Equipment & Automation: Who Has What?

Equipment For Efficiency

Greenhouse Grower surveyed more than 100 growers late in 2011 about the equipment and automation their operation uses. We asked growers about an assortment of equipment and automation, including:

• Automated hanging basket systems    
• Automated internal transportation systems
• Blackout curtains
• Conveyors
• Irrigation controls
• Flat fillers
• Fogging/misting equipment
• Hanging basket systems        
• Label/tagging equipment    
• Lighting
• Potting machines
• Seeders                
• Soil mixers
• Transplanters                        
• Ventilation systems

We found more growers have a ventilation system (66.3 percent) than any other item on the list above. Irrigation controls (60.0 percent), flat fillers (48.8 percent), lighting (46.3 percent) and fogging/misting equipment (42.5 percent) are also common grower items, based on our survey results.

Nearly 39 percent of all growers surveyed have a seeder; 36.3 percent have a potting machine; 36.3 percent have a soil mixer. Blackout curtains (26.3 percent), conveyors (26.3 percent), hanging basket systems (26.3 percent), transplanters (21.3 percent), automated hanging basket systems (16.3 percent) and automated internal transportation system (6.3 percent) aren’t as commonly used.

We also analyzed what equipment and automation growers with more than 500,000 square feet of greenhouse space use. Every grower of that size who responded has a flat filler and ventilation system. Other commonly used items include lighting (91.7 percent), fogging/misting equipment (91.7 percent), blackout curtains (83.3 percent) and transplanters (83.3 percent). Three in four growers also use conveyors, label/tagging equipment, a potting machine and seeders.         

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