The automation in the plant propagation at Grodan meeting

Grodan organised a seminar for plant propagators and experts in which explained how the different steps that lead to young plants propagation can be automated: sowing, grading, grafting and transplanting. Companies specialised in young plants automatic sowing, selection, grafting and transportation presented the latest advantages of the automation technology. In particular they focused their attention on the main principles of sowing and raising seedlings in the new stone wool plugs and blocks. Grodan Pro plugs offer greater handling possibilities during the selection or transplanting process with automated machinery. The Grodan specialist Hans van Herz explained the properties of the new capillary stone wool blocks for the propagation of healthy plants with plenty of roots in their blocks. This technology offers a vegetative development because new blocks can drain well and be re-saturated steering the plant's growth.

Sowing
The meeting was the occasion to present the ultimate solutions for propagating young plants in stone wool plugs and the development of separate product lines for sowing, planting, grading plants in stone wool. The new technologies offer precise sowing and the chance to quickly switch seed drums with a uniform irrigation. All settings can be controlled by computer and also saved.

Automatic Grading by Techmek
Automatic grading enables producers to offer uniform products with better quality. Hans Preesman, export manager of the Italian Company Techmek, explains the advantages of his I-Tech Company: a stable system designed to entail low maintenance costs. This grading system is based on two industrial robots and patented cogged conveyor belts with the characteristic of loose cups magnetically held in place. 
Plants passed through a camera system that evaluates the different parameters: plants height, leaf area, stem thickness and colour. Plants are then categorised into three different grades. Each plant is then lifted from the trays, transferred to the cups on the conveyor belt, graded with the aid of two cameras and then individually picked up and spaced further in new trays.

Photo Credits: www.grodan.com