TAGSYS announced that Walking Plant Systems (WPS), one of Holland’s leading systems providers for greenhouse botanical growers, has successfully implemented RFID technology into its Plant Order System for commercial greenhouses. By allowing growers to fit each flower pot with an RFID tag, WPS can optimize the greenhouse growing process. Zetes, a pan-European company interested in the value-added solutions and services industry for automatic identification of goods and people, also partnered with TAGSYS to integrate the RFID infrastructure for the project. The Plant Order System is a fully automated system that guides plants from initial seeding to individual customer orders. With a combination of RFID and photography, the tag identifies the plant itself and Zetes’ imaging software infers plant health from its relative shape. More specifically, if a plant appears to need more nutrients, the system can send that plant to the corresponding section of the greenhouse.
Walking Plant Systems Announces Success of RFID-Enabled Greenhouses
‘Plant Order System’ Uses TAGSYS’ Technology to Track and Trace Flowers in Production
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.–TAGSYS, the global leader in item-level RFID infrastructure, today announced that Walking Plant Systems (WPS), one of Holland’s leading systems providers for greenhouse botanical growers, has successfully implemented RFID technology into its Plant Order System for commercial greenhouses. By allowing growers to fit each flower pot with a TAGSYS RFID tag, WPS can optimize the months-long greenhouse growing process. Zetes (Brussels:ZTS), a leading pan-European company in the value-added solutions and services industry for automatic identification of goods and people, partnered with TAGSYS to integrate RFID infrastructure into the project.
“The WPS project demonstrates our ability to achieve highly accurate item-level tracking in a variety of environmental conditions,” said Olivier Burah, Vice President EMEA of TAGSYS. “The project also demonstrates how RFID can play a critical role in improving production processes and the quality of goods. Even for a process as delicate as plant-growing, TAGSYS’ technology allows WPS’ customers to track the progress of every single plant in a 30,000 square-meter greenhouse from seed to sale—which can take from six months to a year.”
The Plant Order System is a fully automated system of pot-adapters, conveyor belts, and plant nutrition systems that guides plants from initial seeding to individual customer orders. With a combination of RFID and photography, Zetes’ software ensures individual plants receive specialized care; the tag identifies the plant itself and Zetes’ imaging software infers plant health from its relative shape. More specifically, if a plant appears to need more nutrients, the system can send that plant to the corresponding section of the greenhouse.
RFID thus enables full automation and optimization of the growing process, thereby saving growers unprecedented resources in the production of this high-value asset. WPS estimates the average per-pot flower value to be €5, and there are currently at least three million tags in use among WPS customers. The Dutch potted plant business is by far the largest and most advanced in the world. Holland has approximately 1500 potted plant growers who command approximately 1000 hectares of greenhouse space.
“The main selling point of the RFID system is its 100 percent reliability and its diversity,” said Richard van der Meijs, sales manager for WPS. “It is vital for florists to know what they have in stock. They have to be able to make thousands of sorting operations in a very short time. The delivery process is extremely delicate, and the quality must meet the highest standards.”
TAGSYS uses the 10-TL tag and the Medio™ L100 reader on the project. The tag fits snugly into the pot-adapter, which is a casing for the actual pot. The pots are then fed into a machine and filled with soil and a seedling. They are transferred to trays and kept at constant temperature for 30 weeks. During this time, a ceiling-mounted irrigation system sprays each plant with fertilized water.
Trays then undergo at least two more room changes, where they experience temperature/humidity shifts and regular flooding. Finally a sorting system routes plants into groups for individual customers; machines remove the RFID tags and recycle them for new plants.
“Thanks to TAGSYS technology, we were able to open sales to a completely new market,” said Bennie Cuijpers, RFID project manager of Zetes. “The 13.56 MHz 10-TL tag is low in cost and highly reliable despite harsh environmental conditions and multi reader dense antenna environments.”
ZETES INDUSTRIES is a leading pan-European company in the value-added solutions and services industry for Automatic Identification of Goods and People (Goods ID and People ID). Zetes uses both emerging and mature technologies (barcode, voice recognition, RFID, smartcards, biometrics), and develops Solution Architecture Frameworks to optimize the business performance of many customers in many market segments: manufacturing, transportation, logistics, retail, healthcare, finance, telecommunication, government and public services. The Zetes group has its headquarters in Brussels, with subsidiaries in Belgium, Germany, France, Ireland, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, the Nordic countries, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and the UK. Zetes currently employs more than 600 employees (in FTEs) and generated consolidated revenues of €137.5 million in 2006. More info: www.zetes.com
TAGSYS is the global leader in item-level RFID infrastructure. TAGSYS provides RFID systems and tags for end-to-end item-level tracking that automates labor-intensive processes, authenticates and safeguards goods, and enables real-time inventory and asset visibility. With a proven track record of delivering Reliable, Accurate and Secure (R.A.S.) RFID systems and tags, TAGSYS has deployed over 100 million tags and 60,000 reader systems to over 500 customers in more than 40 countries. TAGSYS’ RFID solutions are currently being deployed in a range of highly specialized vertical markets that include pharmaceutical, fashion apparel, libraries, and textile rental. The company is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts with offices and R&D Centers in France, in Doylestown, Pennsylvania and in Hong Kong. More information on TAGSYS can be found at www.TAGSYSrfid.com.