The Dutch nursery, Bredefleur Moerkapelle, recently began using a second lily planter at one of its locations. This machine, built by Hans van der Poel, automatically plants lilies. It is clearly well-liked - the lily grower has two running at its other site, bringing these planters total to four.
The LilyMatic is a semi-automatic lily planting machine. It has a tracked chassis, a storage bin with a belt, a rotating bulb holder system, bulb grippers, and a bore system. Also included is a so-called elevator belt which quickly supplies the storage bin with bulbs. The planter uses a laser system to move along an imaginary line.
As previously reported, the machine has been in development for some time. Great efficiency and workability strides have been made in especially the last few years. The (semi)-automatic sowing idea is nothing new in agriculture, but bulbs, especially lily bulbs, have special requirements. That is also why full automation is out of the question, but for now, planting speed can be, at least, doubled.
How it works
The elevator belt brings bulbs to the container, and the laser is set. The planter is then driven to the end of the bed to be planted. It moves on caterpillar tracks but is designed so the bulbs can be planted close to the uprights. The machine is put into planting mode - the bore lowers until it touches the ground and then drills to a set depth.
LilyMatic's being constructed at Hans van der Poel.
As soon as the bore is lifted, the machine takes an (adjustable) step. When it stops, the bulb gripper system is lowered into the freshly-bored holes. Once lifted, the drill system begins boring the next row of holes, filling the previous holes with the soil it removes.
The planter has a V-shaped slider that levels the soil again. During these operations, the operator ensures that the lily bulbs are placed upright in the bulb holders. The boring/planting cycle repeats until the machine arrives back at the main path.
Thomas, Levi, Peter, and Ruben Evers.
Bredefleur has two nurseries where it grows about 16 million lilies annually. Brothers Peter, Thomas, and Levi Evers manage the company. It has been using two LilyMatics at one of its sites for some time; the newest machines will be put to use at its other location.