The most popular control panels in the Horticultural industry are called “Combination Control Panels”.
Concept of “Combination Panels”
Combination Panels include computer hardware, motor circuit controllers, contactors, computer/manual interface / override switch modules, control relays, control transformers, supplementary control circuit protectors and load centers (branch circuit breakers).
To combine all electrical controls, power distribution equipment and motor switch gear in a few ‘easy to install’ panels, simplifies the total electrical installation and will save money on the complete project.
Advantages of combination panels
Minimize the number of control panels to be installed, the result is a neat and clean installation
- All control and motor starter functions for multiple zones are integrated in 1 panel (other configurations possible)
- No configuration and inter-panel connections to do on site; Easy installation
- Main power supply IN, sensor wiring IN, motor wiring OUT.
- Operation of all functionalities is tested in our factory. Pre-tested system, minimizes installation time on site
- Detailed drawings of the complete system (including motor controls) are provided which is important for future service
Brock University, Cairns Family Health and Bioscience Research Complex, St. Catharines, Ontario
Acrobat designed, manufactured and implemented the greenhouse climate computer control system for the new research (phytotron) greenhouse at Brock University.
The new research greenhouse perched atop the new Niagara Health and Biosciences Research Complex was completed in May 2012.
Acrobat Controls fully customized and integrated a greenhouse computer system into a complete electrical solution, including custom made control panels
The control panels were designed according the project specifications and include all power distribution circuit breaker panels, motor switch gear including thermal overload and phase protection devices, motor contactors, interface override selector switches and computer hardware.
The system design and installation was done in close harmony and cooperation with all parties who were involved in the building construction i.e. the architect, general contractor, greenhouse builder and all associated sub-contractors and equipment suppliers.
Ben Fehr, Project Manager:
“Acrobat was responsible for the design, manufacturing and installation of customized control panels as well as testing, commissioning, training and after sales service of the climate control computer system. The ability that Acrobat has at working with us as a team and the ability to solve challenges together has been a really good experience. We look forward to working with them on other projects in the future. The high level of expertizes and professionalism of Acrobat resulted in timely delivery while meeting all project specifications and within budget.”
University of Toronto, Biology Greenhouse, Mississauga, Ontario
Acrobat designed, manufactured and implemented a HortiMax greenhouse climate computer control system for the Biology Greenhouse at University of Toronto.
This is a facility for both research and teaching. Areas of research that rely upon include: climate change, plant ecology, plant molecular systematics, plant taxonomy, molecular genetics, genomics and bioinformatics and insect neuroendocrinology.
Department of Biology offers undergraduate programs in all of the major biological areas with specialization in four main topics: Ecology & Field Biology, Whole Organisms; Genetics & Evolution; Cell, Molecular & Developmental Biology; Physiology & Behaviour
Ron Vanderschee, Project Manager at DeCloet Greenhouse Manufacturing Ltd.:
“The University of Toronto- Mississauga Biology Greenhouse project was one of the most challenging institutional greenhouse projects I have been involved with. The controls aspect of the project was especially challenging with the HortiMaX system controlling both the greenhouse and the support building. This was a challenging project for both ACROBAT PROJECTS & HortiMaX as well. In the end the project was successful and I look forward to working again with Al and Michael from ACROBAT PROJECTS!”
Les Serres Stephane Bertrand, Mirabel, Quebec
Acrobat supplied and installed a turnkey, integrated Automation and Irrigation systems for the existing and new greenhouse construction at Les Serres Stephane Bertrand in Mirabel Quebec, Canada.
Project consists of:
- Complete new heat supply system including 2 new wood burning boilers, open buffer heat storage tank system and heat transport lines
- Complete new HortiMaX greenhouse automation system including custom made, UL/CSA approved electrical control panels
- Complete new irrigation system including new Fertilizer irrigation unit and a HortiMaX VitaLite UV disinfection unit for re-use of irrigation water.
André Riopel, head grower at Les Serres Bertrand:
“In 2014 we gave Acrobat Projects the order to replace an existing computer system with a HortiMaX system, because we wanted to be more precise in our control of the climate, irrigation and heating.
The first stage of the project work was not only to install a HortiMaX system, but a completely new heat management system was also installed including wood burning boilers and heat storage systems.
“We wanted to have one main control system to control our entire operation,” said Riopel. “While the many setting possibilities appeared to be overwhelming in the beginning, we received great support from the French speaking HortiMaX’ helpdesk, and direct support from Acrobat. We learned how to work with simple settings in the beginning, and learned a lot shortly after. It’s really easy to make fast progress with the system. Also in regards to the support during the installation, the technicians of Acrobat Projects did a great job, working in close harmony with the greenhouse builder, our staff, local installers and electricians.”
CosMic Plants, Beamsville, Ontario
In February 2010, Acrobat replaced an existing computer system with another in the state-of-the-art facility of CosMic Plants.
CosMic Plants of Beamsville, Ontario, has become one of Canada’s leading Phalaenopsis orchid specialists. The combined propagation and finished plant operation is headed by brothers Neil and Mike van Steekelenburg.
This is not a crop for the faint-hearted, or those without experience. It takes 18 months before you have flowering plants ready for the market. “It’s a huge investment,” notes Mike. “This is why you want to be sure that you’re working with exceptional quality for plant material, as well as equipment.” The greenhouse is “as state of the art as it gets” for growing Phalaenopsis orchids, Mike explains. This ensures premium plant quality, maximum production efficiency and minimal plant losses.
Neil van Steekelenburg, owner of CosMic Plants: “Acrobat played a big role in making the transition from one computer system to another, a smooth one. There was not a moment that we were ‘in the dark’ or without control. They were very aware of the implementations of the transitions to the grower”.
Martens Greenhouses, Beamsville, Ontario
Before W. Martens started to grow cucumbers at the Bluewater greenhouses in Beamsville, ON Canada, a comprehensive history preceded. Initially the first greenhouses were built as an educative tourist attraction for the Niagara Region visitors to promote and educate about advanced greenhouse production. Later a floral entrepreneur transformed the greenhouse into a potted Bromelia production. In 2010, Leamington grower Bill Martens acquired the operations in order to expand his production in the Niagara peninsula.
As the property has changed and shifted between many types of cultivation since the start, it has an extensive history
“Also in terms of controls, technology and installation”, said Al van den Ende of ACROBAT PROJECTS. “A cocktail of climate controls, automation and equipment has been used in this greenhouse operation over the years. In 2013, Martens approached us with the request to replace the existing computer system and install one solid greenhouse control system with HortiMaX automation.”
ACROBAT PROJECTS, started the work at W. Martens shortly after. “First, we mapped all the current, old, wiring in the greenhouse complex, we removed everything that was no longer needed and installed HortiMaX controls in the existing greenhouses. As well as this, the boiler room was upgraded and a heat storage tank was built. Furthermore, Martens installed infrastructure for liquid CO2 dosing.”
Spring 2015, Martens started with a 7.5-acre expansion. Prins Greenhouses delivered the structure and Martens did a lot of building in-house. Again, ACROBAT PROJECTS was the partner of choice that was responsible for the implementation of HortiMaX automation controls for climate, energy, irrigation and labor management and the complete high and low voltage Electrical installation including CSA & UL approved control panels.
Gotham Greens, Queens NY, NY
Gotham Greens’ third and largest New York City greenhouse facility is located in the Greater Jamaica neighborhood of Hollis, Queens. Spanning 60,000 square feet, the greenhouse, designed, built and operated by Gotham Greens, was completed in 2015 and will grow over 750,000 lbs of fresh produce each year for the New York City market. The climate controlled greenhouse employs advanced automated greenhouse technologies while serving as an example that urban agriculture can be more than a small-scale niche project but a robust manufacturing business.
Gotham Greens, Chicago, IL
Opened in 2015, Gotham Greens largest and most technologically advanced greenhouse built until date, is located in the Pullman neighborhood of Chicago’s south side. Measuring over 75,000 square feet, the greenhouse represents the world’s largest and most productive rooftop farm. The Pullman facility will annually grow over 1 million heads of leafy greens and herbs, year-round, for the finest retailers and restaurants across the greater Chicagoland area.
Joep van den Bosch, CEO of HortiMaX, and Wil Lammers, President at HortiMaX Americas were present during the visit of in His Majesty King Willem-Alexander and Her Majesty Queen Máxima to Gotham Greens Chicago in June 2015
Joep van den Bosch:
“Urban rooftop greenhouses differ in many ways from the traditional greenhouses in the Netherlands. What they have in common, however, is that the available space is limited and expensive. The innovative and customized technology provided by HortiMaX allows growers to make the best possible use of their production area.”
Acrobat Projects is proud to have been part of these projects, supplying their North American c-UL-us approved, custom designed control panels with integrated HortiMaX computer systems.