Image credit: Siemens / 80 Acres

Siemens has announced a collaboration with US-based 80 Acres Farms and its technology subsidiary, Infinite Acres, to help grow the indoor farming industry and meet global food supply demands.

With five production farms in southwestern Ohio, a new farm in Florence, Kentucky, a future farm in Covington, Georgia, and R&D facilities in Arkansas and the Netherlands, 80 Acres Farms specialises in growing what it describes as the next generation of food: food grown in eco-friendly indoor farms closer to consumers’ tables.

Anchored by Siemens Financial Services’ initial investment, the two entities have partnered to apply innovative technology within the agriculture industry, fostering sustainable, healthy, traceable and more productive farming practices. 

Utilising Siemens’ robust set of software and hardware solutions, spanning intelligent facility and energy management systems to advanced industrial automation technology, 80 Acres Farms is now positioned to meet its goal to optimise and standardise its operations, pursuant to its vision of supporting food security worldwide.

“We sometimes hear that food is medicine. Vertical farming is an opportunity to turn this concept into a reality, and 80 Acres Farms’ use of technology is now modelling the path forward for this transformative approach to food production,” said Barbara Humpton, president and CEO of Siemens USA. 

“In this moment of change and disruption – and in a world becoming increasingly ‘glocal’ – what I see at 80 Acres Farms represents both the purpose and the power of the industrial technologies now readily available to us: the capability to invent anywhere, then to scale our world-changing solutions everywhere.”

Siemens’ full-scale collaboration involves the optimisation, automation and control of 80 Acres’ farming facilities and processes. Working with the company’s technology subsidiary, Infinite Acres, Siemens supports the industrialisation and scaling of the company’s proprietary Loop platform – a comprehensive solution that encompasses crop management software and algorithms, environmental controls, robotics and automation.

“Infinite Acres has built the Loop platform through collaboration with best-in-class technology partners such as Priva, Ocado and Signify. Our new partnership with Siemens takes our collaboration and technology platform to a new level through the 360° approach across software and connected hardware solutions, from digital twins to advanced controls,” said Tisha Livingston, co-founder of 80 Acres Farms and CEO of Infinite Acres.

Siemens Smart Infrastructure is providing power distribution equipment, while its energy and building management technologies within the facilities help monitor fire and life safety, security and power distribution systems, all from a single interface. Siemens Digital Industries will install a suite of advanced industrial automation technologies and edge devices to help automate the production line, while edge devices and human-machine interfaces monitor and update the farms’ control systems. 

Taking a deeper look into the growth processes, Siemens Digital Industries Software is currently developing a digital twin that simulates the farm, plant growth and the production process to predict plant growth under diverse conditions as well as to optimise future farms for growth and shipping.

“In just seven years, we have scaled from a single R&D facility to a high-tech modular system that we can deploy across the world,” said Mike Zelkind, co-founder and CEO of 80 Acres Farms.

“Standardising our technology and infrastructure enables our industry-leading technology to scale worldwide rapidly and effectively. By building a network of committed global partners, like Siemens, we can feed tens of millions more people in a matter of years.”

Looking towards the future, Siemens’ R&D arm, Siemens Technology, is leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning to develop an app that optimises software to identify irregularities, avoiding adverse conditions within the plants.

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