The drying cabinet of Van den Berg Climate Techniques can be found in the laboratories of the biggest vegetable- or flower seed producers, as well as at growers who dry their own seed for production or research. The design of the drying cabinets has remained the same for over 25 years. After all, why change a winning formula. On the other hand, if it appears that something can be adjusted to become even better in any sort of way, then the engineers are first in line to implement these improvements.
Speed controlling ventilation
Recently, Van Den Berg presented a new implementation in their drying cabinets, as was shown during Seeds meet Technology. This new implementation is called the speed controlled ventilation that makes it so that the seeds occasionally get tossed automatically during the drying process. A short air boost that lasts a few seconds shakes the seeds every now and then.
Jacko van Wieringen and Stephen Geenen during Seed Meets Technology, next to a drying cabinet with a new, extra fine mesh to dry the flower seeds with.
That saves time and money, and above all improves the quality of the seeds, says Stephen Geenen. “On a relatively small surface – the three seeds beds in the drying cabinet are 40 by 40 centimeters – the seeds need to be dried as equally as possible. This is why the employees had to mix the seeds up by hand every now and then, which meant they had to stay close to the drying cabinets and use an alarm clock to remember when to mix the seeds up. Now that the ventilation gives automatic pulses, the employees can fully focus on their own work. Not only that, but now the drying process can also continue throughout the night.”
The recipe is up to the customer
The new fans were first installed into the older drying cabinets to really test out the effects. “Now we are also providing the new drying cabinets with the fans built-in. It remains optional, and the customer decides whether or not they want the fan built in. The functionality of the cabinet is, however, massively increased by adding the fan.” The amount of times the fan mixes the seeds around differs per customer. “You could say we make the furnish and the pot, but the recipe is up to the customer. With a controller, the customer can set the fan to the frequency they desire.”
A stable industry
"In general, we don’t often get technical innovations in the seed industry. It’s a stable and solid market. The production of seeds is a pricey process, one that requires techniques that can be trusted", Stephen explains. “Innovations are happening in the background, like the switch to natural cooling gasses and the more energy-efficient EC fans.”