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Food: How can we produce in a more sustainable way?

The world’s population is growing. In future, food will have to be produced for more than 10 billion people. How can this be achieved against the backdrop of increasingly scarce natural resources? With vertical indoor farming and aquaculture, we look at two future-oriented approaches and talk to experts about their potential. Maybe you are also interested in aquaponics and how it can bring both solutions together even more efficiently? This, too, will be discussed in the current edition of Impulse – the ifm magazine.


Topics of this edition

  • Overview: The importance of automation in the food industry, especially in agriculture. (0:00 – 6:40)
  • Application I: How automation technology can help run aquaculture more efficiently. (6:41 – 10:15)
  • Application II: Vertical indoor farming in practice, and how sensor technology helps raise plants in the best possible way. (10:16 – 13:46)
  • Discussion: Revolution, evolution, addition? What role will aquaculture and vertical farming play in the future? And can aquaponics be used to make the systems even more resource-saving? (13:47 – 35:21)




Johan van Niekerk leads the charge in spearheading global business development initiatives within the food and agriculture sector, dedicated to crafting tailored solutions that cater to the unique needs of our customers and partners worldwide.

His unwavering commitment lies in harnessing the power of technology and pioneering innovative automated systems to drive enhanced efficiency and effectiveness within the food industry. Through these efforts, he envisions bolstering the industry's prosperity and contributing to our world's sustainable growth. The ifm food team lives by the slogan: "Wherever you go, whatever you taste... ifm - close to you!"

Yinan Zhang serves as the Global Business Development Coordinator for Food & Agriculture, specializing in smart farming. She is deeply committed to supporting farmers and manufacturers by implementing sustainable, data-driven solutions that optimize product efficiency and reduce resource wastage.

With over eight years of experience in the automation industry, she is highly motivated to pioneer innovative approaches and automated systems to enhance agriculture industry productivity and sustainability for global partners and clients.

Jeroen Noordermeer founded Orange Aqua B.V. on the first of January 2020 with a view to incorporate the industry 4.0 within the Aquaculture Recirculating System industry (RAS), gathering knowledge from his BSc Agricultural Engineering and hands on experience as a self-employed RAS farm builder during his studies as a foundation for Orange Aqua B.V.​

Currently the first system with ifm incorporated sensor equipment is a trout hatchery running in Khoni, Georgia. This farm is a proof of concept to automate and control a land-based fish farm using algorithms to predict waste and CO2 production and preliminary adjust parameter settings as flow, oxygen and temperature to optimise feed intake and water quality. Within the next 5 years, Orange Aqua will join forces with ifm to develop and test analytic IO-link sensor equipment to give the land-based aquaculture industry a full range of ifm analytic water parameter sensors.

Maarten Vandecruys is the founder and CTO of Urban Crop Solutions, an end-to-end solution supplier in indoor vertical farming. He is captivated by the power of sustainable solutions and connecting with various stakeholders to create measurable impact.

Prof. Dr Werner Kloas is an expert in the fields of endocrinology, physiology, ecotoxicology, and aquaculture. Since 2010, he has held the W3 Professorship in Endocrinology at Humboldt University in Berlin and serves as the Head of the Department of Ecophysiology and Aquaculture at the Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries.

Impulse - the ifm show for you

Experience automation in an unprecedented form. The ifm show Impulse highlights the most important trends and topics in automation. We talk about industry-specific challenges and present answers – from innovative products to holistic solutions. While also showing a series of successful automation examples from the real world, we let both our experts and our customers have their say in equal measure. Information meets inspiration - welcome to Impulse!