It was in Mexico, where horticulture and floriculture are booming, that we were approached about finding a solution for opening and closing greenhouse roofs.
Horticulture in Mexico is a thriving industry. Vegetable and fruit crops, such as tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and aubergines, are multiplying. More and more businesses are investing in high-tech greenhouses and ways to provide shade cover for greenhouses, in part to increase production but more importantly to meet buyers’ exacting standards.
Depending on the temperature, hydrometry, sun levels, climate etc, it’s necessary to be able to aerate the crops or to keep them under cover, hence the need to be able to open or close the greenhouse roofs. Crop plantations can stretch across several hectares in isolated or remote areas, often without an energy supply. Previously, the task of opening and closing the greenhouse roofs was carried out manually which, as you can imagine, involved a lot of turning and took up a considerable amount of time. It was therefore essential to find a tool that can do the job for you – a tool that is portable and comes with its own energy supply.
Portable actuators are more commonly used for tasks where water or gas are involved, serving to open and close manual valves. But they are by no means limited to this use alone. Thanks to our different adaptors, the tool can activate and rotate all sorts of mechanisms.
The portable gas actuator was chosen [by our Mexican client] because it is the most autonomous in terms of energy, being able to function without any constraint as long as there is fuel in the tank. This makes them particularly well-adapted for use in isolated outdoor areas.
The tool connects very easily to the opening/closing system found on greenhouses. The task can be completed much faster than if carried out manually, and without any effort involved. When carried out manually, although the torque is quite weak (around 30Nm), the process is slow and arduous for operators because of the large number of rotations involved.
The actuator is portable which means it can be used to open all the greenhouse roofs on the site.
For this project, our design team came up with a clever torque reaction device which provides a means to transport the tool easily from one place to another, but which also holds the tool in place during use so that the operator doesn’t have to bear its weight.
Imagining and designing clever solutions for our clients is a daily challenge for the Modec team. We design custom-made adaptors and connectors so that our products are easy to use, for example as in this case for GRT-GAS we designed a special flange for a battery-operated portable electric actuator.
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