Limex crate washers at Wesselman Flowers

Limex supplied two T1802 crate washers to Wesselman Flowers. This washing machine consists of four washing sections in which a different combination of mechanical power, temperature, duration and chemical action is applied each time.

Introduction

Wesselman Flowers is a household name in the Dutch tulip world. The family business was founded in the mid-19th century, and Joost Wesselman is currently the 4th generation at the helm of the organisation. With its three nurseries in Roelofarendsveen, the company specialises in forcing tulips (growing tulips in water). Joost Wesselman is also the founder of Tulpen.nl, a trading platform or partnership of various nurseries that produce 250 million tulips per year. 

It can be a challenge for a tulip grower to keep the water quality and growth of the tulips in the pin trays at a consistent level throughout the season. In general, the purer the starting material, the longer the cultivation can be kept under control properly. For this reason, Joost Wesselman went in search of a crate washer that cleans more intensively and thoroughly. His search took him to Limex.

Method and results achieved – crate washer

Our colleague Joep Janssen worked with Joost Wesselman to conduct some tests on the test machines available at Limex, with which the correct configuration was determined. The crate washer consists of four sections in which a different combination of mechanical power, temperature, duration and chemical action is applied each time. In the first section, coarse dirt is removed under high pressure, also known as the pre-rinse. The next section uses high flow and lower pressure and temperature. Water is circulated and filtered to minimise water consumption. The third section blows off excess water, then section four applies disinfectant. The capacity of this machine, which is integrated in an automated line, is 700 trays per hour.

A season consists of 4 to 5 growing cycles of about 3 weeks. After the first machine was put into operation, it was found that tulips emerge homogeneously during several cultivation cycles in a row. This is different from before, because normally tulips would grow less uniformly in each successive cycle. This is due to the Pythium fungus, which adversely affects growth. In clean pin trays, Pythium has demonstrably less effect on the tulip. After installing the washer, Joost Wesselman noticed that the growth of the tulips in the second cycle was just as good as in the first cycle. Even in the third and fourth cycles, tulips were found to grow uniformly. The more uniformly the tulips emerge, the fewer harvesting times the tulip grower has to plan, because all the tulips can be harvested at once. After installing the first washer, Wesselman clearly saw that the 2nd, 3rd and 4th crops were as uniform as the first. That is why Wesselman Flowers is now using a second Limex crate washer!

Removing TVX virus from forcing crates

In cooperation with the laboratory Groen Agro Control, Limex tested if the washing process applied effectively removes TVX (Tulip Virus X). The washing process also proved effective in removing the TVX virus. With this washing machine, it is possible to use reusable cultivation trays several times each season without a virus remaining behind to infect future crops. For more information on the laboratory investigation, see: Can the TVX virus be removed from pin trays? | Read now | Limex

How has Wesselman Flowers experienced working together with Limex?

“The first crate washers I bought years ago had to be replaced within 3 years, the second crate washer had to be replaced after 5 years. The Limex washer washes much more intensively, and does not have to be replaced. Maintaining the machine properly keeps the washing process optimal, and no further investment is necessary. During cultivation, we see cycle after cycle of tulips emerging uniformly. An extra benefit is that the machine can remove the TVX virus. I can certainly recommend a Limex washer to every tulip grower.”

Joost Wesselman, President at Wesselman Flowers and President at Tulpen.nl, Roelofarendsveen, May 2021

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