Steer climate, prevent cold spots, increase crop homogeneity:

Wireless sensors for full control over the greenhouse environment

The use of wireless climate sensors in greenhouse horticulture is on the rise as more and more growers feel the urge to have a more detailed overview of the climate in their hothouse. Several Dutch growers have been pioneering with wireless climate sensors in recent trials, which proved to add a benefit to the operation; they could steer the climate better, prevent cold spots and increase the homogeneity of the crop.

Nietzsche Enterprise, founded in 1978, is a leading Taiwanese manufacturer of ZigBee standard wireless control devices that are particularly effective in the greenhouse environment.

Marco Wollenberg, Global Sales and Marketing Manager, explains that “in the past, aspects such as the temperature within the greenhouse were measured at a few limited locations, which does not provide an accurate picture for the variance across the greenhouse; our solution, consisting of a matrix of wireless sensors, provides greater resolution, allowing growers to identify hot and cold spots. This is made possible by affordable, battery powered sensors providing ease of installation and maintenance with a lower cost of ownership than traditional systems.”

The number of sensors required depends on the growers’ needs allowing them to start small and scale up as required. “Naturally, the climate conditions within the greenhouse depend on numerous factors, which in turn affect plant growth. With this solution, you can measure these factors and optimise environment using our wireless actuator to automatically turn on devices such as heaters, fans, misters, etc.”, explains Marco.

Originally, the sensors measured exclusively temperature and humidity. Driven by customer demand, other sensors, such as soil moisture, CO2, and pH are being added. This allows more of the critical factors affecting plant growth to be measured at any spot in the greenhouse, helping growers to maximise their productivity.

“With our cloud solution, growers can also monitor multiple greenhouses from any computer with an Internet connection and receive alerts via SMS or e-mail when limits are exceeded”, assures Marco.

Battery powered sensors provide the flexibility of not being tied to cables and power sockets. “The sensors can be set to transfer data from every second to every 75 minutes. Based on our typical customer’s usage model of 10-minute data transmissions, a set of standard AA batteries will last for over one year.”

The company is set to launch a small, portable temperature and humidity tag this summer. Marco affirms that “this takes the monitoring to the next level, allowing fruit or vegetables after harvest to be kept in the optimal environment during storage and delivery, ensuring freshness and longer shelf life for the produce. Food quality and safety is an important and growing concern of consumers.”

Nietzsche is building relationships with local partners who can assist growers with the installation and maintenance. The company is focused on the growers’ needs and demands. “We will continue to expand our range with more sensors, measuring more critical aspects, such as the light intensity. Our goal is to provide optimal solutions for every crop”, concludes Marco Wollenberg.

For more information:
Nietzsche Enterprise
Marco Wollenberg

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