Factory Lettuce

1994/07/01 Otaolaurretxi, Jon Iturria: Elhuyar aldizkaria

In Japan there is little fruit and vegetables, among other things because many people live there. Therefore, they have to import fruits and vegetables. However, a Japanese company has invented a system for raising lettuce in the garden and in the factory. It also produces three times faster than in the garden.

Until the lettuce seed is sown and finally packaged, the factory is handled by seven robots, without the person touching the plant. For this purpose a large room is used in which the air is free of pesticides. The sensors constantly measure the humidity, temperature (which should be 21ºC), the amount of CO 2 and the concentration and pH of the feeder solution.

The information sent by the sensors is automatically analyzed in the control center and the necessary corrections are automatically processed. The room is artificially lit with a 360 W sodium vapor lamp for twelve hours a day.

After passing the seed from one robot to another again and again (they are a total of seven robots), at the end they take out a beautiful lettuce, until they take 252 lettuces per week in a room of 257 square meters.

This automatic lettuce extraction plant has been designed by Kyushu Electric Power and has the collaboration of the industrial company Mitsubishi Heavy and the Kumamoto Technopolis foundation. It has cost about 130 million yen (110 million pesetas or 5.5 million pounds). The trials began in 1992 and will be tested another three years until the marketing of this automatic growth plant of lettuce in 1996.

To see this photo you can go to the pdf.