No matter what size your operation, and regardless of how recently you have implemented equipment into your production mix, investing in new technology is an important next step to consider. Technological advancements are shaping the future of the entire horticulture industry, and what was efficient five or 10 years ago may be setting you back in time and treasure today.
While it’s easy to be apprehensive about new investments, keeping older technology can be costly. Production downtime, coupled with inefficient operation costs, can reduce profit margins. The tradeoff for investing in new equipment is better efficiency, higher quality plants, and improved reliability for your customers.
Growers must continue to spend on smart advancements and maximize value from technology upgrades. With more growers investing in automation technology due to rising labor costs and shortages, equipment manufacturers are providing options for many different size growers, ranging in affordability for different size budgets. Here are some updates from transplanter suppliers.
TTA USA, LLC
TTA has been instrumental in the design and manufacturing of the new generation of transplanters. Supported by more than 300 medium to large growers, the transplanter market for smaller growers had not been well represented. In response to this need, TTA USA designed a transplanter for smaller growers with a lower price point.
The PackPlanter S is designed with a Pick & Place Unit Spread of 58 inches. The PackPlanter S uses all the component and control advantages of TTA’s other transplanters, just in a smaller frame. It is limited to 16 grippers for a 512 Tray, 12 grippers for a 288 Tray and 6, 7, or 12 for a 72 and 84.
• 16/512 = 16,000 Plugs Per Hour
• 12/288 = 12,000 Plugs Per Hour
• 6/12/72 = 6,000 or 12,000 Plugs Per Hour
A trusted name in North American horticulture, Visser NA was recently renamed Bellpark Horticulture to better represent the many brands it carries. Bellpark Horticulture represents Visser, Mayer, and Logitec Plus in North America, and still offers the same knowledgeable sales staff and dependable service.
Three New Transplanters (Visser)
Visser has developed three transplanters that are specifically designed for all types of growers. Each machine features the new servosystem grippers, which boast 50% higher speed and precision accuracy.
1. Visser Blueline Transplanter is designed for smaller growers. It is compact, easy to use and maintain, and features an attractive price point for smaller growers. Available with four to eight grippers, the Blueline is capable of 1,250 planting cycles per hour, per gripper.
2. Visser Greenline is designed for medium-sized growers. The Greenline is able to transplant larger batches, while maintaining very high accuracy at high speeds. Available with six to 12 grippers, the Greenline is capable of 1,500 planting cycles per hour, per gripper.
3. Visser Redline is designed for large growers. The Redline offers very high flexibility and high capacity. With its impressive speed, the Redline uses up to 24 independent servo-controlled grippers that move with ultra-high speed and accuracy. Available in 16 to 24 grippers, the Redline is capable of 1,600 planting cycles per hour, per gripper.
• New servo system grippers, which boast 50% higher speed and precision accuracy
• Suitable for cell trays, end packs, and pots in carrying trays
• Unlimited planting combinations can be stored via removable USB drive
• Side shift planting technology ensures minimal plant damage
• Processing trays both long side leading and short side leading
• User-friendly Siemens touch screen and simple programming features enable the operator to input new planting combinations with no mechanical changes required
• Easily integrated in new or existing production systems
• Remote service assistance
PC-11 Transplanter & Potting Machine Integration (Visser)
The newly redesigned PC-11 features the latest technologies in transplanting and is designed to plant directly onto any potting machines. It is highly flexible and available with two, four, and six grippers. New servo-controlled motors and dedicated software offer high flexibility with very high speed.
• Store unlimited plant combinations via removable USB drive
• Flexible with different tray sizes
• Switch product with one touch
• New servo-system grippers boast 50% higher efficiency and precision accuracy
Select-O-Mat Phoenix (Visser)
A specialized grading system developed for larger growers, the Select-O-Mat Phoenix features 12 independently driven grippers that work simultaneously to grade up to 8,000 plants per hour. Young plants are pushed into the camera’s view plant, then rotated 360 degrees. Through this process, high-definition cameras capture a detailed, 3D profile consisting of eight photos of each plant. Using this constructed, 3D model, the plants are analyzed with pre-determined criteria and variables to provide the most accurate plant selection.
• Each gripper driven by individually controlled servo technology
• Capable of grading up to 8,000 plants per hour
• High-definition camera technology captures most detailed 3D profile of every plant to ensure accurate processing, unlike other top-mounted grading machines
TIFS-4 Re-Plugger (Visser)
The TIFS-4 is a revolutionary grading and re-plugging system with unparalleled speed and accuracy. Newly developed technology provides each gripper with individually controlled movements. With two high-resolution cameras, the system can create combinations capable of up to 12,000 plants per hour.
The servo-driven Visser grippers achieve high accuracy in removing bad plugs and fixing empty cells. It easily integrates into new or existing production systems.
• Available with 10 to 14 grippers
• Each gripper driven by individually controlled servo technology
• Siemens touch screen with user-friendly interface
• All gradings visible on the display screen
• Simple programming features enable operator to enter new planting combinations
• Unique gripper design eliminates need for lifting fingers from beneath the tray
• Side shift planting ensures minimal plant damage
PC-16 Transplanter (Visser)
One of the most versatile transplanters on the market, the PC-16 is available with 15 to 30 grippers.
• Plants up to 15 plants per pot/cell
• Capable of an output of more than 30,000 plants per hour
• Easy to use and maintain; easy troubleshooting
• Able to plant combinations with different plant colors per pot
• Accommodates any plug tray and finished packs/pots/hanging baskets
• Same gripper can be used on cells from 512 to 50 cell without timely changeovers
• More than 100 different tray programs and combinations