HortiContact Innovation Awards 2022 nominations announced

Three are the nominees for this year's Dutch HortiContact Innovation Award. They are Signify, Broekhof Verpakkingen BV, and PATS-drones. The winner will be announced on Tuesday, May 10, during the first day of the HortiContact trade show.

This year, HortiContact organizers received no fewer than 19 innovation entries, which is three more than in 2021. The three top ideas were chosen from all these - Signify's GrowWise, Broekhof Verpakkingen B.V. with Recy100 film, and PATS drones' PATS-C.

Flower sleeves
Too many used plastic flower sleeves and shrink wraps end up in the incinerator. "That's a shame because this material is endlessly recyclable. It's made of 100% recycled material that comes from the horticultural sector's plastic waste," says Suzanne Hiddink, Marketing Manager at Broekhof Verpakkingen. That waste is collected from flower processors throughout Europe and returned via Dutch auctions to Kras Recycling. Circular Plastics then produces the new film.

Broekhof uses that to make things like new flower sleeves. A major advantage here is that the UK plastic packaging legislation, which requires it to contain 30% recycled material, is amply met. This anticipates European legislation that sets the same requirements from 2025. "Being nominated for this award is a token of appreciation for cooperation in the chain. We really do this together", says director Jaap Buis of Circular Plastics.

PATS-drones - a company that focuses on automated, pesticide-free prevention and control of insect plagues - is making good headway. The young tech company has been nominated with the PATS-X system, which detects an insect infestation from day 1. "Crop protection timing is crucial for effective control," says CEO and co-founder Bram Tijmons.

The drones use infrared cameras to record, day and night, all the movements and characteristics of insects. The system recognizes the type of insect and accurately tracks its behavior. This data is collected and clearly displayed on a dashboard. "PATS-Drones help horticultural businesses prevent crop losses, reduce insecticide use, and automate a labor-intensive process," says Tijmons.

Controlled lighting
Signify's GrowWise is the third nominee. "We're extremely proud of this robust dimming system. It allows growers to dim their Philips LED lights via the power lines. It's also great that the market appreciates our innovations," says Ferry Kuhlman, Philips Horticulture LED segment manager.

"Growers are looking for ways to save energy when costs are high, without compromising product quality, especially with the fluctuating energy prices. Dimming your lights obviously uses less energy. However, doing that increases the Philips Horti LED modules' efficiency too. Our Philips GrowWise Control System lets growers dim their LED lights uniformly and reliably apply exactly the light level they and their plants need at that moment. We can't wait to show our innovation to HortiContact's visitors."

The HortiContact Innovation Awards were held online last year. "Despite the pandemic preventing the trade fair from taking place, we could still offer a platform to companies with interesting innovations. Still, nothing beats a live award ceremony. It's wonderful that this is now possible again, and it's great to see the many entries this year," says Lucas van't Hof, Head of Cluster at HortiContact.

On Tuesday, May 10, the three nominees will present their innovations to the public. That will begin at 14.30 in The Lounge. Afterward, the award ceremony will be held, led by jury chairman Maurice Wubben, and the 2022 winner will be announced. In 2021, that honor went to Van Iperen's Greenswitch. The HortiContact horticultural trade show will be open from Tuesday 10 to Thursday, May 12, from 13.00 to 21.00 hours in Evenementenhal Gorinchem.

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