After carefully studying the specific requirements of the crop and the desired capacity of the greenhouse, they went on to design, produce and implement a fully automatic rolling bench system that uses more than 3000 rolling benches (5,810 mm x 1,630 mm) that allows for a yearly growing capacity exceeding 2,000,000 Phalaenopsis Orchids/year.
Some of the challenges that the logistics system had to be able to handle are:
- A desired potting capacity of 45.000 plants/week,
- A shorter, more efficient growing cycle than the industry standard,
- A highly complex and specialized production process typical to orchids: the plants need to be re-spaced on the Rolling benches once during growth, at a later time support stick’s need to be applied to each individual plant, then organized in trays and at the end of the growing cycle the plants need to be efficiently sorted and packed for existing orders,
- A very flexible and efficient Order Picking system.
When designing the project and discussing the requirements and possibilities with the customer, it quickly became obvious that the best solution for maximum flexibility was also the one that made the most sense financially. And that was to opt for a full scale automation by using 2D-Shuttles, 3D-Cranes, Wall-Mounted Transport vehicles.
With five 2D-Shuttles, two AGW's (Wall-Mounted Transport vehicles), two 3D-Cranes, and a completely automated working area, the rolling container system is now ready to handle volumes of plants that would be unmanageable in a conventional plant nursery.
The 3D-Cranes also work towards a more flexible system, allowing for optimal order picking when plants are ready for selling as well as an optimal use of space. The 3D-Cranes are also an especially suitable solution for orchids because of their very low impact on the plants, leading to much less damage to the plants than by using other equipment.
All the automated equipment in the greenhouse is controlled by using our proprietary software solution Dat-A-Control V3. This gives the grower complete control of his greenhouse, together with the possibility to control production in the greenhouse from practically anywhere in the world. Besides controlling the machines in the greenhouse, Dat-A-Control handles the plant registration and keeps a detailed history of every process the plants go through.
For more information:
Gert-Jan van Staalduinen - firstname.lastname@example.org
Dennis van Dijk - email@example.com