May 25, 2012

FLS External Shade And Harmony Screens From Ludvig Svensson Inc.

Svensson’s FLS external shade is made with highly reflective white films. This shade is made to reflect light and heat and offer daytime shade. Studies show 30 percent less heat is transmitted into greenhouses with FLS than black shade cloth at 60 percent. This protects plants from the stress of too much sun, but still lets light through for excellent plant conditions and energy savings. Another new product is Svensson’s solar reflection Harmony screens, available in both open and closed structure designs integrating Svensson’s white strips. Testing at a greenhouse in Spain clearly showed Harmony F’s open structure design offers high-grade diffusion for greater light delivery into the canopy. The results: excellent cooling, improved plant quality and shortened production. The Harmony XLS family, with its closed structure design, delivers all the cooling and light diffusion benefits plus the power for energy savings, helping growers manage rising heat costs and overall […]

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May 25, 2012

Futera Fusion and Infinite Energy Boilers From Delta T Solutions

Two top new products this year are the Futera Fusion and Infinite Energy (wall-hung) stainless steel condensing hot water boilers. BTUH output sizes range from 199 MBH to 399 MBH for the Infinite and 500 to 1999 MBH for the Fusion. It will help growers save on fuel expenses. These condensing units at full output reach 97.3 percent and 99 percent efficiencies, as opposed to standard atmospheric boilers, which are commonly 80 to 83 percent efficient. Growers can save 30 to 40 percent by upgrading to these types of boilers, especially combining the boilers with a Delta T Solutions-designed radiation product/system.

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May 25, 2012

VC2000 Vent Drive And Controls From Wadsworth Controls Systems

Wadsworth Control Systems is introducing the VC2000 Vent Drive, an enhanced line of drive units with an entirely new gear box. Superior protection is achieved with polyester epoxy paint, a more compact design and a new design for the internal limit switch that now allows 14 feet of travel. Total gear reduction and output torque specifications are consistent, so the new line can be added to an existing installation to work side by side. In addition, Wadsworth Control Systems is introducing the new Wireless Alarm Manager, which is ideal for the many growers who have ranges away from phone lines. It’s critical to have a phone system to connect you to your greenhouse in case of an alarm state that could wipe out the entire crop. EnviroSTEP, VersiSTEP and STEP Up controls all have design changes. EnviroSTEP and VersiSTEP integrated controls have a bright new screen making it even easier […]

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May 25, 2012

Sun Master IV-SR Greenhouse Film From Lumite Inc.

The Sun Master IV-SR is a long-life greenhouse covering (film) that lasts for four years and is “resistant to sulfur.” Most of the long-life films sold in the U.S. are clear and use a UV inhibitor called HALS to extend the life of the basic film. Some growers burn sulfur in their greenhouses, especially rose growers, and that sulfur attacks HALS in the film and reduces the life of the film. With the Sun Master IV–SR, that will not happen, and the film will last for four years. This film is slightly green in color and has a light transmission value of 86 percent.  

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May 21, 2012

Prevent Greenhouse Fires With Thermal Imaging

In 2009, Hortica Insurance & Employee Benefits determined 48 percent of its property claims payments were fire-related. When trying to find a solution to reduce customer fire claims, the company began testing a thermographic imaging program. Hortica found that this program may have successfully reduced fire-related claims to 43 percent, ultimately creating a savings for its policyholders. Thermography has since become a service that Hortica provides to all of its customers. This service involves a visit from a Hortica thermographer to identify anomalies that may contribute to or result in costly damage to equipment or a disruption in business operations. Common problems identified by thermal imaging include overloaded, worn-out and broken circuit breakers, overheated circulating fans, failing fuses and contacts, loose connections and energy loss. Identifying Problems Thermal imagers identify potential problems quickly without shutting down equipment or an operating component, which is a major benefit to business owners. This […]

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May 21, 2012

Black Shade Cloth Versus Reflective Screens

Few factors can affect plant development as much as temperature fluctuation, particularly in the heat of summer. Monitoring and controlling both air and leaf temperature can drastically affect a plant’s productivity and quality. Leaf and air temperature can differ greatly, by as much as 10°F to 30°F. Proper greenhouse shading, however, can help keep leaf temperatures in the most productive range. As greenhouses transmit sunlight, they also trap heat, raising the internal temperature of the structure. Both plants and workers become stressed, and reducing the heat load becomes imperative. But what is the best material to accomplish that goal? Recent studies conducted by Dr. Daniel H. Willits at North Carolina State University (NCSU) help shed light on the impact greenhouse shading selection has on plants. These studies found that common black, knitted shade cloth provided little to no thermal improvement in the greenhouse. Installing reflective materials for external shading, in […]

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April 3, 2012

Track Shipments More Efficiently & Accurately

Tracking 1,000 acres of plant material and staging it for shipping in one area is no easy task, as Karl Losely, the president of Herman Losely & Son. will tell you. But tracking material that comes into the shipping yard with an archaic manual paper system, as the nursery did for many years in Perry, Ohio, magnified the challenge Losely and his team faced. “Initially, we had a paper pallet tag in which crew leaders in the field would note specific data on the tag – customer name, ribbon color, order number, what the material was and the quantity,” Losely says. “There was a tear-off stub on that tag. It was torn off as pickup crews picked up orders and brought it into the office. We would then manually track the data.” Manually tracking was a nightmare, though. The paper-tracking system forced Losely and his wife, Kathy, into many late […]

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January 17, 2012

Hurst Boiler Introduces New High Efficiency Integrated Control Systems for All Hurst Product Lines

Hurst Boiler & Welding Co. introduced their comprehensive line of high efficiency integrated boiler control systems on Janurary 12, 2012. The new systems feature graphical visualization and information collection to facilitate easier operational management of boilers and supporting peripherals. Each integrated control system provides cutting edge PLC control, variable frequency drives and HMI interfaces devices. “Large facilities such as manufacturing, refining, schools and hospitals have multiple boilers for redundancy and turndown,” explained Jimmy Bruner, Hurst Boiler’s control systems manager. “Our new, highly advanced integrated control systems are easy to use and provide many efficiency enhancements. Our trusted, reliable boiler now becomes a source of diagnostics and information to meet the needs of our customer. They want to know more about their energy usage, predictive maintenance and better analyze their utilities operations. The HURST integrated controls family gives them that opportunity.” For more information about Hurst Integrated Control Systems, visit www.hurstboiler.com […]

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January 17, 2012

Philips GreenPower LED Solutions Meets UL/CSA Certification Requirements

Philips, a company involved in lighting, manufacturing and applying lighting solutions for horticulture, is now certified for their GreenPower LED range. With LED lighting, the Growth Light can be tuned, which makes it possible to apply the optimum light recipe at every stage of a crop’s growth. This capability, together with effective heat management and energy efficiency, opens up new opportunities for growers and breeders. The UL/CSA certification underlines the high quality and performance and opens the way for sales and project activities in the USA and Canada. Underwriters Laboratories is an independent product safety certification organization that has been testing products and writing standards for safety for more than a century. Philips lighting solutions are based on close co-operation with the horticultural world. Successful field tests with growers and breeders around the globe gave insight into the growth effects of lighting on different crops throughout their growth cycle. This […]

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January 11, 2012

Midwest Groundcovers Begins Using Solar Power System

Midwest Groundcovers’ 99-acre nursery in St. Charles, IL now utilizes 37.5 kilowatts (kW) of solar energy. Realgy, LLC, an alternative energy service supplier in Illinois, owns the solar photovoltaic (PV) system now installed at Midwest’s headquarters. As part of Realgy’s commitment to generating local renewable energy, Realgy funded the project and hand-picked Midwest Groundcovers as a test-site for the installation.  “We are excited to announce the completion of the Midwest Groundcovers solar project,” says Michael Vrtis, president of Realgy. “Realgy made this investment as a trial and looks forward to Illinois promoting renewable energy so we can continue to install and provide the benefits of renewable energy to businesses in Illinois.” Renewable Energy Alternatives of Northbrook, IL installed the solar PV system on the roof of Midwest’s maintenance building.  “Midwest Groundcovers’ facility is a beautiful nursery and agricultural center. We are excited to contribute to the use of solar energy […]

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December 22, 2011

Equipment & Automation: Who Has What?

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 […]

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