Design of the automated system Adam involve drum (1) that is mounted on the frame (2) and driven by rollers (6). There are cassettes (3) mounted on the drum with mineral wool mats. When rotating, drum dips cassettes into the tray (7) with nutrient solution. Lighting Required for plants comes from HPS lamps installed in the light fixture (4). The whole process is controlled by the control unit on the basis of PLC ALPHA 2 running by specially designed software ADAM_RZ ver.10.01 (5).
Description of the technologies used in ADAM automated system:
- Feeding plants hydroponically. The process is performed through smooth immersing of cassettes with mineral wool mats into a nutrient solution that is supplied from the reservoir to the tray by a pump and then pumped back after feeding. Shape of the tray’s bottom follows the trajectory of the cassette, which allows to use small amounts of the solution. This approach allows to use only as much solution as absorbed by the substrate, which generally reduces the amount of the required solution in comparison with conventional hydroponics. Amount of the supplied solution, its temperature, pH, EC, and the duration of the feeding process are controlled by respective sensors in accordance with the preset parameters of the control program. Supply of the nutrient solution and its return to the reservoir is performed by a reversible pump with a rotary reverse valve, using only one conduit. Thus, this system allows to halve the number of the processing equipment and related accessories traditionally used in greenhouses with hydroponic cultivation.
- Controlled flow of carbon dioxide CO2 into the growing area. Carbon dioxide content is monitored by a remote CO2 sensor, controlled CO2 supply valve at a predetermined constant value, depending on the growing crop and the current mode of the control unit.
- Artificial gravity (orbitropism). Rotation of the drum around its axis provides that the plants in the cassettes are continuously affected by changing direction of gravity. This leads to blocking of plants receptors, which determine duration of sleeping and waking phases depending on current gravity and position of the plant in space, whereby the plant growth increases significantly.
- Lighting. Lighting fixture with two HPS lamps is fixed along the drum axis. They are located in interconnected sockets (cylindrical diffusers made of quartz glass). Power of each lamp comes to 400-600 watts, and it is controlled by the electronic ballasts. Used sodium lamps produce maximum light spectrum. Maximum luminous flux (PPF) of each lamp is 1,100 μMol/sec or 90,000 lumens. All parts of plant are completely and smoothly lighted due to the plant’s rotation around the lamp. There is a possibility for additional installation of LED panels with different power and different ranges of spectrum, including UVA and UVB ultraviolet spectrum.
- Maintenance of the predetermined temperature and humidity using mist. Mist is generated automatically, using ultrasound technology.
Specifications of ADAM automated unit:
Dimensions — L × W × H = 3,000 × 4,500 × 3,900 mm
Recommended technological space — L × W × H = 4,000 × 5,000 × 4,000 mm
Unit weight — 1,500 kg
Number of spots (planting scheme 10 × 10 cm) — 1,536 pcs
Maximum power consumption — 1.5 kW
Generally, this model is specialized on growing of different varieties of lettuce with the possibility for arrangement of the lettuce line consisting of a number of interconnected units, depending on the needs of the customer. In addition to lettuce, production line can be represented by other leafy crops, such as onions (green onion), spinach, fennel, rhubarb, sorrel, pak choi and other fast-growing leafy vegetables. It is even possible to grow strawberries.