Greenhouse Equipment: Improving Your Efficiencies
Nine products to help you upgrade irrigation, automation and other areas of the greenhouse.
June 2, 2011
The new 350PL Screen-Aire updates Dramm's popular nursery nozzle by reducing the weight and cost. Made from durable, lightweight POM plastic and stainless steel screens, the 350PL offers high flow with a soft, aerated pattern. Perfect for watering containers quickly, the aerated flow will not disturb soil or fertilizer in the container. The air-intake holes entrain air to soften the flow and add much-needed oxygen to the water for better plant growth.
The ORG series of automatic, self-cleaning, line pressure-powered water filters are available in sizes from 1.5- to 8-inch single units that can handle flow rates up to 1320 gpm. Units can be installed in parallel to handle larger flow rates. Fine screens are available down to 1500 mesh in a variety of constructions, including standard stainless steel mesh, multi-layer sintered stainless steel and wedgewire.
New boomless monorail traveling irrigators are custom made for any greenhouse up to 30 feet wide and 200 feet long. Manually operated or fully automatic with an optional 24-hour clock, irrigators provide uniform irrigation and eliminate multiple-nozzle "overlap" patterns. Irrigators will stop anywhere along their travel pattern and return to their parked position by placing a magnetic actuator at the desired place on the rail. Irrigators can also be transferred to adjacent greenhouses with monorail switches.
The Economic potting machine is suitable for pots that range in size from just more than 3 inches to about 8.5 inches, with a capacity of up to 2,500 pots per hour. The Economic is mobile and equipped with a smooth-action pot track disc that has a central adjustment for pot height and diameter. Its soil bin is about one cubic meter, and output of pots is controlled by a mechanical takeoff arm.
Metazet specializes in developing and manufacturing automated systems for growers, including automated hanging basket systems and in-ground chain track systems. In addition, Metazet offers other logistical options, including: 1) the M-Track, an internal transportation system based on an automated induction-led tractor; 2) the M-Truck, a compact electric tractor that can pull harvesting and transport carts for internal transport; and 3) the M-Trike, an electric-powered trike that pulls carts and provides passenger transportation.
Cherry Creek Systems
The Step-Stop-Water program allows growers to water pots, containers or baskets in bays. Because booms can be programmed to step any given distance and stop on each row of pots and water, growers can accurately control the amount of water each plant gets. "As professional growers we love using booms," Cherry Creek's Chris Lundgren says. "But when we got to larger pots, there was a problem. Suddenly, we were wasting way too much water and fertilizer or not getting enough of each to the plants because of foliage. Within a single bay you could have incredibly mixed results."
The Blackmore Dribbler makes it easy to prepare Ellepots for sticking, dibbling or drilling. The sticking head makes a small hole to facilitate insertion of soft cuttings into Ellepots, if necessary. The dibble head makes a larger hole for transplanting from smaller trays and Punch 'n Gro trays such as the 324 or 432 PNG. There is even an oscillation setting to slightly enlarge the holes. The drilling head makes oversize holes to accommodate Ellepots for larger step-up sizes, such as the 288, 162 or 105. The machine runs on 120 VAC. Changing from the sticking head to the dibble or drill head takes just a minute or two. The machine is engineered to couple with the Blackmore power conveyor but may be operated without a conveyor as well.
TAVA is introducing a new conveyor to the greenhouse industry. TAVA's permanent conveyor belt is made from aluminum, PVC and stainless steel parts for long-lasting durability. TAVA can build conveyors to extend across paths or over work areas. The new conveyor can be customized anywhere from three to 400 feet in length, as long as the path the conveyor takes is straight.
Posi-Clasp aluminum roll-bar caps make upgrading old curtain systems to a rollup or lockdown side wall a snap. Roll-bar caps can be used to clasp single or multiple layers of curtain materials against any standard 1.315-inch OD pipe to allow tension to be applied in either rolling direction. Caps fit most existing swaged pipes, and they're installed with self-drilling Tek screws.