FERNELMONT, Belgium — Hemp block maker IsoHemp says it will open a new Industry 4.0-based plant featuring ERP management software, robots and cobots to omptimize production. The company has raised nearly €7 million to build the high-tech factory, as the company sees demand rising for its pre-formed building materials.

Planned for construction on a 2-hectare site, the factory is expected to open in 2021. IsoHemp, which sources hemp and lime from local suppliers, said it will be able to raise production from 1 million to 5 million blocks per year to meet increasing demand. The company said growing enthusiasm for its products among builders and companies doing renovations has led to a doubling of its turnover year to year since startup eight years ago.

IsoHemp started making hemp building blocks by hand in 2012, gradually expanding production to reach output of 1 million units per year, while building out operations to establish representative offices in Netherlands and France, and further distribution in Germany, UK, Ireland, Italy, Israel and Spain. The company maintains extensive inventory, and is therefore able to react quickly to its customers’ orders.

IsoHemp's research and development department works continuously to improve performance of the all-natural materials that go into its bricks and blocks.