What’s New in Tools

Jennifer Zurko
AMA Plastics (www.amaplas.com)
BVB Sublime is an innovative substrate from BVB Substrates and distributed by AMA Plastics in North America as part of its hydroponics division. Made of polyurethane foam, “The New Substrate,” as it’s called, was especially developed for professional vegetable growers. It helps growers increase their yields and allows optimal steering of crop development. Independent research confirms these findings—The New Substrate was launched in February 2010 following three years of trials at more than 70 growers and various research stations.
Advantages to The New Substrate compared to rockwool is:
  • Controllability
  • Sustainability
  • Profitability
  • Easy to wet, dry and re-wet
  • Optimum control of vegetative/generative growth
  • Saves water and nutrients
  • Clean troughs
  • Food safety
  • Waste management
  • Increased yields
The New Substrate is shipped from a segregated, restricted-access warehouse using sanitation procedures that reduce the risk of disease spread
AmeriLux International (http://ameriluxinternational.com)
The Next Generation II of multiwall and corrugated polycarbonate sheets from AmeriLux is called LEXAN THERMOCLEAR 15—high-performance panels that offer coextruded UV protection, superior energy efficiency, ease of fabrication and are lightweight, yet virtually unbreakable. With field-proven performance in clarity, strength and light transmission, LEXAN THERMOCLEAR 15 panels make ideal greenhouse coverings, where the uniformity of the light delivered to the plants is key to successful production.

LEXAN THERMOCLEAR 15 comes with the only 15-year warranty in the industry. These sheets will not lose more than 4% light transmission over a 15-year period, so there’s virtually no yellowing. Plus, AmeriLux offers 100% full replacement for the first eight years.

Bartlett Instrument Co. (www.bartinst.com)
The Big Boss from Bartlett Instrument is a 24VDC power supply designed to control two 10A motors for rolling up/down walls. It can be used manually as an independent unit or it can be linked to one of their controllers for automation. The Big Boss also has 10A resettable circuit breakers to protect each motor and the 5A circuit breaker protects it from power surges and shorts. It retails for $465.00.

Also from Bartlett is the Radio Link—a wireless system used to program and monitor Bartlett greenhouse controllers from your personal computer. This new radio program allows users to control and monitor up to 50 greenhouses, while collecting and storing data for further evaluation.

Pictured above left: The Big Boss is designed to control 10A motors for rolling up/down walls.
Right: The Radio Link wireless system monitors greenhouse controllers from your personal computer.

If you need something easy to help haul plants, people—and even full racks—get a Golftruck! Golftrucks are late-model gas or electric golf cart conversions that have proven to make very efficient and economical utility trucks for small business. They have 1,000-lb. capacity, the longest and lowest deck, easy-entry cab and a full bench seat. They come standard with a state-of-charge meter, backup alarm, Lexan rear window, front and side stake pockets. Makes an ideal “customer transporter” on busy days.

Klerks Hyplast Inc. (www.klerksusa.com)
Klerks’ K4 IR-AC four-year 4-ml. greenhouse film is an innovative 14.4 ft. and 15.4 ft. lay-flat tubing warranted for four years against ultraviolet light degradation. K4 IR-AC’s extended four-year life allows growers to keep the film on longer, reducing labor costs and risks associated with film installation. K4 IR-AC comes standard with the added benefits of high light diffusion, anti-condensate control and nighttime infrared heat retention.

McConkey (www.mcconkeyco.com)
rEarth 3.5-in. Square Tech Pot is one of McConkey’s bestselling lightweight pots because it’s always been a great value-priced container option. Now available in rEarth water bottle plastic, these pots are 100% recycled and curbside-recyclable. This redesigned pot is stronger and better in automation than its predecessor.

Always a popular choice for growers, the classic 1020 Standard (10.75 in. x 21.25 in.) 606 pack is available for the first time in eco-friendly rEarth plastic. This new 606 pack is made from recycled water bottles, strong and tear-resistant, and curbside recyclable.

Spectrum Technologies (www.specmeters.com)
SpecConnect by Spectrum Technologies is an integrated solution for environmental monitoring across wireless sensor networks. The SpecConnect solution gives growers the ability to capture real-time, site-specific data in various greenhouse microclimates through Spectrum’s new WatchDog Retriever & Pups wireless communication network. Each network Pup is compatible with a diverse number of sensors for measuring light, soil moisture, soil EC, temperature, relative humidity and other environmental parameters, offering the flexibility of monitoring the sensor inputs in precise locations. 

All data acquired by the Pups is communicated back to the Retriever, which collects the data and sends the information wirelessly to the new SpecConnect web portal for easy access and analysis. You can monitor your crops/plants on your computer or smartphone and make real-time decisions to improve yield and quality, conserve resources and increase profits. GT