On to the next 75 years

Greenhouse blue sky | the future of greenhouses is blue

On to the next 75 years

Doing more, with fewer resources and less effort. That’s what KUBO wants to continue to offer its customers, by making large-scale growing simpler, more profitable and more sustainable. Wouter Kuiper, CEO of KUBO, looks forward.

Wouter Kuiper: ‘Ten years ago, KUBO made the transition from supplying hardware to offering turn-key solutions such as the Ultra-Clima. That’s a proven standard. The step we are taking now is to offer Full-Service Grow Concepts. This means that we will be offering many more services to make running the greenhouse easier and increase the return on investment. So we are advising customers on growing, how they can best use energy, how to achieve their Global-GAP certification and more. You don’t have to invent everything yourself. We can also help our customers create the perfect organisational blueprint, and to educate and train their staff. We can even provide data to help them manage their business. We can also help to get an investor who believes in greenhouse cultivation, but has no experience with it, up and running.’

‘In addition, we will continue to focus on our highly valued existing customers who know all the ins and outs of horticulture better than anyone. They too will benefit from the many possibilities offered by digitisation and automation, especially in view of the scale of their companies. At the moment, everyone connects their information services to each other themselves, with such things as Excel files, because there is no total solution yet. That’s especially complex if you have many gardens and multiple crops. But as a grower, you can’t have your own software written – that would be far too expensive. That’s why we have set up the software company PYLOT. This summer we launched the first PYLOT software package that gathers various data from sensors in the greenhouse and presents these in an orderly manner. In our next version, we’ll add intelligence. For example, take the number of times you adjust the screens. PYLOT will keep track of that and predict when the screen wires will break or the motor will be worn out. We can then give advice on the optimal number of screen adjustments and the precise need for maintenance. We are also working on an application that will predict when to harvest bell peppers.’

‘This software is now being used in 53 greenhouses. It will retrieve data from five types of climate computers and is available for five languages and five crops. By adding more and more intelligence, we ultimately want to make the autonomously operating greenhouse possible. That is a real necessity because there are too few growers for all the greenhouses we will be building in the coming years. So in order to allow existing growers to scale up and give investors the opportunity to step in, automation is essential. We are also starting with an Ultra test greenhouse, giving us the opportunity to push boundaries, further develop products and concepts, and advise our customers even better on how to get more out of our greenhouses.’

‘Finally, we are going to focus on sustainability, because we have to get rid of fossil fuels. There are plenty of opportunities for using residual heat and CO2 in our greenhouses. Soon we will see fully electric driven and autonomously operating greenhouses in which the labour is partly done by robots. And for all climates, from the equator to the polar circle, we have solutions for profitable and sustainable greenhouses. Ten years ago we said: The Future of the Greenhouse is Blue. That slogan remains equally relevant today.’