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UK Blueberry growers embrace smart thermic IR filmXL Horticulture's new Sunmaster Cool film has been nominated for a Grower of the Year Award in the Best New Product or Service category. The patented 7-layer diffused polyethylene tunnel cover is shortlisted for its IR-reflecting, high light transmittance and anti condensation characteristics. Les Lane of XL Horticulture explained that the Sunmaster Cool film is a welcome new film in both the blueberry and nursery stock industry.
"One of the challenges in the production of hardy ornamental nursery stock, is keeping the plants cool in summer. Current plastic films available use either a mineral filler (kaolin), which reflects some of the infra red radiation, or else a sheet (white) which reduces total light transmission", explained Lane. "The SunMaster Cool film however, uses a microfine aluminium IR reflector which can reduce the hot summer temperatures in the greenhouse with an average of 25%."
Yet, the film still allows plenty of light to enter the greenhouse. "Overall the film has a much higher light transmittance than standard white or heavily diffused films. This will eventually grow a better plant", said Lane. He explained that it took the manufacturer of the film 8 years of research to develop the fine technology.
Also blueberries grown under polythene tunnels in the UK benefit from the new SunMaster Cool film. "The film is becoming popular with blueberry growers as the cooler summer temperatures are giving a high quality crop which matures slightly later than under a normal film, allowing a staggering of the picking season."
The Sunmaster Cool remains a thermic film. "Because the plants don't want to be 25% colder in the winter", Lane said.
He furthermore added that the SunMaster Cool film also has a patented new type of Anti Condensation preventer. "It is a type of Super Hydrophobic internal coating which means that water droplets cannot settle on the surface of the film. This stops them from dropping on the plants and spreading disease. It should last the entire life of the film."
The external surface of the film has been made super smooth which means that dirt and dust is more easily washed off the film by the rain so that the film will stay clean for longer and retain its light transmission for longer. "Algae growing on the surface of the film is a big problem in the UK and after 2 years there is no algae contamination on SunMaster Cool, which is not the case with other manufacturers films of the same age. Not quite self cleaning, but nearly", Lane concluded.
SunMaster Cool costs little more than an ordinary thermic film, its 160 mu thick and has a design life of 10 years and a warranted life of 6 years.
For more information:
XL Horticulture Ltd
Ottery St. Mary
Tel: +44 01404 823044
Fax: +44 01404 823335
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