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THE PROJECT

Delta Technics Engineering BV, Resource Data Management’s (RDM) distributor in Holland, has worked with a customer to design an outstanding control solution for use in mushroom growing farms. It delivers significant benefits to the grower in terms of improved control, reduced energy use and optimised production. Delta worked with L-Pit, a leading technology consultant to the mushroom growing industry, to develop the system based on RDM products.

THE CHALLENGE

The mushroom-growing industry is a multi-million-pound global business, which relies on close control of environmental conditions to optimise growth – and therefore, profits. The traditional method of control uses PC-based systems to control humidity, temperature and carbon dioxide levels in the mushroom-growing chambers. There are several drawbacks with this approach. First, the PC-based control systems traditionally used by the industry are expensive and significantly increase the capital investment required to start up a mushroom growing farm. Second, the system is “closed” and therefore does not allow the user to easily update or modify it. This means the plant owner is locked into a particular manufacturer’s platform and has to invest in expensive upgrades in order to update the system. Third, conventional systems typically operate a farm-wide control strategy across all mushroom-growing chambers; it does not allow the user to operate different control parameters for individual growing chambers.

With the rise of speciality mushrooms, which are attractive to growers as they sell at a premium, there is a need to fine-tune environmental conditions for different types of mushrooms being grown in separate growing chambers on a single farm.

 

THE SOLUTION

Delta worked with mushroom-growing consultant L-Pit to develop a solution based on RDM’s systems. The aim was to produce a more flexible system that overcame the drawbacks of conventional mushroom-growing controls, based on an “open” system that was easier to use, more flexible and less expensive. Delta’s Max Neus advised “We were in touch with Dre Lenders of L-Pit, a leading consultant on mushroom growing technology, about the project. It coincided with the launch of RDM’s new Intuitive Controller. We invited Dre to our training sessions with the system, and he quickly saw the potential. ”He added: “The Intuitive has exactly the right number of inputs to control a climate chamber used for mushroom-growing. It made it a highly competitive proposition against traditional control systems currently used by the industry.”

The first project to use RDM controls was designed and installed on a new mushroom-growing farm in India. Which had 45 separate growing chambers, with five operators responsible for nine rooms each. The system uses RDM Intuitive Controllers to manage a centralised watering system, to ensure soil moisture levels are maintained at the optimum conditions. These are under the overall control of a Data Manager, the control system front-end for the entire site. The solution provides accurate control of the farm’s soil irrigation system, ensuring valuable water resources are used efficiently,optimising mushroom growth to maximise profits and return on investment. The system enables the plant operator to remotely monitor and control the plant, with 24/7 access throughout the year, a feature particularly valued by the grower, advised Delta.

“The RDM solution is very efficient and cost-effective. It has saved the grower significant capital cost while conserving water and ensuring that return on investment is maximised.”

Max Neus, Managing Director, Delta Technics Engineering BV

REFRIGERATION & BMS | Posted on 01 Dec 2012

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