Field trip 2 – Horticulture robotics tour

The Netherlands has a worldwide leading position in greenhouse horticulture. The sector has ca. 10.000 ha of high-tech greenhouses with production of vegetables and ornamentals. Innovation and research always plays an important role in developing and implementing the most advanced systems. 
We offer a tour to three high-tech greenhouses companies and learn about the use of robots and automation in different parts of the plant production chain, from breeding to production and product handling to sorting and packaging. We will visit as well a cut flower, a potted plant and a vegetable company. We will see robots in young plant production, automated product handling, transportation, grading, sorting and packaging. The trip will lead us to the world famous Westland greenhouse area.

1. Prominent tomatoes

Prominent is a cooperation of tomato growers. Six enterprising growers formed their partnership in 1995. Today, Prominent has 29 affiliated growers producing tomatoes on 360 hectares. This scale and flexibility means that these growers can respond effectively to the preferences of buyers and consumers. The packaging centre DC Prominent turns out around 75 million packages every year. Its fully automated ordering and packaging system enables it to package small as well as large orders and get them off quickly. The tomatoes are processed and loaded for shipment within 24 hours. Cocktail, cherry and mini plum vine tomatoes are packaged in the packaging centre in De Lier which we will visit. 

 

Prominent tomatoes

2. Ter Laak Orchids

Ter Laak Orchids is a family business which has been growing Phalaenopsis plants since 1980. Together with 180 employees, the company cultivates more than 6 million Phalaenopsis plants every year. They have 125,000 m2 production area spread over two modern, sustainable sites in the Netherlands. They sell their plants to wholesalers, garden centers and retailers all over Europe, who in turn ensure that consumers can enjoy their Phalaenopsis orchids. At this moment one of their sites is expanding with another 50,000 m2 Daylight greenhouse. 
They also have 1 facility in Guatemala, which produces finished and semi-finished plants for the local market and the Americas. We will see the high-tech greenhouse of Phalaenopsis orchids, automated sorting of products and an energy efficient producing greenhouse system with Fresnel lenses in the roof (Daylight greenhouse).

Ter Laak Orchids

Deliflor

Deliflor is the largest chrysanthemum breeder worldwide.The Deliflor assortment consists of spray chrysanthemums, disbudded chrysanthemums and Santinis and includes more than 300 different cultivars. The company produces cuttings and issues licences for cut flower production. We will see, among others, a chrysanthemum cutting robot developed by ISO, a machine builder specialised in automation solutions for greenhouse applications. 

 

Deliflor