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Martin Helmich, Hoogendoorn:

"China: "Downsizing the system is an often made mistake"

Chinese growers are often not familiar with existing greenhouse techniques that are being used in the US and Europe. Therefore, many suppliers downsize their systems to make it more user-friendly. "And this is an often made mistake", says Sales & Marketing Director Martin Helmich of Hoogendoorn Growth Management. According to him, even after downsizing, these systems remain too sophisticated. "For this reason, we decided to redesign our existing process computer and manufacture a new one from scratch; after investigating the needs of the Chinese growers. Now, we are ready to implement a system which can be tailored to the Chinese growers' needs for controlling and monitoring irrigation or climate in the greenhouse, or both; the special version of the iSii compact for the Chinese market."

Tiger standing next to 'iSii compact' at the Hortiflorexpo IPM Beijing. He is the manager of the technical department at Hoogendoorn in China.

Increasing demand for automation
All over the world, the demand for higher quality products is rising, also in China. "Over the last few years, there has been a sharp increase in demand for higher quality plants and flowers and healthy food in China. In order to meet this demand, many Chinese growers are looking for ways to improve the quality. However, as for many, the investment needs to be affordable and needs to reduce the costs in the long term. So, automation is the solution and the Chinese growers are becoming increasingly aware of these benefits," says Helmich.

Mistake: Downsizing
As automation becomes increasingly demanded in China, this market in turn becomes more attractive for companies specialized in greenhouse automation. "Many of these companies have expensive and sophisticated systems and want to introduce a more user-friendly version of these systems into the Chinese market, so they downsize their systems. And this is an often made mistake. When downsizing the system, some options are being taken out of their existing system, but they do not change the way it should be handled. In general, the Chinese growers are not familiar with using techniques, like a process computer to control irrigation and climate for example. For this reason we decided to begin from scratch and take components of our existing process system and create a new version for the Chinese industry."

'iSii compact'
At the Hortiflorexpo IPM Beijing, Hoogendoorns’ new system, called 'iSii compact' was introduced. This new system enables the grower to control and analyze irrigation and climate processes. When creating this system specific for the Chinese market, the focus was on robustness, flexibility and user friendliness. "A large advantage of this system is the modular software and industrial hardware. This way, it is not necessary to make a large investment at once; the grower can decide what to control and only pays for these options. Later, he can decide to add more options. Besides that, other advantages are the flexibility regarding the settings of the system, the user friendly user-interface, the automatic application of water and substrate based on the plants requirements, the 7 day data storage plus the possibility to operate the iSii compact via desktop, tablet or smartphone. All the data will be collected, registered and are being showed in graphs and overviews.''

Increasing demand
According to Tiger, the manager of the technical department at Hoogendoorn in China, the demand for this product is increasing. "We have done several projects at flower growers, vegetable growers and universities and user-friendliness is what the Chinese growers value. Everything is in Chinese and the growers can easily monitor his selection of processes in the greenhouse. The iSii compact generates graphs and overviews, which enables the grower to 'listen' to the plant and, in turn, reduce the occurrence of diseases. Besides that, the iSii compact also enables growers to obtain higher yields. The quality of the plants increases and due to the automatic application of water and substrate based on the plants requirements less resources (water) are being utilized."

For more information
Hoogendoorn Growth Management
T: +31 (0)10 460 80 80
Email: [email protected]