More and more cultivation is taking place in containers. This is an existing development, mainly used in ornamental plant cultivation, but now more and more vegetable fruit growers are also heading in this direction. "The container gardens, which you may be familiar with from potted plants, are increasingly used for growing vegetables. The stone wool blocks have to be moved around and that requires smart and flexible logistics," says Henk Meulstee of Flier Systems. "That is why our company has developed a new system: the container loader."
The system consists of two steps, Henk explains. "The stone wool blocks are placed on the belt and pushed onto a plate. Under the plate, a mechanism with 12 'sliders' pushes the blocks off the plate onto the table. This can be done with 12 at a time, but the machine can also be set up so that the blocks are placed on the table by default. The distance between the plants can also be set entirely according to the grower's wishes.
Fast and without plant damage
In systems where the robots work above a table, the robot arm passes over the product to place the plants on the table. "If they are large plants with sticks, you have to wait to insert the plants until the arm has returned to its starting position. With this system, you don't have that challenge and delay, because all the movements take place separately and there is no movement above the plants."
A huge speed advantage, then. While the blocks are being pushed onto the table, the new blocks are already being supplied. In addition, it is no longer necessary to move the blocks between the plants. "With this machine, we have introduced nice functionality to prevent leaf damage."
Although a lot of technical work goes on behind the scenes of the system, the system is very simple for the user: "Thanks to the individual pushers, any pattern is conceivable. This can then be simply selected on the screen," Henk emphasizes. "The demand for this smarter solution actually came from the market. Flier Systems started working on this customer demand. Can it be smarter, can it be faster, can it be simpler? The result was this new container loader. This is a beautiful example of how the wish of the customer and the know-how of Flier Systems results in well-applicable functionality for the market."
The system, which is particularly suitable for handling stone wool blocks, has been on the market since this year, and will soon be installed at several customers, including SA Tomatoes in Australia.
For more information:
Flier Systems B.V.
2991 LJ Barendrecht
+31 (0) 6 13 11 80 16
+31 180 61 50 55