TTA USA: Improve your material flow

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TTA USA’s new CombiFix Gen II Plug Consolidation System increases tray through-put by 35 percent.

May 3, 2016

See a video of the CombiFix Gen II in action at

The plug tray that is now the industry standard for all growers was developed in the 1980s. Then along came the automated transplanter in the late 80s and early 90s. Because not all seed would germinate 100 percent, plug producers provided extra plugs to make up for these misses.

In the late 90s, Arie Van Vugt of Plainview Growers approached Anne den Hartigh of TTA in the Netherlands to develop a plug consolidation system to fix the missing plugs in each plug tray. This would allow plug growers to guarantee 280 plugs in a 288-tray and 500 plugs in a 512-tray. This also benefited the growers who were using automated transplanters, as they would need fewer workers to fix the missing plugs as they were transplanted into the finished flats.

The first TTA Fixing System, developed in 1998, were separate Blow-Out and Fixing machines integrated together that would share data to consolidate the plug trays.

The CombiFix, developed in 2006, combined the Blow-Out and Fixing Unit into one frame. This sped up the process because it did not have to share data and transport of the trays between each process, making it continuous.

The CombiFix Gen II was developed in 2015 and provides a very similar flow of material as the original CombiFix, but it utilizes an Industry First — a linear servo motor that moves the plugs between the source tray and fixed tray. This has increased the through-put by approximately 35 percent.

Prior to the development of Plug Consolidation Equipment, it would require 30 to 60 workers to consolidate these plug trays. This is a tedious and monotonous job that most workers do not want to do.

The CombiFix Gen II will be exhibited at the Cultivate’16 Show in Columbus, Ohio, and will be put into operation at Ball Tagawa Growers in Arroyo Grande, Calif. in early August.