Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

New Steaming Technology is Successfully Tested for Substrates

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

At the beginning of March the new substrate steaming technology was tested at a flower farm located near the German-Dutch border. A special challenge of this task was to avoid shifting of very light pumice-like clay substrate in special trays for planting flowers. Moreover, irrigation hoses installed on the bottoms of the planting trays shall not directly be exposed to temperatures exceeding 110°C.

Laying the steam hose and covering with a steaming sheet.

Laying the steam hose and covering with a steaming sheet.

This solution was developed and put into a trial operation by a service team of Marten Barel Consultancy B.V., a well-known consulting company for hot steam applications.

The flower farm, which has successfully tested the new technology, specializes in high quality crops, especially amaryllis.

After the culture is harvested and all plants are pulled out from the substrate, a special steam hose is laid on the substrate along the longitudinal axis of the plant tray. The steam hose is extremely steam-permeable and, thereby, uniformly gives off the stream along the entire plant tray. The plant tray and the hose laid in the middle of it are covered with a heat-resistant steam foil whose edges are weighted with appropriate weighting hoses.

Laying the steam hose and covering with a steaming sheet.

Laying the steam hose and covering with a steaming sheet.

As soon as the steam boiler is connected and started, the substrate starts to be gently steamed.  Since the steam is slowly guided through the clay substrate and condensed in it, the irrigation hoses installed at the bottom of the plant tray are not exposed to excessive heat. The steaming time is very short. In already 30 minutes you can sanitise a plant tray of up to 50m length when only using  ~30-40kg steam per cubic metre. As the substrate shall not be moved or shifted, additional labour cost is minimal.

NEW SEMI-AUTOMATIC STEAMING MACHINE IN OPERATION

Monday, February 20th, 2017

On the 15th of February 2017 a large seed breeding business focused on oilseed rape crops put the new semi-automatic steaming machine from MSD GmbH into operation.

The complete tractor-towed system has a steaming capacity of 800kg per hour. A special feature of its design is a large boom hood of more than 7 m length and a total area of approx. 18 sq. m. The system allows treatment of 180 – 200 sq. m soil surface per hour.

Semi-automatic steaming machine MSDA-800 towed by a tractor

Semi-automatic steaming machine MSDA-800 towed by a tractor

With this steaming system, propagation areas can be kept clean, in particular from the seeds of previous breeding strains, without using chemicals.  In this way, several hectares will be annually prepared for breeding of new seed varieties.

Semi-automatic steaming machine with a 7m long boom steaming hood

Semi-automatic steaming machine with a 7m long boom steaming hood

The system was directly commissioned by its manufacturer MSD GmbH in a day. From the very first day, the system was effectively operated. Its design is largely autonomous. In arranged tanks, fuel oil level supply is enough for a full day of operation. The water is continuously supplied through a hose pipe. During the operation, the minimum water pressure is maintained by an installed pump system. The semi-automatic machine also has its own water treatment unit to ensure optimal water hardness.

SANDWICH-TYPE DAMPING CONQUERS NEW ZEALAND

Friday, February 3rd, 2017

A leading herb farm near Cambridge ordered a sandwich-type steam system from MSD GmbH  and started it at the beginning of February. The system is equipped with a large steam boiler of type S 1350. So more than 42 sq. m are covered  with up to four steam hoods. All steam hoods are equipped with special hollow pins that make it possible to reach a steaming depth of up to 25 cm below the steam hoods in max. 8 minutes.

Spiked steaming hoods in a tunnel

Spiked steaming hoods in a tunnel

The steam hoods are raised and lowered by a hydraulic system. A special winch pulls the raised steaming hoods over  the surface. Using this system, the farm can sanitise280 sq. m per hour and completely liberate the treated surface it from weeds, weed seeds, pests,  soil diseases and fatigue.

Hollow pins under the steam hood with a length of up to 20cm

Hollow pins under the steam hood with a length of up to 20cm

In sandwich-type steaming, soil preparation is still a key factor of success for good steaming results. The surface must not be too moist. It shall be well loosened to the desired depth of steaming effect, at least.

For more information on sandwich-type steaming, please visit:
http://www.moeschle.de/en/sandwich-type-steaming#

THE SWITCH FROM SHEET STEAMING TO STEAMING HOOD SAVES 50% HEATING OIL

Tuesday, October 11th, 2016

Yet another German horticultural business has recently made the switch from sheet steaming to sandwich-type steaming using a steaming hood, and the results are impressive.

The business – which is based near Stuttgart in the Federal state of Baden-Württemberg – had been operating successfully for more than 10 years using sheet steaming, and wanted to take a step forwards towards greater energy efficiency.

Raised steaming hood with pikes for sandwich-type steaming

Raised steaming hood with pikes for sandwich-type steaming

Under the guidance of MSD GmbH the business took the step and, instead of procuring a new sheet, it opted for two steaming hoods used in sandwich-type steaming. Instead of guiding the steam under a sheet which is weighted at the edges, the sandwich-type steaming method utilises a special steaming hood equipped with spikes, which drive the steam into the soil to a depth of up to 25cm. The business made the decision to initially operate the hood manually. This involves a single operator lifting and lowering the hood using a lever construction, and moving it while positioned on wide rollers.

 Manually moveable steaming hood with masking foil

Manually moveable steaming hood with masking foil

The result was worth it. The savings generated in comparison to sheet steaming were close to 50%. Instead of almost 6,000kg of steam, the horticultural business only requires just over 3,000kg of steam per greenhouse with a surface area of 260m² and a steaming depth of approx. 25cm, for a target temperature of more than 80°C. This equates to a very cost-effective steam requirement of approx. 12 kg per m². Consequently, energy costs when measured in today’s price for heating oil are below EUR 0.5 per m².

NEW SEMI-AUTOMATIC STEAMING SYSTEM IN OPERATION WITH THE LARGEST ORGANIC PRODUCER OF SALAD LEAVES

Friday, August 19th, 2016

As a cheaper alternative to the fully automatic steaming machine, which is now in operation as the latest model MSDZ-1 as of July this year, the leading steam specialist MSD has now also developed a semi-automatic machine and has delivered it on 18.08.2016 near Frankfurt.

Semi-automatic steaming machine MDS 600 from MSD GmbH, Durbach

Semi-automatic steaming machine MSDA 600 from MSD GmbH, Durbach

In contrast to the fully automatic machine, which operates in self-propulsion over the field without a driver, the semi-automatic, with the complete assembly including the appropriate high-performance steam boiler, is drawn over the beds by a towing vehicle. The system operates, however, in a similarly automatic way. In the current version of the machine, three beds can be steamed simultaneously with one hood. The three hoods are lifted and lowered hydraulically.

Semi-automatic steaming machine with 12m² steaming hoods

Semi-automatic steaming machine with 12m² steaming hoods

A video on Youtube can be watched here: VIDEO semi-automatic steam robot, 2016

The semi-automatic steam machine is available from MSD GmbH, Durbach, in two sizes. The smaller version has a steam performance of up to 600kg per hour and can completely free a surface of up to 12m² of weeds in around 5 minutes with a steam depth of 4-7cm. The larger version of the semi-automatic has a steam performance of up to 800kg per hour and can completely disinfect a surface of up to 18m² in the same time and to the same depth.

The semi-automatic steam machine carries all the fuel oil it needs with it in a tank and supplies its own electricity via a hydraulic generator for steering and for the operation of the high-performance burner. Further information can be obtained directly from the MSD company: www.moeschle.de

WORLD DEBUT: NEW FULLY AUTOMATIC STEAM ROBOT IN OPERATION FROM JULY

Thursday, July 21st, 2016

The MSD company has developed a new version of the steam mobile unit together with specialist machine manufacturer Josef Zeyer Agrarsysteme in Neresheim. The new edition came about subsequent to a direct enquiry from one our largest local producers of salad leaves. This new fully automatic steam machine sets new standards. In contrast to the previous model, which was produced by MSD in cooperation with the Swiss company Bärtschi-Fobro, this new field robot MSDZ-1 fulfils the latest requirements, in particular in the areas of approach area monitoring and tracking control.

Fully automatic steam machine MSDZ-1, developed by the MSD company in cooperation with the J. Zeyer company in Neresheim

Fully automatic steam machine MSDZ-1, developed by the MSD company in cooperation with the J. Zeyer company in Neresheim

In addition to the latest control technology, the steam efficiency of the system has been increased again by almost 40% on the previous model so that, under optimal conditions, surfaces of much more than 30 hectares can be completely freed of weeds annually.

Fully automatic steam machine in test operation for open land application in northern Germany

Fully automatic steam machine in test operation for open land application in northern Germany

The first new fully automatic steam machine is currently in test operation in areas in northern Germany in order to adjust it optimally to the current conditions. The machine will then be able to steam three rows of beds simultaneously, completely independently and without a driver, lifting, moving and then lowering the hoods again for this purpose until the end of the row of beds is reached. When the robot has reached the end of the row, it will send a signal indicating that it can now be moved by a driver. During the entire operation, however, the machine can also be operated via remote control.

Detailed information on price and performance of the new fully automatic steam machine can be obtained directly from the MSD company, especially online at www.moeschle.de.

A video on Youtube can be watched here: VIDEO fully-automatic steam robot, 2016

EFFECTIVE CONTROL OF TIGER NUT SEDGE WITH HOT STEAM

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

On 17.06.2016, the research group Extension Gemüsebau of the Swiss Agroscope Institut presented several methods for combatting tiger nut sedge. One of the most effective methods among these is steaming.

Three different steaming methods were successfully tested: hood steaming, sheet steaming and pile steaming via steam conveyor in cooperation with several partners, including MSD GmbH, Durbach.

Little steaming hood set on open field

Little steaming hood set on open field

In the two surface steaming processes (hood and sheet), the tiger nuts are completely killed off to a depth of around 25cm, which translates as an effective rate of around 95% over the entire area. After steaming, the steam-treated surface areas were observed. Growth from deeper lying tiger nuts, which the steam was not able to reach, can subsequently be killed off easily by mechanical or chemical means. In the case of pile steaming, e.g. via steam conveyor, the soil that is contaminated with tiger nuts is lifted completely and treated with steam.

Tiger nut sedge can be killed off completely with a soil temperature of 75°C. It is recommended that heat is maintained for at least 15 minutes in order to achieve a clean result.

Sheet steaming against neophytes at Sinzheim

Sheet steaming against neophytes at Sinzheim

More information can be found in the “Mit Dampf erste Befallstellen tilgen” (eradicate first infestations with steam) leaflet on www.agroscope.ch from July 2017.

Hot steam against ice and snow goes to the next round

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

The reduction of roof loads due to snow is a top topic again this winter. For this reason, after the first major snow falls in higher areas new tests were made to find out which steaming methods are most efficient.

The big advantage of hot steam in contrast to classic methods to remove snow with shovels is clear: Due to the heat snow flows away as water. There is no need to first remove snow from the roof and then transport it further away from the building.

Moreover labor cost is much lower when using steam.

In order to melt 1kg of snow only 0,1691 kg of steam is needed. Efficient steam generators with an efficiency of 96% only consume 0,015l of fuel to produce this amount of steam.

In order to calculate energy cost density of snow has to be considered, which is about 0,17kg/dm³ = 170kg/m³ for fresh fallen snow.(See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snow). In order to steam 1 m³ of snow about 2,55l fuel is needed. This amount was confirmed several times in tests.

Based on this knowledge this year 4 steaming methods were tested and compared.

1. Steaming Hood

The area is covered with a light hood made of aluminium. Then hot steam is induced. The hood is moved to another location by hand once all snow has melted. The results are always 100%.

Hood steaming – The area is completely free of snow – an optimal result

Hood steaming – The area is completely free of snow – an optimal result

Only 15 kg of steam were used to melt all snow on an area of 3.2m² within only 4.5 minutes. (about 0,5m³/89 kg snow).

2. Steaming pipes with steaming sheets

Perforated pipes are laid out on the snow covered area in regular distances and covered with sheets. Hot steam is induced into the pipes to melt snow.

Steaming pipe with steaming sheet. On the left side remaining steam is clearly visible.

Steaming pipe with steaming sheet. On the left side remaining steam is clearly visible.

Most snow melted away. However despite the continuous induction of steam, snow isles remained as no optimal melting affect was achieved due to slightly higher snow density.

3. Steaming pipes in roof gutter

Perforated pipes are laid out in the roof gutter of a green house and continuously covered with snow from both sides while steam evaporates.

Steaming pipe in roof gutter

Steaming pipe in roof gutter

As long as the pipe is constantly covered with snow, an optimal melting affect could be achieved. However, a constant use of labor was needed to supply snow.

4. Steaming with steaming lance

Similar to a high pressure cleaner, steam gets applied via a lance and distributed manually.

Steaming with steaming lance. The majority of steam escaped into the air.

Steaming with steaming lance. The majority of steam escaped into the air.

Although melting was achieved, however the method was very inefficient as the majority of steam doesn’t reach the snow.

Conclusion: Melting snow with a steaming hood is the most effective method to free big areas from snow. The biggest mobile steam generators produce 2000kg of steam per hour and have about 10 times the output than the machine used in the upper mentioned tests. With such a big generator in 4.5 minutes about ~890 kg = ~5m³ of snow can be melted. Per hour a reduction of roof load by more than 65m³ = ~11t is feasible.

Steaming Technology presented on the Horti-Vienna and Agritechnica

Saturday, November 19th, 2011

The new trade fair for horticulture and vegetable farming in Middle and Eastern Europe took place from the 27. 09 to the 28.09. in Vienna.
Furthermore the world’s biggest agricultural show, taking place from the 14.11. to the 19.11, was fully booked out with more than 2.500 exhibitors from 48 countries.

On both fairs the latest steaming technology was presented. Several thousand visitors could learn more about the latest innovations for soil sterilization with hot steam. For the first time the newly developed steaming system “A-1350-24” was introduced. The robot was designed and manufactured by MSD GmbH, Durbach in cooperation with Fobro-Kress, CH- Hüswil. The steam robot, specialized on the efficient steaming of groomed beat cultures, such as baby leaf salads, was upgraded to double its capacity.

In addition, the current research results of the DLR Rheinlandpfalz on steaming of arugula were presented.

Steaming reaps convincing results in Babyleaf cultures: No weeds – more yields

Friday, September 30th, 2011

Within 14 days present on 3 field days: Steaming is everywhere. On the 31.08.2011 the latest results on steaming research made by the DLR RLP were the only topics in a field day in Switzerland. Mr. Ziegler, department manager horticulture, introduced steaming as most efficient means for weed control to more than 50 guests. At the same day new steaming methods were presented on the field day of the chamber of agriculture in Cologne / Auweiler.

Two weeks later, on the 15.09., the Service Center for Rural Areas (DLR) Rheinlandpfalz (Rhineland-Palatinate) presented its latest results of steaming tests with babyleaf and arugula on the Quckbrunner Hof during its field day. Two steaming methods were compared with other means of weed control such as classic herbicides, etc. Both steaming methods showed the same effects.

Baby-Leaf Culture treated with herbicides. Worst growth, weeds still present (in particular ragwort!)

Baby-Leaf Culture treated with herbicides. Worst growth, weeds still present (in particular ragwort!)

Baby-Leaf on control area, not treated: Lots of weeds and good plant growth.

Baby-Leaf on control area, not treated: Lots of weeds and good plant growth.

Baby-Leaf culture on steamed soil: Best quality and highest yields – 100% weed free

Baby-Leaf culture on steamed soil: Best quality and highest yields – 100% weed free

The use of herbicides (Kerb Flo and Cadou) in general always came with significant growth disturbance. Cadou suppresses ragwort well, but strongly harms babyleaf as shown in the first picture. The exclusive treatment with Kerb Flo shows much less damages, but the weed control effect is insufficient. Herbicide treatments all required manual removal of weeds.

Areas treated with hot steam showed different results: the steamed beets were all totally weed free. Furthermore plant growth was increased. The DLR pointed out that the effect of hot steam depends on steaming time. If steaming time is too short (below 5 minutes), weed seeds might survive.