Stan van Steekelenburg has been working for Beekenkamp Plants Ornamentals for 2 years now. He started working as a Trainee and is now working in the research and cultivation departments. He spends most of his time on research within Beekenkamp. He does this mainly on the basis of tests. He looks at how the processes and plant growth can be improved and whether an investment can help. In this article he enthusiastically talks about one of his recent projects: the automated method of germination counting using the new Germination Analysis Box (GA Box).
After a successful test period, the GA box now works well in the process of germination counts. This box is a machine that automatically counts the germination in propagation phase. Stan explains: “Germination counts are necessary to calculate how many seeds will survive to eventually grow into a ready plant. For example, if the germination percentage is 80%, this is too low and there must be sown more to be able to supply the number of plants that the customers have ordered. If the germination percentage is too high, we can sow less next time so that there are not too many plants left”.
Previously, this was mainly done manually. “Before we had this box, colleagues had to count manually how many seeds had germinated per tray to establish the germination percentage”, says Stan. “When people do this by hand, you are dependent on several factors, not everyone counts in the same way, a person can get tired or lose their focus. These are all things to take into account. A representative germination count has a lot of influence on the reliability of the product you deliver.
"We are proud to say that this process is now automated! In this new process, a tray is placed in the GA Box, a photo is taken from above and eventually the software assesses the germination percentage. This information goes to the Planning department and they decide which action is linked to it. In this way, the germination count is always done by the same the machine, you are less dependent on human errors and it saves a lot of time. The end result: a more reliable product of the best quality!"
Stan, together with the start-up ADI (Applied Drone Innovations) and colleagues from IT and Planning, made this project a success. “We entered into a partnership with people who are very technical knowledgeable, they did not have much understanding about plants and we did not know about this special technique. During this project we learned a lot from each other’s industry and made each other enthusiastic so that everyone felt involved in the development of the GA Box. That is something that I am very proud of, the improvement of reliability we have gained in the germination process. We have developed an innovation, something that did not exist before ”.
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