“Excellence in Innovation”. That’s what Bluelab was awarded last week at the New Zealand International Business Awards 2019. It’s the second innovation award the team won this year: earlier they won the Excellence in Innovation award at the Bay of Plenty Export New Zealand Awards.
“A rapid, serial innovator with clear evidence of international results”, is how the jury of the New Zealand International Business Awards explained their decision to award Bluelab. When looking at the product range of the New Zealand based company, it’s no wonder they were awarded various innovation awards this year. The company supplies hi-tech but accessible solutions for horticultural enterprises worldwide, making it possible for growers to better their production thanks to better insight into their substrate or water.
CEO Greg Jarvis, Mandy Jarvis (Operations Manager) & Jono Jones (Head of Innovation) accepting the Innovation Award
Rob Smit with Bluelab explains how amongst their most successful products are their handheld pH meters and the Truncheon: an EC meter that has a simple design, but turns out to be very robust. “It’s water-resistant and since there’s no need to calibrate it, it’s super easy for growers to use,” Rob explains.
And that’s exactly what they continue to focus on: giving growers easy tools to better their crop. “It’s often the big facilities that have automation installed, but for smaller operations, or growers in upcoming markets, a complete measurement and monitoring system is too expensive, while especially these growers can benefit greatly from better insight into their crop. I think that’s part of the success of the company,” he explains. “Our solutions can help growers of all scales, all over the world – if it’s upcoming markets in Africa, Central America, or early-stage companies in established markets. And that’s a gap in the market: there aren’t many solutions available that are of this quality and tailored for the growers like ours.”
Rob shows how one of their newest products, the Pulse Meter, provides data on the EC, moisture level and temperature in the substrate, or in the soil. “The data is viewed and stored in an app (both Android and iOS) and can be exported, making it possible to compare various crop cycles. And this is one of our first products that can also be used in the open field, so agricultural producers can use it as well, but also pot plant nurseries or arbor growers.”
The Bluelab team showing the Pulse Meter on the Cultivate '19
However, Rob is convinced it wasn’t just this new sensor that helped them win the award. “I believe our Pro Controller system that doses and maintains nutrient and pH levels in hydroponic nutrient reservoirs has played an important part. Pro Controller makes it possible for growers to dose macro and micro nutrients in an easy way. The dosing pumps can be calibrated to the liquid being dosed – this ensures consistent dose rates over different nutrient viscosities. This makes it so much more than just a peristaltic pump. The PeriPod doser is also modular: if a grower wants to double their 10,000 plants production company, we can just add a second doser and double their capacity.”
He summarizes: “We’ve been trusted by growers for over 30 years and this award recognises our continued innovation effort to help growers of any size and crop produce exceptional quality and yield. We work hard to simplify measurement and automation and believe every grower can benefit from that.”