Ball Australia, the leading young plant supplier in Australia, experienced a severe fire last week at their 3 hectare greenhouse located near Melbourne. This fire had the potential to seriously impact Ball’s ability to produce young plants for growers for this Autumn. The origin of the fire is not yet confirmed but it was centered in the maintenance area, irrigation room, and storage area containing fertilizer, chemicals and bails of peat. Fortunately no staff were injured as it occurred prior to staff starting their day's work and all critical production equipment such as sowing lines and transplanters were unharmed. However all irrigation, fertigation, UV water treatment and the Priva Connext climate control computer were destroyed.
This had obvious consequences for Ball if not rectified quickly. The advantage of having local suppliers were quickly realized as Powerplants and other contractors were able to find solutions to these potentially devastating issues. The Priva Connext climate control was restored the following day of the fire due to design foresight and having Powerplants Australia’s only Priva Full Service Provider with the necessary spare parts and expertise on hand.
The Priva Connext control network was installed as a ring to allow redundancy if at any point it was to ever go down. Due to this design layout technician Ben Volts was able to remove the affected area from the network and provide an end to end connection for the rest of the network to keep going. The brain of the system, the Priva Connext that was damaged in the fire and was immediately replaced with one that Powerplants always keeps in stock at their nearby factory. Due to the backup system Powerplants had put in place, Ben was able to restore all the settings that the customer was using from the previous day onto the Connext. This restored most greenhouse areas to their full functionality, including all settings. Ben was able to connect a temporary power supply from the generator on site to the boiler so this could continue to run also.
Alternative irrigation supply and a temporary fertigation system was also set up within 24 hours of the fire with the assistance of the team at Powerplants. "This was a fantastic outcome for Ball that has allowed them to continue production and remarkably they have not lost any young plants due to the fire. Customers can be content knowing it’s business as usual at Ball Australia!" Simon Gomme, Director of Powerplants Australia, commented.