Enthusiasm and technology for horticulture

The technological level of mechanization in horticulture plays an important role in vegetable transplant.

Passion for work, technology and research of optimal solutions for the mechanization of the vegeable farming is offered by Ferrari Costruzioni Meccaniche at Guidizzolo in Mantova province (Italy). The company was established in 1961 by Luigi Ferrari, it specializes in the production of transplanting machines that can be used to transplant several varieties of greens: lettuce, tomato, cauliflower, broccoli tobacco, and many others. for seedings in modules, square blocks and bare roots. Ferrari Costruzioni Meccaniche offers a wide range of products: research, innovation and design of new machines, is what Ferrari is made of . Low energy absorption is another very important topic for Ferrari (i.e. the horizontal rotating carousel on double bearings adopted on the model FPA Evolution). Ferrari Transplanters, the most of the time, can work with compact tractors, featuring not high power, to prevent from increasing the costs that companies must bear for the mechanization and the management of the machine fleet. Costs that unavoidably affect the productive process by eroding the profit margins. More than 80% of Ferrari customers are represented by horticultural firms, the remaining percentage by big subcontractors. The soil preparation is essential for the use of transplanting machines, however thanks to the Parallelogram System installed on Ferrari machines, their performance is excellent also on grounds that are not perfectly prepared and with irregular surface, as well as on plastic mulch. Their rotating step by step carousel stands out for the high quality of the planting: the excellent plant spacing and depth control.

FPA Evolution

The newly-born at Ferrari’s is the transplanting machine FPA Evolution – with intermittent carousel and rotary cups – that approaches the market with innovative solutions, suitable for solving especially the problems connected with the transplantation on mulching but able to work excellently also on bare uneven planting soil. It is suitable for the transplantation of several types of vegetables (including: chicory, leeks, marrows, melons, peppers and tomatoes) in clods with different shapes and sizes: conical, cylindrical, cubic up to8 cmside. Among the most interesting components of FPA Evolution it is worth highlighting the Parallelogram System that allows the planting unit to follow with precision the soil profile, suiting possible unevenness and avoiding damaging the plastic mulching film, problem underlined by growers who use machines without that device. Besides, the Parallelogram System allows a steady planting depth also by varying bed heights or on uneven planting soil. Another particular aspect of FPA Evolution is represented by the kinematic rotation system of the planting unit that is mounted on double bearings: in that way, frictions and the wear of components are drastically reduced, the motion becomes smoother, it needs lower effort while permitting a higher working precision and prevents cup blocks due to insufficient transmission by the drive wheels. The carousel body permits a single operator to manage two transplantation rows by placing the plants at a much reduced distance (18 cm), thus reaching efficiency exceeding the average both in terms of quality of transplanted plants per each working hour and in terms of planting quality. The small plants, in fact, are always arranged in perfectly vertical position by the intermittent carousel with perforating cups, ideal for operating on a plastic mulching film. The closure of the hole made by the cup is assured by two back earthing up wheels, with10 cmwidth, which provide for compacting the soil adjacent to the plant, thus making it adhere to the roots as much as possible. The plant distance in the row in adjustable, from 18 to165 cm, by altering the number of cups of the planting unit. FPA Evolution is available with supporting bar with 180-220-250 or420 cmwidth, upon demand, where from 1 to 9 planting units can be housed, with row width included between 30 and180 cm. It needs the coupling with tractors with motor power ranging from 30 to 105 HP (22-77 kW).

 

F-MAX Evolution

Another valid example of the technology by Ferrari Costruzioni Meccaniche is offered by F-MAX Evolution that can transplant various typologies of greens: tomato, cabbage, aubergine, pepper and also tobacco. It is also suitable for the transplantation of salads, provided that they are in container and long-leaved. As a matter of fact, it can operate with different module types: pyramidal, cylindrical, conical and eventually also with cut blocks and plants developed up to 15-18 cmof height. F-Max Evolution is available in modular version with elements, from one to eight, fixed to a single, double or closing bar, able to reduce the overall dimensions to 2.5 -3 mof width to permit the circulation on public roads. Transplanting units are equipped with intermittent carousel with 8 or 10 rotary cups. This characteristic is very important to make plants fall inside the ploughshare always with the same time interval and allows a notable working capacity with hourly efficiency up to 5000 plants per units. The transplantation spacing on the row is adjustable from 16 to57 cmstandard or from 7 to107 cmupon demand, while the row distance (mechanically modifiable) is set starting from50 cm. Versions with minimum row distance of 35 or42 cmare also available. In the front part of the frame it is positioned, for each transplanting unit, a rotary container-holder where it is possible to lay the containers of the plants to be transplanted. Besides, it is possible to install some hoppers for the fertilizer with rubber dispensing pipes, distribution systems of geo pesticides or water tanks to carry out the fertilization, the soil disinfestation or the irrigation on the transplant row. F-MAX Evolution can boast appreciations on a world scale thanks to its great use versatility also in soils with difficult conditions (moist, loose or rough) in the most various horticultural crops, with the addition of tobacco, too. It calls for the coupling with tractors with 35-70 HP (26-52 kW) motor power.

 

Multipla

Multipla has all the best features of working quality of F-Max for what concerns the way it plants, the excellent soil recovery and the depth constancy as well as the low missing plant percentage, less than 2%. Multipla is intended for satisfying the requirements of the extensive horticulture with large surfaces that need considerable working widths and thanks to the double carousel it can be fed on the double row by one operator only. The bearing frame can reach5 metresof width, it can be hydraulically bent to reduce the overall dimensions and to permit transfers on public roads, and it can house up to 6 rotary carousels with 2 outputs that allow transplanting 12 rows with 6 operators only. Another valuable characteristic concerns the soil adherence system which is completely independent thanks to the parallelogram with pressure dosing spring. Besides, being equipped with front “flex” roller as ground support in the pre-transplantation phase and with a rear “flex” wheel, it does not need continuous regulations but only the adjustment of the transplantation depth. It can be equipped with an optional hydraulic system for the pressure management on the rear wheels for the soil recovering able to suit the characteristics that the earth can have inside the same cultivated area (differences of structural composition: sandy, clay, muddy or with various compactness: tenacious, porous or with different stages of wetness). Once established the optimal operation pressure, the hydraulic system will automatically react to the variations of the soil conditions without needing further interventions by the operator. Multipla operates in diamond: the plants are arranged by the intermittent distributor by double rows, first on the right and then on the left as to the travel direction so that the maximum surface for an exuberant development is granted to plants. The row width is variable from 38 to50 cm, adjustable every2 cm. It is particularly suitable for planting tomato in double row. The distance on the transplantation row is variable, with adjustment every 2, from 15 to57 cmin the standard configuration, or optionally from 8 to105 cm. The bearing frame of Multipla can have width of 2.2 – 3.2 – 4.9 and5 metres, hydraulically foldable. It calls for the coupling with tractors having motor power ranging from 45 to 130 HP (33-95 kW). All these transplanting machines can be equipped with PSC (Plant Spacing Control) upon demand. It is a distance changer electronically managed and hydraulically servo-assisted that allows changing the spacing on the row in continuous and without machine idle times. The electronic changer can adjust the distance from 6 to100 cmevery one centimetre. The instrument is also equipped with a visualization system that allows the user to monitor the quantity of total or partial planted hectares and the number of total or partial plants.

By Marco Torre

 

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