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Photo Report:

W.Martens plants new crop in upgraded and expanded Beamsville greenhouses

Within a few days, the first cucumber crops will be planted at the most recent expansion of W.Martens' Bluewater Greenhouses in Beamsville, Ontario. This new greenhouse, a 3 hectare, high tech glass Venlo structure with diffuse glass, will be connected to the current operations. Together with the core team of Acrobat Projects, we visited the project to see the extensive implementation of controls that will transfer the project into one solid operation.

Before W.Martens started to grow cucumbers at the Bluewater greenhouses in Beamsville, a comprehensive history preceded. Initially the first greenhouses were built as an educative tourist attraction for the Niagara Region visitors to promote and educate about advanced greenhouse production. As this project eventually failed due to political and economic circumstances due to declining tourism shortly after 9/11, a floral entrepreneur transformed the greenhouse into a potted Bromelia production. Later in 2010, Leamington grower Bill Martens acquired the operations in order to expand his production in the Niagara peninsula.

This is one of the two current greenhouses of W.Martens in Beamsville. The greenhouses were floral operations in the past. When Martens acquired them, he took all the benches out and prepared them for cucumber cultivation.

As the property has changed and shifted between many types of cultivation since the start, it has an extensive history. "Also in terms of controls, technology and installation", said Al van den Ende of Acrobat Projects. "A cocktail of climate controls, automation and equipment has been used in this greenhouse operation over the years. In 2013, Martens approached us with the request to install one solid greenhouse control system with HortiMax automation."

The core team of Acrobat Projects in front of the new 3 hectare expansion of W.Martens; Mike Galenkamp, Pete Hendriksen, Al van den Ende, Kevin Verhoef and Mark van den Ende

Acrobat Projects, started the work at W.Martens shortly after. "First we mapped all of the current, old, wiring in the greenhouse complex, we removed everything that was no longer needed and installed HortiMax controls in the existing greenhouses. As well as this, the boiler room was upgraded and a heat storage tank was built. Furthermore, Martens installed infrastructure for liquid CO2 dosing."

The new greenhouse is built by Prins Greenhouses and has diffuse glass with AR coating. All the electric wiring and cable work for the vents and screening are underground, which gives a very nice impression, and also provides less shade.

Mike Galenkamp and Mark van den Ende are responsible for the clean panel installations.

This spring, Martens started with a 7.5 acre expansion of Bluewater greenhouses. Prins Greenhouses delivered the structure and Martens is doing a lot of building in-house. Again, Acrobat Projects was the partner of choice that was responsible for the implementation of HortiMaX automation controls for climate, energy, irrigation and labor management and the complete high and low voltage Electrical installation including CSA & UL approved control panels.

This is where the new greenhouse is connected to the existing structure; the gable of the old greenhouse is removed and the concrete walkway will be the new central walkway of the new greenhouse.

Thanks to the clean installation and implementation of the controls, the new greenhouse can join without any problems; eventually it can all be controlled as one greenhouse with a homogenous climate

"We handled all (human) resources for the engineering, design, manufacturing, installation and service for the integration of the automation, electrical and irrigation systems", said Al van den Ende, when underlining the unique part of Acrobat Projects approach for projects. "Like in our other projects anywhere else in North America, we try to work closely with local installers as much as possible. They can apply and rely on our extensive experience and expertise, while they can as well serve as the first service person once the project is completed."

For more information:
Acrobat Projects
Al van den Ende

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