The Greenhouse Grower Medal of Excellence awards program at Cultivate’19 in Columbus, OH, this July will feature the Greenhouse Grower Technology of the Year Award. The award recognizes new technology that has the potential to have a lasting impact on greenhouse production. Products under consideration can come from several categories, including greenhouse structures/coverings, lighting systems and components, automation/transplanting, irrigation, environmental controls, software, heating/cooling, soil mixers/pot fillers, and conveyors/benches.
Here are the five finalists for the 2019 award, as determined by a panel representing leaders in the greenhouse industry (check out the slideshow above for a closer look). Greenhouse Grower will announce the overall winner at its Medal of Excellence evening on July 15 at Cultivate’19.
Agrithermic Hortinergy System
Hortinergy is a decision-making tool that enables growers to compare and size different equipment to reduce energy costs, potentially by as much as 70% for new projects. Hortinergy simulates energy consumption of an existing or planned greenhouse.
Users go to a library that includes the major equipment available on the market such as glass, plastic films, climate screens, etc. Hortinergy then helps calculate the required dimensions of the equipment, while the grower compares economical and technical scenarios within a simple, online interface. A detailed report is sent for each scenario. Outputs include heating consumptions, dehumidification needs, and photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) reaching the canopy, etc. for hourly, monthly, or annual periods.
Proprietary algorithms take into account greenhouse-specific parameters such as light transmission through transparent cover, external and inner climate regulation (screens), canopy evapotranspiration, crop types, etc.
Degramac Degraplace Pot Mover
The Degraplace is a self-propelled mobile pot robot for placing and picking up plants from beds or on soil. Plants are supplied to the machine via conveyor belts. The capacity of the machine is 5,000 pots per hour. It works autonomously, and every machine is tailor-made in consultation with the customer.
The machine works with multiple pot sizes and has the flexibility to space in many dimensions to suit various spacing requirements in the greenhouse.
The Degraplace offers these benefits:
• Labor savings
• Eliminates backbreaking work
• Requires only one person to operate
• Accurate spacing, resulting in a more efficient use of inventory/floor space.
Dümmen Orange Basewell System
Basewell is a novel young plant propagation system that combines the benefits of an unrooted cutting and a rooted cutting or liner. Produced offshore on cuttings farms, Basewell cuttings are more mature than a calloused cutting, with root development already started. Growers can stick Basewell cuttings directly into a finish container and grow them into a finished plant in a comparable time period as a liner.
Basewell technology delivers multiple benefits for the grower, including:
• Simplified processes: The bare root cutting form allows growers to order rooted product directly from the production farm, decreasing order lead time and maximizing flexibility in program planning.
• Space optimization: The grower receives a product that is ready to transplant directly into the finished container. Consequently, more production turns can be completed, and expensive propagation space can be converted into profit-generating finished production space.
• Labor savings: Basewell is available in two configurations, including full strips and individual cells that are compatible with automated sticking methods. The individual cells are also suitable for non-automated production, where workers can quickly transplant the product by hand into the finished container.
LumiGrow’s TopLight is a wirelessly controllable LED lighting system. The TopLight is a versatile lighting solution with mounting options based on crop application, easy installation, and wireless control functionality.
The TopLight is comprised of two light bars powered by one TopLight Node, an intelligent three-channel power supply. Each Node comes with ports for plugging in LumiGrow wireless control modules and light sensors for precision light management enabled by LumiGrow’s smartPAR control software.
Available in two spectrum options, the LumiGrow TopLight comes with either a targeted or hybrid LED array. The targeted spectrum promotes healthy plant development while putting energy into Red and Blue PAR ranges to drive robust photosynthetic growth. Hybrid spectrum users benefit from a White-rich array for similar growth to high-intensity discharge spectrum fixtures, with improvements to the Red and Blue PAR ranges.
Signify GrowWise Control System
GrowWise allows growers to create and run custom LED light recipes to meet the needs of specific crops to improve quality, productivity, and efficiency. Signify developed the control system to work with the company’s GreenPower LED production module, “Dynamic.” It can be used as a stand-alone system or integrated into a climate or logistics computer system.
A Signify light recipe provides the settings for the light spectrum, intensity, illumination moment, uniformity, and positioning. The GrowWise Control System allows growers to create their own time-based recipes. Using a recipe, a grower can steer specific plant characteristics, from compactness, color intensity, and branch development to flowering, and more, to improve results.
With the GrowWise Control System, growers can give all the plants in their facility exactly what they need, when they need it, with one LED system to enhance cultivation.
The GrowWise Control System controls four LED color spectra: Deep Red, Blue, White, and Far Red, as well as the light duration and intensity. The system is easily updatable and has a maintainable digital system.