Thursday, April 25, 2013

Robots at the Container Farm

Using automation in the workplace isn't just for producing cars and bottling beverages. Robots are now working side by side with some of our employees in Ottawa!

Robots at the container farmWith the yellow tape as a reference marker, the operator sets up the parameters for the robot to work within. Safe for our employees to work with side by side, the robots have built in sensors to avoid obstacles and people. They are battery powered and can operate in a variety of weather conditions.

Why spend money on robots? We are passionate about investing in our company to keep costs down and pass on value to our customers. It isn't always easy to continue investing while in a tough economy but we feel it is the wise thing to do. Our focus at the container farm continues to be on producing quality plants at the lowest input cost. And, meeting this focus with a volatile workforce is a challenge. In addition to our local workforce, we also added three robots to assist with labor in the hoop houses and container yard.

A time consuming task at the container farm is simply spacing the plants. After the plants are potted up, they are moved on a trailer to the container yard. The robots are then used to get the plants on the proper spacing for optimum growth. Overwintered plants must also be moved to proper spacing in the spring. Mid to late fall, the inventory will be moved again, pot to pot, for overwintering. 

Using the robots for the manual labor of spacing the plants allows our skilled workforce to focus on other job responsibilities. Our employees' plant knowledge and nursery experience can be better utilized for pulling orders, pruning, determining fertilizer needs, insect control, and watering.

Join us for a tour of the container farm and see the robots in action. Call your sales representative or the nursery at 913-897-7010 to set up a tour or email us at
Mark Clear, Owner, Loma Vista Nursery

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