Manual Plant Life Support System


In a well designed hydroponic soilless hydroponic system plants require a Plant Life Support System, a machine that can provide the plants with all the neccesary features supporting healthy plant growth.

Plant Life Support Systems can be compared to the machines you will find in intensive care units of hospitals with the exception that they can support thousands of patients, which are the plants in the hydroponic system.

Manual Plant Life Support systems are designed for best relaibility and simplicity. The idea is to enable remote clients to be able to easily do repairs, calibrations and maintenance without the need of a qualified technician.

The idea behind these manual systems were inspired by clients who had a need for a more simple and more hands on system instead of the SMART Life Support Systems that presents  features that normal practical famers seldom use. They wanted a system that cost as little as possible, has all the essential features and is still fit for purpose.

This Manual Plant Life Support System:

  1. Provide variable solution pressure and flow to the plants as required.
  2. Filter the solution. It has two 130 micron disc filters installed.
  3. Enable you to flush and maintain the systems pipes. This is done through manual valve operation.
  4. Heat the solution when required.
  5. Cool the solution when required.
  6. Sterilize the nutrient solution.
  7. Aerate the nutrient slution.

Manual Life Support Systems have two Mechanical Dosing Systems fitted to it for dosing:

Solution A (Calcium Nitrate in granular form)

Solution B (HydroFlow in powder form. You can add Pottasium Sulphate to the Hydroflow mix for fruiting)

The mechanical dosers work with stepper motors that is controlled by a micro controller. The dosers can be calibrated and can dose very precise amounts of fertilizer. The fertilizers are slowly dosed into the holding tank while the circulation water is used to dissolve it into solution. This eliminates the need for a seperate mixing system.

The mechanical dozers do not have any sensors fitted on the standard model. Use a handheld pH and EC meter for adjusting the chemistry. This is the more reliable method.  Inline pH and EC sensors that are constantly exposed to nutrient solultions are troublesome if they are not maintained daily. We have seen that clients find it difficult to maintain this dicipline at most operations. It is generally better and easier to use handheld meters.

The systems do however have the feature of monitoring. Sensors (pH, EC, Water pressure, Water temperature, Air Temperature and Humidty) can be installed as an optional extra.

Standard systems are switched with manual switchess. We do offer an optional feature where they can be operated remotely. We are currently developing the application for this. We are also developing control room software and a specialised Wi-Fi grid communication systems which we intend to make available in 2023.

Plant Life Support systems are used to support any of our commercial hydroponic systems like the Hallelujah system, the Rooikat system, the A-Frame systems, Vertical systems or the Multi Layer systems for medicinal plants.

Life Support Systems are build onto a thousand litre system tank as one unit. In some applications (like with the Hallelujah systems) the life Support System should be installed into a sump to let gravity do its work. Drawings and material lists are available from us on request. The systems basically need a 230V AC supply, a 20mm 1 to 3 bar fresh water supply point and a 32mm class 3 pipe for waste water. This pipe can lead to a waste water storage tanks which you can use for other applications (watering the lawn, orchards or fields) later on. Note that the systems are designed to be water efficient since they recirculate and treat the water constantly. No more than 1000 litres of waste water per week will be generated. There is waste water because the plants cause unbalanced nutrient conditions over time. With a laboratory on site unbalanced conditions can be managed and minimized but it is simply more cost effective to get rid of unbalanced solutions and to use it for other applications. Unbalanced solutions does not support optimal hydroponic plant growth.

Cooling towers are fitted to the Life Support Systems as a standard. For warm African conditions a cooling tower is an essential component.

Sensitive components are housed into a neat enclosure (made from aluminium and polycarbonate) that protects the components against the elements.

You do not require on site Wi-Fi and internet for standard Manual Life Support Systems.

Hydroponic systems work in isolated cells. This is important to control and quarantine any possible water born diseases. Each Life Support System service a cell. Recommended cells size was determined by years of dealing with water born diseases. Cell size recomendations are based on minimizing risk and on the physical capabilities of the Life Support Systems to serve the plants effectively almost like determining the right size engine for a car.

One Life Support System can host 1200 large trellis crop plants and up to 4000 leafy crop plants.


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