Case Study: Transplant nirvana

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January 20, 2011

Last spring, Joe Theisen, owner of J. Theisen Inc. in Memphis, Mich., made the decision to replace his automatic transplanter.

“At the time we bought our old STS transplanter, 10-12 years ago, it was state of the art,” he said. “It was the fastest machine available at the time. It was very rigid in what it could do. We could change flat configurations easily, but we had to use a certain size plug tray.”

But just like with any piece of equipment that is used constantly, Theisen said years of operation began to take its toll on the machine.

Theisen contacted AgriNomix in the spring of 2010 about trading in the old transplanter for a new one. Fortunately, the company had an Urbinati RW2100 Wireless Command transplanter in stock.

“We installed the new transplanter in early April, right in the middle of the busiest part of the transplant season,” Theisen said. “The new machine is very versatile. Our head grower Pete Langmesser, who operates the machine, caught on quickly how to program it to handle various size plug trays. It can also be set to handle different plant types. The wireless fingers can be set to swoop in instead of punching straight down so that the foliage is set back and isn’t damaged. It did a fabulous job of planting begonias.”

One advantage of the new transplanter is the number of flats that can be planted. Although the old transplanter was supposed to have a higher output, Theisen is finding the new transplanter is producing more flats.

“Our goal is 3,500-4,000 flats in a seven-hour period. That would be doing multiple runs of different varieties — 100 of this and 200 of that.”

For more:  J. Theisen Inc., (810) 384-1335; www.theisengreenhouse.com.