October 28, 2009

Hamilton Adds Regional Sales Manager

Adam Stratton, who has more than 15 years experience designing and building automotive paint finishing facilities, including HVAC and boiler room systems, industrial ovens and part washers, is the new regional sales manager of the West Coast for Hamilton Engineering. Stratton has experience in a variety of aspects of project management, including project concept to proposals, engineering, equipment specification, procurement, construction and commissioning. He earned a bachelor’s of science degree in mechanical engineering with a concentration in thermal systems design from Lawrence Technological University. He has also recently become a licensed professional engineer in Michigan. For more information on Hamilton Engineering, visit its website at HamiltonEngineering.com.

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October 28, 2009

J&D Redesigns Shaded Pole Blowers

J&D Manufacturing has redesigned its Shaded Pole Blowers for greater efficiency and added corresponding aluminum mounting brackets. Shaded Pole Blowers have adjustable damper doors that are designed to inflate the plastic layers of double poly-sided greenhouses to create a layer of insulation. The round blower VBM60-PC is 0.74/0.89 Amp with 60 CFM. The square VBM148-1PC is 1.40/1.68 Amp with 148 CFM. Both models are available with or without a cord and ship individually packaged. Motors have thermal overload protection and carry a one-year warranty. The corresponding square and round brackets allow the blowers to be mounted to a support post or tube for easy installation. For more information, visit the Horticulture/Recirculation page at JDMFG.com. Call J&D Manufacturing at 1-800-998-2398 or e-mail [email protected] to find a dealer near you.

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October 19, 2009

Transplanter Tuneup

There are steps just about any grower can take to upgrade the efficiency of their plug transplanting line. And you don’t have to invest $150,000 in a new automated transplanter to do it. In fact, a basic set-up–a conveyor for hand-transplanting, a watering tunnel and a tagging machine–can improve the quality of the transplants and the efficiency of the process and lead to significant labor savings over a season.   Even the smallest growers can automate to some extent by having the material passing by on a conveyor as employees hand-transplant plugs into finish trays, says Rapid Automated’s Al Denning. “The belt speed sets the pace for the crew and they aren’t working on their own individual pace.”   Once the basics are in place, growers can increase their volume and continue to control labor costs by adding incremental pieces to the puzzle. “One piece of automation at a time […]

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October 19, 2009

Monitor Moisture Wirelessly

Growing up, you learn that relationships are built on trust. Growing in a greenhouse, you learn the relationship you have with your plants is also built on trust – mostly trusting yourself when it comes to knowing what your crops like and don’t like, need and don’t need.  Hoogendoorn Growth Management developed a wireless monitoring system called Sensiplant that determines the soil humidity of your container crops, so you can trust your watering regime a little more.  Humidity Matters Sensiplant measures moisture in pots as a percentage, says Pete Hendriksen, North American sales manager at Hoogendoorn. “It determines what the moisture percentage is in a pot with various media, pot sizes and growing conditions. It’s wholly and specifically designed for the greenhouse industry.”   Sensiplant is made up of sensors, wireless routers, an access point (your greenhouse computer) and a software program that analyzes measurements. Simply explained, Sensiplant sensors/transmitters are […]

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October 13, 2009

Horti Fair Still Quite The Show

The exhibitor count at this year’s Horti Fair is down dramatically from 2008. One exhibitor I spoke with mentioned the number of exhibit halls being used is down from 11 in 2008 to seven this year. Still, if horticulture is your field, Horti Fair is the place to be. I spent the day visiting as many of the exhibit halls as I could, but the majority of my time was spent in Horti Fair’s House of Technology. Willem van der Loo, Horti Fair managing director, piqued my interest when he spoke of growers making an additional living producing and selling electricity. I was curious how growers were producing electricity and how many of them were selling it. Aroen Bechan, a representative from a Dutch electric company called Endon that helps growers sell electricity, offered me some answers. Bechan explained how many Dutch growers have turned to combined heat and power (CHP), also […]

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October 13, 2009

The Coolest Product On The Show Floor

Labor is a killer, right? It might even be the biggest issue your greenhouse operation deals with. But if you’re a Phalaenopsis orchid grower, a Dutch company called Hortiquip has designed a big-time labor-saving machine for you. The machine is actually a staking machine, and it uses laser technology to position stakes to support plants, including the automatic attachment of clips. You have to see it to be totally wowed by its capabilities, and I’ll post video on GreenhouseGrower.com/GGTV in the coming weeks featuring Remco Hmmerlaan, one of the staking machine’s developers, giving a demonstration. For the time being, imagine this: You’ve just potted your orchids with a growing media. Perhaps you prefer a media like bark that’s thick, jagged and unwilling to take stakes from greenhouse workers on a line without a fight. The staking machine simplifies the process, moving potted orchids along a conveyor line to a point […]

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October 7, 2009

NGMA Hosting Conference In Hawaii

Growers interested in attending the National Greenhouse Manufacturers Association’s (NGMA) 2010 spring conference will soon be able to register. The upcoming conference will take place Aprill 18-20 at the Turtle Bay Resort in Kahuku (Oahu) Hawii. Events include the annual golf outing and volleyball tournament along with committee meetings, educational sessions and product information exchange. This conference is a great opportuinity for educational enrichment through their speakers and one-on-one business sessions. To make reservations, call the Turtle Bay Resort at 800-203-3650. Make sure you mention NGMA for the discounted rate. For conference registration visit www.ngma.com and for more information on the Turtle Bay Resort, check out www.turtlebayresort.com.   

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September 29, 2009

Hamilton Unveils New System Separator

Hamilton Engineering, manufacturer of the EVO product line, has released its newest low-loss header: the Hamilton System Separator. The system separator allows for an infinite number of heating zones and loads with precise water temperature control, while maintaining boiler efficiency through turbulent flow. It functions as the heating system’s hub, removing air, separating flows and acting as the primary dirt and sludge separator. The system also eliminates pump conflict, extra boiler room plumbing and protects a grower’s boiler from fluctuating pressures, thereby increasing a boiler’s efficiency.   For more information on the new system separator, call Hamilton Engineering at 800-968-5530, e-mail [email protected] or visit HamiltonEngineering.com.

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September 29, 2009

Ohio Operations Active In Energy Program

Applicant Name Grant Requested Loan Requested Technology Mapleview Farms, Inc. $9,525   Greenhouse Heater Replacement Corso’s Perennials $74,897   Wind Turbine: Small Coram Flora (on behalf of Green Circle Growers)   $7,500,000 Biomass Fuel Switch Knitz Greenhouse $14,180 $19,851 Wind Turbine: Small Eagle Creek Wholesale $25,679   Wind Turbine: Small Mohican Gardens $20,000   Geothermal Heating System Webb Perennials $7,865   Biomass Fired Boiiler USDA awarded nearly $12 million in funding this year to Ohio growers and farmers as part of its Rural Energy For America Program (REAP), and at least seven Ohio greenhouse operations were recipients of USDA funds. REAP loan guarantees and grants can be used for renewable energy systems, energy-efficiency improvements, feasibility studies and energy audits. More information about the REAP, which was authorized under the 2008 Farm Bill, is available at: www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/farmbill/index.html.  In Ohio alone, our industry received nearly two-thirds of the $12 million in funding awarded to businesses, […]

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September 11, 2009

This Year’s Top Horti Fair Products

Hundreds of new products and services are introduced at Horti Fair each year, but only a handful are nominated by an international jury of experts for the Horti Fair Innovation Award. This year, 18 products and services were nominated, including 10 in a Horti Tech category. Those products are as follows: – The Lumenex 5.60 from Boal Systemen, a new greenhouse roof that has an advantage of translucence in addition to the Double PVC system for improved energy control, water tightness and durability. – i4Energy from Hoogendorn, an application that collects all information relating to crops, climate and energy. – Hortiquip’s staking machine, which uses triangle laser technology to position stakes, including the automatic fitting of clips.  –The Knook ‘Waste to CO2’ from Knook Energy Solutions International, a process for the conversion of biomass into electricity, carbon dioxide and heat. – The Active Ventilation System (AVS) from van Dijk Heating, […]

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September 9, 2009

Heating Symposium Emphasizes Efficiency

Modine Manufacturing Company produces heating systems for an assortment of industries, including automotives and schools. Modine is also a greenhouse heating systems manufacturer, and top of mind for the company’s leaders in all units it manufactures is energy efficiency. As part of an energy-efficiency symposium last week, Modine invited three public officials to present on the importance of energy efficiency. Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Barbara Lawton was one official on hand, and she called energy efficiency a high priority for greenhouse growers. “Energy efficiency is the first essential step toward [reversing] global warming,” she says. Lawton also mentioned Wisconsin is trying to initiate retrofit heating efficiency loans for users of energy-efficient heating systems like Modine’s new Effinity93 gas-fired unit heater and similar products on the market. Another official, Rich Hackner of Focus On Energy Wisconsin, emphasized the cost savings growers will see if they take energy efficiency seriously. Seventy to 80 percent of all energy […]

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August 26, 2009

Monitoring Greenhouse Energy Effectively

The iGrow 400/800 series of controllers from Link 4 Corporation is designed specifically for easy transition in existing greenhouses using thermostats or early-generation controllers, while providing advanced control capabilities and affordability. The unique energy-use monitoring system gives growers real data on energy used by individual pieces of equipment for heating and cooling systems, showing energy cost savings and return on investment (ROI) for the controller. This is something thermostats or other controllers cannot do. Once a grower reaches his or her ROI with the controller, it will continue to show energy cost savings going forward. While traditional thermostats have often been used by growers to provide simple temperature control only, the iGrow 400/800 controllers offer a more advanced control over a wider range of equipment, such as: –Exhaust fans –Pad Pumps–Pad Louvers –HAF Fans –Fan Jets –Unit Heaters –Perimeter Heating Systems –Vents & Curtains –Other Equipment Each piece of equipment’s […]

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