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Technical Library: Benches

Greenhouse Space Utilization

The internal bench layout of greenhouses depends upon many factors. Benching systems vary but usually are of the fixed or 'movable type. The fixed longitudinal bench is the most traditional system and by its very nature demands the most labor for handling the crop. With long narrow aisles a worker has to travel long distances before they can exit the aisle. It is very difficult to use conveying systems which can multiply the efforts or labor by handling several flats or pots at one time.

Peninsula benches provide for a wide center aisle and fixed benches with short narrow aisles between them, perpendicular to the sides of the greenhouse. With this system it is possible. to use transport carts or conveying systems in the wide center aisle The distance for a worker from any point in the greenhouse to the center aisle is short. The wide center aisle also provides for the passing of workers and managers.The peninsula benching system is particularly useful in greenhouse sales areas. Figure I shows a typical layout for greenhouse benching systems.

Movable and transportable benching systems provide good space utilization and labor efficiency. Movable benching systems -provide for movement of the bench left and right in the greenhouse. Only one aisle is provided in an area and it can be created by moving *the benches to provide the aisle where it is needed. Transportable benches move within the greenhouse in a circular fashion or move from the greenhouse to a work area where operations are performed and then return to the greenhouse using the same transport or fixed conveyor system.

Floor growing systems require a floor heating systems for good production. They provide excellent space utilization for crops which require no hand work during the growing season. Crops which require hand work are best grown on movable or transportable benching arrangements equipped with soil heating Systems.

TABLE I

Space Utilization for Various Benching Schemes
Longitudinal Benches 67%
Peninsula Benches 74%
Movable Longitudinal Benches 82%
Movable Peninsula Benches 86%
Transportable Benches 93%
Floor System 90-92%

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