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Irrigation Workshop. Todd Cavins Allen Hammer Brian Whipker Gordon Elsbury. NC STATE UNIVERSITY. Greenhouse Automation For The Small Grower. Automation is a Tool. A tool is both contrived and used for extending the force of an intelligent agent to something that is operated upon.

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irrigation workshop

Irrigation Workshop

Todd Cavins

Allen Hammer

Brian Whipker

Gordon Elsbury

NC STATE UNIVERSITY

automation is a tool
Automation is a Tool

A tool is both contrived and used for extending the force of an intelligent agent to something that is operated upon.

automation is driving the future of the greenhouse industry
“Automation is driving the future of the greenhouse industry”

And the size of the greenhouse does not matter

greenhouse size does affect what you automate however
Greenhouse size does affect what you automate however

Every greenhouse can automate something for a profit

how do you increase profit
How do you increase profit?

increase price

lower costs

increase efficiency

automation just doesn t work unless there is a major area of one crop at one time
Automation just doesn’t work unless there is a major area of one crop at one time

It is simply not true that:

slide8

why automate?

make work easier

small window of opportunity

holiday markets, too much work in a short period of time

improved work quality

less quality workforce

lower labor costs

replace unavailable labor

labor is your major production cost

is finding labor a problem
Is finding labor a problem?

orIs it just easier to deal with automation than employees?

slide15

Automation

- repetitive

- tedious

- time-consuming

Look at greenhouse tasks

what are your major costs
What are your major costs?

Where does it make sense to reduce production costs?

automation is probably your most important cost savings

take a systems approach to automation
Take A Systems Approach to Automation

“automating a job”

“automating a process”

Automation should be cost effective

It should be a short term investment - one that has a payoff in a very few years

study your entire greenhouse operation
Study your entire greenhouse operation

labor saving devices often produce better quality and more uniformity automation often times work

location of materials and controls is very important for efficiency and reducing worker fatigue

slide23

Automation has a learning curve

automation often requires a different approach

automation allows worker to better manage the plants

automation often increases skill levels

do not use the single minded approach of only considering efficiency or reduced costs
do not use the single minded approach of only considering efficiency or reduced costs

Automation can have added benefits

do not simply automate your present way of doing things
Do not simply automate your present way of doing things

“think new”

You do not automate your hose - you automate watering

slide29

Automation - first things first

Watering

Materials handling

Benches

Flat and pot fillers

Seeders

Transplanters

slide30

watering Ebb and Flood Trough Drip Spaghetti Tubes Boom Mat Stationary Overhead Sprinklers

slide31

Automation

it does not have to be complex or expensive

slide32

Plastic pipe and valves

Has made it very easy to automate greenhouse watering

slide34

design the system with both clear and fertilizer water

fertilizer injectors are very important even in the smallest of greenhouses

slide39

Watering

Watering is both a science and an art

perched water table

The science and the art of watering

Perched water table

When to water?

How to water?

You can apply too little water

You can not apply too much water

Free water

slide45

Hand watering

is not better

is not cheaper

Is not easier

automation first things first
Automation - first things first

Watering is the very first thing to automate