Vidir Vertical Solutions Vertical Farm
Vidir Vertical Solutions is a company that specializes in designing and producing vertical carousel shelving systems. They are hoping to produce a vertical farming system that will be adapted from their existing carousel design. Team 4 has been tasked with continuing development of a solution for conversion of an existing product from work conducted by a biosystems capstone group from 2021-22. The previous team confirmed the effectiveness of utilizing hydroponic growth systems with intermittent watering for use in a static system, and through discussions with the client during the fall 2022 school term Team 4 have been tasked with developing a full-scale single shelf unit which could be used as a test rig for lighting configuration and timing of a watering system. Team 4’s solution (Figure 1) to this problem consists of a modified shelf unit based on an existing shelf unit from Vidir systems, mounted on a stand unit over a static basin, in which the nutrient solution is pumped into to water plants in cups mounted in the shelf. Watering is accomplished by raising and lowering the basin water level to the height of shelf unit simulating a watering cycle in a full system. Lighting for the plants was accomplished by three led panels, with a control section mounted in a top-down position, and two mounted in a side position, with alternating on periods which simulate the movement of the shelf around the carousel unit. Testing was done with the shelf divided in two halves with one half being used as a control for effects of lighting position, with the LED panel mounted in the top position. The other side was lit by side mounted panels, and the effects of external light were eliminated by black-out fabric. From testing it was determined that the effects of side lighting negatively affected the plants, with leaves of the lettuce looking less full than that of top lighting. The intermittent watering schedule had no effect on either the control or test crop, which falls in line with the findings of the previous capstone team’s work. Team 4 would recommend that further research be conducted on the effects of lighting angle for side mounted lighting on plants, automation of the pumping system with regards to water levels and testing of the system within a full-scale system.