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Control Dekk OASIS for hanging baskets:
US: Michigan watering solution crosses state borders"We are now ready to spread our wings", says Controls Engineer Len Logsdon. Together with Michigan growers and brothers Jared and Jordan Dekker of Dekker Bros. Farms in Hudsonville, Michigan, he designed a watering solution for hanging baskets and they put it on the market two years ago. They installed the first systems in Michigan, then in several East coast greenhouses and are now ready to supply the system all over the US and Canada.
OASIS by Control Dekk
Do I give my baskets the right amount of water? It is a big guess for many growers and this inspired the Dekker brothers. They contacted Logsdon and invested about three years in creating a system that takes out the guesswork of watering, and named it OASIS by Control Dekk. The system uses the weight of each basket to determine the water to be added and it can be installed on new or existing greenhouse cable conveyors.
But how does it work? "First of all, it needs to be installed on new or existing greenhouse cable conveyors. Then, the grower sets the pre-determined weight desired for correct plant watering via local controller, office PC or mobile device. Afterwards, as each basket passes through the OASIS module, its weight is being determined. Finally, the smart controller opens the proper water valve for only the time necessary to achieve the grower’s target basket weight."
The first system that they put on the market was the OASIS Standard, and after receiving requests, they developed two other systems, the OASIS Hybrid and OASIS Custom. The OASIS Standard combines basket watering along with variable speed control for any basket cable conveyor, but they received requests for adjusted systems. “We received requests for a system that only does basket watering with the weighting system, so the OASIS Hybrid came to existence. Another request was the implementation of multiple conveyor belt lines in the greenhouse facility network, and this created the OASIS Custom.
Since the introduction, growers are very enthusiastic and the ones who trialed or installed it noticed several additional benefits. "Knowing that each basket is going to be watered exactly the same weight takes a lot of stress off the grower. It reduces the labor and on top of that, it improves the quality of the crop and in turn leads to less crop loss. Moreover, it saves on water (about 50 percent) and reduces the waste of chemicals."
As Control Dekk is a Michigan company, they started with delivering the systems to Michigan growers first and ramped up slowly in the surrounding states. "Putting a new product on the market from a new company takes time. We wanted to first create a solid name and good reputation within Michigan, then expand in the Eastern part of the country and then further." And it seemed to work. Word of mouth played a big part in requests received from all over the USA last year. "Supplying these growers was too early at that time. Now, we are already supplying growers in the Eastern part of the country, but we are ready to spread our wings and supply growers all over the US and Canada."
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