Growing on mobile benches

One excellent way to reduce production cost per plant is to make better use of greenhouse space.  

The cost of providing the right environment is the same whether you are utilizing 50% of the space or if every square inch is covered with plants.

After the energy crisis in 1970, farmers had to find better ways to use the available space and resources in order to run their greenhouses profitably.  

This moment coincides with the birth of our company, which introduced the concept of growing on mobile aluminum benches. This new way of growing deeply impacted the horticulture industry and quickly became industry standard because of its advantages for energy needs, space utilization, labor reduction and logistics.   

The choice of a greenhouse benching system, or “production surface”, is affected by many variables. 

In the past, the choice was influenced among others, by labor concerns, cost and flexibility of movement around the structure. 

Though these factors are still important, the technological evolution in agriculture gave us the possibility to develop different types of production surfaces.

Today, the benches in greenhouses come in a wide range of sizes and with various types of inlays that are specifically designed for different types of crops, irrigation methods and production processes.

When deciding upon a bench system for your greenhouse/growing facility, the following are some important aspects to consider:

  1. Compatibility with the size and shape of the greenhouse/grow room (choosing the right bench size and layout configuration to maximize usage of the greenhouse bay’s)
  2. Width of the walkways between and around benches, use of cart or trolleys and their sizes
  3. Compatibility with irrigation methods
  4. Investment cost vs quality assessment
  5. Crops choice ( know your pot or plant size and height )
  6. Efficiency ( unused space that is heated, cooled or lighted = money waste)
  7. Support requirement
  8. Working area efficiency
  9. Logistics bottlenecks 
  10. Adaptability to new technology

Growing on the bench VS growing on the ground

Growing on the ground

Growing on the bench

Space utilization

  • Less space for growing

Space utilization

  • increase efficiency up to 90%

Drainage

  • More restricted and non uniform
  • Plants stay wetter longer
  • Increases the possibility for plants to develop diseases 

Drainage

  • Good drainage out of the plant material
  • Unused water goes in the container which is gradually and uniformly drained

Climate

  • Harder to maintain suited temperature and humidity
  • Inefficient ventilation
  • Colder, especially during winter
  • Root disease develop

Climate

  • Better temperature and humidity control
  • Warms the growing media up
  • Better ventilation in the greenhouse because of the airflow underneath the plant benches

Plant health

  • Disease spreads to other plants
  • Prolonged wet environment
  • Root rooting 

Plant health

  • Healthier plants
  • Prevents spreading disease  
  • Better hygiene for the crop

Work – area

  • Intensive labor
  • Difficult working conditions
  • Inefficient working environment 
  • A lot of space required for the internal transport of the plants

Work – area 

  • perform production processes in   specialized area 
  • Separation from the grow area
  • Increased worker productivity
  • Better working conditions and working environment

Productivity and yield 

  • Determined by the space utilization
  • Limited 
  • Repetitive manual tasks when handling plants

Productivity and yield 

  • Increased due to space and technological availability and scalability
  • Can increase by adding multi layer systems or by automating the existing one

The quality of Logiqs mobile benches

  • Unmatched structural integrity
  • Higher protection from irrigation water
  • High quality of the aluminum alloy

Maximizing space usage efficiency is very important in keeping production costs down and maximizing profits.

There are many types of benching systems used in greenhouses:

  • Manual logistic system (this is an accordion and the info underneath goes in the tab of each of these)
  • Partially automatic system
  • Fully automatic system
  • Multi level growing

    Manual logistic system

    A manual logistical system using mobile containers already offers growers a great deal of flexibility and added value, at an affordable cost level.

    At the same time having even a manual rolling bench system opens up a world of possibilities for future automation of production processes, internal transport, irrigation and expansions.

    Logiqs ambition is to fully understand the growers needs and ambitions, and when needed, long term phase plans can be made where the grower can fully understand how his greenhouse’s logistical system can be upgraded in time.

    Advantages of using a manual bench system:
    • Better working environment for greenhouse workers because the crop is at a correct working height and not on the ground
    • Improved space utilization, of up to 90% of total greenhouse surface
    • Savings on water and chemical usage
    • Improved air-flow under the benches, leading to overall better energy efficiency for heating/cooling the greenhouse
    • Ebb and flood irrigation is easily made possible by using Ebb and flood bench surfaces
    • Allows for easy operation in greenhouses with multiple heating-cooling zones for the various stages in the plants life
    • Less space is needed for the internal transport of the plants

    Partially automatic system

    While for some growers a fully manual logistical system using rolling benches is more than enough to improve their quality and efficiency, a lot of growers choose for at least partial automation of the logistical system in order to reduce labor costs.

    In order to fulfill the need for future expansion plans, we can supply the grower with a multi-year masterplan that can be phased in and is scalable. 

    One can start with a manual system and upgrade to an automatic system incorporating solutions like the 2D-Shuttle.

    Advantages of using a partially automated bench system:
    • Lower labor costs for internal transport of plants and a higher logistical capacity than a manual system.
    • Better working environment for greenhouse workers because the crop is at a correct working height and not on the ground.
    • Improved space utilization, of up to 90% of total greenhouse surface
    • Savings on water and chemical usage.
    • Improved air-flow under the benches, leading to overall better energy efficiency for heating/cooling the greenhouse.
    • Ebb and flood irrigation is easily made possible by using Ebb and flood bench surfaces.
    • Allows for easy operation in greenhouses with multiple heating-cooling zones for the various stages in the plant’s life.
    • Less space is needed for the internal transport of the plants.
    • Processes such as potting, spacing, order picking, irrigation and even Plant Phenotyping can be fully automated.

    Fully automatic greenhouse logistical system

    Fully automatic logistical systems that Logiqs designs and builds are the most advanced in the world and use unique logistical equipment and software that:

    • help growers achieve higher capacities
    • better product quality and overview 
    • reducing labor costs 
    • improving labor conditions in the greenhouse.

    Logiqs works together with the growers to fully understand their needs and ambitions and reach the desired automation results at the best possible price point.

    When needed, long term phase plans can be made where the grower can fully understand how his greenhouse’s logistical system can be upgraded in time, even to a full automation level.

    Advantages of using a fully automated bench system:
    • Lower labor costs for internal transport of plants and a higher logistical capacity then a manual system.
    • Better working environment for greenhouse workers because the crop is at a correct working height and not on the ground.
    • Improved space utilization, of up to 90% of total greenhouse surface.
    • Savings on water and chemical usage.
    • Improved air-flow under the benches, leading to overall better energy efficiency for heating/cooling the greenhouse.
    • Ebb and flood irrigation is easily made possible by using Ebb and flood bench surfaces.
    • Allows for easy operation in greenhouses with multiple heating-cooling zones for the various stages in the plants life.
    • Less space is needed for the internal transport of the plants.
    • Processes such as potting, spacing, order picking, irrigation and even Plant Phenotyping can al be fully automated.
    • The Dat-A-Control Software suite can give the grower full control over both production processes as well as help plan production and can be configured to communicate with the corporate ERP system.

    Multi-level growing

    This is one of the most important advances made in greenhouse automation during the last decades.

    Not only does a multi-level rolling container system offer the best possible space usage, but it also contributes to the overall sustainability of a production greenhouse.

    Efficient space usage also in turn leads to a smaller carbon footprint for the crop because of the inherent energy savings related to the heating and cooling of the greenhouse.

    Logiqs has made huge strides in improving multi-level systems by constantly adapting and developing its transport systems between layers.

    Our main focus points when developing new multi-level growing systems have been:

    • Achieving a higher reliability rate for all automation elements such as lifts, transport vehicles, automatic transport lines, cranes;
    • Higher transport capacities without increasing automation costs;
    • Anticipating possible logistical bottlenecks and then intelligently designing multi-level growing systems for the specific needs of the crop;
    • Efficient integration of irrigation and drainage systems;

    Some of the most used equipment for multi-level systems are:
    • Automatic transport lines – high capacity and high reliability
    • Automatic transport vehicles – highly configurable, reliable and fast
    • Overhead Cranes – specialized for empty or full benches
    • 3D Cranes – ultimate flexibility and speed
    • 2D-Shuttles – a revolution in the greenhouse industry
    • Automatic irrigation booms – precise irrigation with full registration
    • Dat-A-Control – the most advanced greenhouse control and registration software available today.

    Design your Greenhouse

    Get In Touch With Us

      Phone: +31 174 514141
      Email: info@logiqs.nl
      Address: Honderdland 841, 2676 LV Maasdijk, The Netherlands