Baby leaf system

The most productive Baby Leaf Lettuce cultivation system for commercial greenhouses

Benefits of the Baby Leaf Aeroframe

The fully automated aeroponic growing system is optimized for growing baby leaf lettuce, herbs and small head lettuces, that are to be sold cut. From substrate filling and sowing to harvesting and mixing, the plants are not touched by any human hands.

Up to 2x productivity

The unique Aeroframe platform utilizes three-dimensional frames to create up to 2x cultivation area per available floor area

Available for Retrofits

The Aeroframe system is highly modular and is adaptable to different greenhouses, bay dimensions and grower workflows

Increased profitability

Increased plant density per same climate control expenses dilutes costs and improves per-plant profit margin

Best CAPEX $/Tonne

Competitive pricing and high productivity means that the Aeroframe will generate the highest ROI of all commercial systems

How the Baby Leaf System Works

1. Plant Boards

Plant boards are customizable to your needs and are adapted to different heights.

Standard dimensions:

  • 60 cm width, 140cm height: 338 plant sites, ~5kg per cycle
  • 60 cm width, 160cm height: 390 plant sites, ~5.9kg per cycle
  • 60 cm width, 170cm height: 416 plant sites, ~6.2kg per cycle

Slot width: 10mm, 15mm, 20mm, 25mm
Compatible substrates: peat, rockwool, silicone.
 
Plant board material is highly durable HDPE. Plant boards are equipped with RFID antennas to track each board and manage the production of different crops as well as ensure full traceability.

2. Substrate & Sowing

Substrate filler: fillers are designed to pack peat or pre-sliced rockwool into the plant boards. If Client uses silicone substrate, no substrate fillers are required.

After medium filling, the sowing machine seeds directly into the plant boards. The plants will stay in the same plant board throughout the entire growing process—transplanting is not needed. A typical sowing line consists of multiple drum seeders which are usually optimized for the use of pelletized seeds as well as band seeders for raw seed. These drum seeders are mostly standard machines used in deep water culture boards sowing, and ensure precise placement inside the plant board based on client density configurations.
 
Plant board Management
Once sowing is complete, the plant board is transported into the germination room. This task can be manual or automated, based on client requirements.

3. Germination

During the initial phase of the growing system, plant boards will stay in the germination room. Germination room is a dark, temperature-controlled high-humidity room where pallets of plant boards are tracked. After germination (2 days), plant boards are placed on a conveyor belt. Placement on conveyor belt can be manual or automatic.
 
Conveyor belt moves plant boards into the greenhouse (under glass) and delivers the board to the required Aeroframe row.

4. Growing

When plant boards arrive to the required Aeroframe row, they are tilted to a 60° angle with pneumatic arms and are pushed onto the Aeroframe system.
 
Our unique Aeroframe system is equipped with mobile aeroponic irrigators that travel and spray plant roots with required irrigation intervals.
 
Typical intervals for baby leafs: 2-4 seconds spray, 10 min rest and oxygenation.
 
Because of intervals, irrigators can travel 40-60 meters inside the Aeroframe structure, depending on substrate. For a 100 meter-long row, 2 irrigators will be used. Aeroponic sprayers use Freya’s unique ultrasonic technology, which is very low energy, does not require high pressure, produces 50-100µm droplets and completely uncloggable. As a result, all aeroponic liquid is recirculated.
 
Aeroframe system has sliding boards, which means your plants will travel through the greenhouse to the harvesting end based on your cropping/growing intensity. Therefore, up to 2x growing area can be created per greenhouse floor.
 
Because aeroponic irrigation is used, plant cycles are faster and do not require a step between germination and placing directly into the Aeroframe. Also, no additional oxygenation is needed. Disease development / spread is suppressed due to oxygenated root environment.
 
Lighting penetrates the canopy from the moving sun during the day as well as top-lighting.
 
Airflow & humidity management is also better due to plants at an angle.
 
 
Plant Board Management
 
Plant boards with the harvest-ready plants are automatically moved from the growing area (“under glass”) to the processing area. Depending on system layout, a variety of tools such as conveyor belts, pushers and turntables are typically used.

5. Harvesting

Once the crop cycle finishes, plant boards will arrive to the end of the Aeroframe and will be offloaded with pneumatic arms onto a conveyor belt. Conveyors will deliver boards to the harvesting station, and plants will be guided into the fully automated harvesting/cutting station, which features rotating cutting blades, a variable frequency controlled blower motor function which blows the leaves up, as well as the ability to adjust cutting height and various speeds.
 
A large number of parameters can be selected by the operator to achieve optimum cutting yields. The harvested plant board is sent forward to the removal station and the cut baby leaf lettuce is transferred further for optional mixing and packaging. All this can be done in a fully automated process without any need for manual labor.

6. Plant Board Cleaning

After harvesting, used growing substrate and plant roots are removed from the plant boards. If the client requires, substrate can be automatically removed to a compost area outside the greenhouse via conveyor belts. Next, the plant board is washed and typically disinfected (hot steam) by the automatic board washer. The plant board is then automatically moved to the buffer stack.
how it works

Other operational aspects

Irrigation

Plants are irrigated and fertigated automatically by Freya’s Mobile Irrigators. These powerful irrigators travel in accordance with irrigation intervals and disperse nutrient-rich mist.

Irrigators are completely uncloggable and utilize proprietary ultrasonic sprayers. High flowrates, durability, low maintenance and full connectivity with the FreyaOS platform will quickly let you forget about these mobile machines travelling within the Aeroframe structures.

Light Matters

Freya’s Aeroframe system is designed to optimize natural sunlight exposure, with angles that ensure excellent sun penetration. For retrofitted greenhouses, we strategically adjust Aeroframe placement to maximize sunlight, while turnkey greenhouse projects will benefit greatly from engaging us during the planning phases.

Additionally, we collaborate with leading lighting partners to provide highly effective artificial lighting solutions, which are no more expensive than typical top lights for horizontal systems. Our approach guarantees that plants receive the optimal light necessary for growth, whether through natural sunlight or advanced artificial lighting.

Mixing of Lettuce

The system includes an integrated crop mixing station located after the cutting machine, capable of handling various mixing configurations. It gently mixes plant varieties based on pre-programmed settings, ensuring balanced harvesting. The mixing configurations can be easily adjusted during daily operations, allowing for a wide variety of blends. Conveyors move the mixed crops efficiently to the packing area.

Supply of Growing Medium

In a rockwool system, the growing medium is supplied by periodically loading pre-cut slabs into the medium filling machine. For loose medium systems, a bale breaker is used and refilled with large bales. This ensures a continuous and efficient supply of the growing medium.

Pilot the Aeroframe

Discover the new level of productivity our cutting-edge Aeroframe platform. Explore piloting the Aeroframe to and evaluate its potential for retrofitting your existing facilities. Click here to start transforming your cultivation practices today!

OUR TECHNOLOGIES

Technologies behind the Aeroframe

Explore the proprietary technologies and methodologies that enable the Aeroframe cultivation platform

Core technologies
how it works

Deployment options

Modernize an existing Greenhouse

Retrofitting an existing greenhouse allows you to almost double your productivity without building a new facility. You will be able to 2x your revenue, 3x your EBITDA – all while spending 40-60% less than building a new greenhouse. Phased installation is possible.

Deploy the Aeroframe in a new Greenhouse

Choosing the Aeroframe platform for your turnkey greenhouse is the most economically viable choice – you will produce your target output while using 40-50% less real estate, and will generate an EBITDA 50% higher than using any NFT system. Moreover, your time to market is reduced.

Contact us

Learn how we can help you improve your greenhouse

We’re happy to answer any questions you may have and help you determine which of our solutions best fit your needs.

Your benefits:
What happens next?
1

We have an intro call to evaluate collaboration potential

2

We engage in a discovery exercise to understand your needs

3

We provide an in-depth proposal for a deeper discussion and contracting

Schedule a Consultation