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AI to optimise growing conditions

16 December 2022

LEADER IN digital transformation of energy management and automation, Schneider Electric, has announced a new partnership with Jones Food Company to design and install leading AI-driven software designed to optimise growing conditions and improve energy efficiency.

Jones Food Company (JFC) is one of the UK’s leading agri-tech companies, building world-scale vertical farms that supply 24,000kg of fresh produce weekly to customers around the UK. The company, which employs 40 people across its sites, is committed to sustainably growing high-quality fresh produce through its vertical farming methods and increasingly sees automation as a critical enabler.

Schneider Electric is providing Jones Food Company with the state-of-the-art AVEVA Flex subscription, supplied by Aveva Select UK and IR, creating a centralised, automated model for data analysis that is flexible and scalable to JFC’s requirements. The subscription model includes the AVEVA Advanced Analytics Module. The AI-driven software solution enables JFC to make real-time changes to growing conditions (including temperature, humidity, nutrient mix, and water quality) to produce a higher yield at a lower energy cost.

Playing the yield

Vertical farming is an energy-intensive process by nature, using controlled environments and growing vast amounts of fresh produce. In the current energy market environment, spiralling costs mean that Jones Food Company must ensure that every kilowatt of energy input returns the maximum output.

Schneider Electric has helped JFC to achieve this by using Artificial Intelligence to accurately detect and adjust the growing environment to the optimum temperature. As a result, the yield produced has more crops grown to specification dimensions, reducing food waste and handling time in the sortation stage. This will ultimately enable JFC to deliver value quicker to its customers by accelerating the speed to market.

Mark Yeeles, VP of industrial automation at Schneider Electric, commented on the deal: “Jones Food Company is one of the most exciting young companies in the UK agri-tech scene - they’re revolutionising the way that agricultural supply chains are built. Real-time, rich data is essential for JFC to create the foundation upon which they can develop and meet ambitious growth targets, and I am thrilled that they have selected us as a partner to support them on their journey.

James Lloyd-Jones, CEO and founder of Jones Food Company, added: “Automation is at the heart of everything we do. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to produce our high-quality, high-yield crops sustainably. Schneider Electric’s advanced technology and premium service level has meant we can continue to innovate at breakneck speeds. At the same time, our employees learn from Schneider’s support team, expanding their knowledge of the technology at our disposal.”