May 7, 2014

Free Robot Work Offer From Harvest Automation Makes Spacing Plants Easier For Growers

Harvest Automation's free robot work offer allows growers to use plant moving robots to alleviate one of the most demanding and repetitive tasks. For Flowerwood Nursery, this has led to higher profit margins with fewer workforce headaches.

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January 6, 2014

Harvest Automation And SBI Software Announce Partnership

The partnership between Harvest Automation and SBI Software will integrate Harvest Automation's HV-100 plant-moving robots with Harvest Knowledge, a new cloud-based data collection system, and SBI Software's inventory and production systems.

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Greenhouse Robotics Will Lead To Plant Quality And Yield Improvements

December 5, 2013

The High-Tech Future Of The Greenhouse Grower

For Greenhouse Grower's 30th anniversary look at the future, we spoke to experts in robotics, web technology and production technology to get their opinions on what new opportunities may be in the pipeline for greenhouse growers.

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Vineland Research and Innovation Centre's prototype packaging system

December 2, 2013

The Future Of Automation: Q&A With John Van de Vegte, Vineland Research And Innovation Centre

Robotics research at Vineland Research and Automation Centre are taking a look forward to the future of robots in the greenhouse.

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Harvest Automation's pot-moving robots

December 2, 2013

The Future Of Automation: Q&A With Harvest Automation’s John Kawola

Take a look at the future of robotics in the greenhouse from the perspective of one of the newest robotics companies to join the market.

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Plantduino greenhouse using Arduino

December 2, 2013

Tomorrow’s Greenhouse Techs Are In School STEM Programs Today

Science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs at the grade-school level are turning out more students familiar with engineering and computer technologies.

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Vineland Research and Innovation Centre's prototype packaging system

December 2, 2013

Future Greenhouse Automation Will Assist The Grower’s Expertise

This glimpse into the future is based on today’s rapidly evolving automation technologies.

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March 11, 2013

Greenhouse Equipment And Automation For Every Size Operation

Check out new equipment and automation products designed to make greenhouse operation easier and more efficient.

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March 5, 2013

How To Automate A Greenhouse At Any Size

Like other business owners who are constantly working to improve their companies, growers are looking for ways to lower their costs and become more efficient. Automation is one way they can do this. Here are some recent upgrades to equipment that have applications for all growers. Pot Filling Made EZ Mitchell Ellis at Mitchell Ellis Products Inc., in Semmes, Ala., is eager to talk about the company’s EZ Potter potting machine. Part of that enthusiasm is due to the fact that the EZ Potter system, which was introduced last year, is unlike any other potting machine on the market. Because Ellis thinks the machine is so unique, the company has filed a patent application. For example, EZ Potter is the first potting machine equipped with an indexing conveyor belt. “If a grower wants to plant up to 7-gallon containers, there are two rails to adjust as the pots are placed […]

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February 22, 2013

Common Objections To Mechanization In The Greenhouse

The first thing I would say about automation is start somewhere. Even if you go with any type of sprinkler or overhead irrigation system that is stationary and not a boom system, start somewhere. Get your feet wet. Get comfortable with the fact that you are starting to rely more on machines and not people. One of the biggest hurdles we have is with small and medium size growers. They will say, “It’s going to make my growers lazy.” My response to that is, “At the end of the day, that’s a management problem. That’s not an equipment problem.” What you need to worry about when you get new machinery is making sure everyone understands why you are buying machinery. If the boom systems or any automated overhead irrigation systems are making your growers lazy, that’s not because of the grower. That’s because the grower is worried about his job. […]

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December 11, 2012

Willoway Nurseries Tests Robots

Willoway Nurseries is one of a small number of growers testing robots from Harvest Automation as a more efficient and cost-effective method of moving plants in the greenhouse and nursery yard. We asked Willoway’s Tom Demaline for an update on the testing process. GG: How are the robots working? Demaline: It has been good. We worked with Harvest Automation on the alpha and beta testing and working out the kinks with that. We trialed the first production models in October. We ran them about 6 weeks, focusing on consolidating plants for winter. We’re still in the learning curve on how to use the technology. Did the robots physically pick up a plant and move it? Yes. But in these trials they didn’t seem to like to consolidate the plants as much as they like to space them. We just have to learn how to make them more efficient. We’re really […]

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December 10, 2012

Tips On Automating Simple Greenhouse Tasks

Anything that has an on/off switch or some sort of electro-mechanical action can be automated. Wander off to your local hardware store, pick up some mechanical timers, and you can automate a simple system in an afternoon. Automation is valuable because it saves time, and builds consistent, predictable cycles that promote quality growing. These days, both simple and sophisticated greenhouse automation is available to almost any grower with nearly any type of crop or budget. The cost of electronics has dropped steeply over the past decade. At the same time, software has become more powerful and sensors are vastly more sensitive. The challenge becomes picking out the right solution from a wide range of sometimes complementary and conflicting solutions. Dedicated Versus Integrated Let’s start with types of automation controls. Generally speaking, they fall into two kinds of controls. Dedicated controls manage only one system. A water timer on a hose […]

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