Using the highest density using the two-netpot piece the plant spacing is: vertically 30cm, horizontally 15cm. You can always use spacer pieces for larger plants either to just have one complete closed ring segment or alternate with them. There will be a piece with one centered net pot. Using the one netpot piece vertical space can be increased to 30cm between your plants.
The diameter of a vertical barrel is always 57cm. We always use 6 of our adapter parts to assemble one full stackable ring segment.
There are 4 different positions to stack the ring segments on top of each other. Each ring segment adds 15cm of high. The number of ring segments you stack is always variable.
Flow rate per vertical barrel ~2l/min (max 5l/min). And we always run irrigation on a timer, usually max once every hour during daytime and only 2-3 times during night time.
Example barrel: 12 ring segments (built from 72 adapter parts) plus top lid irrigation and base provides 144 grow spaces and is 2m high. if you add 2 more ring segments height (you need 12 more ring segment pieces) will be 2.3m providing 168 grow spaces. Irrigation does not change.
Key features of the aponix 3D-NFT platform:
- Shape: vertical cylinders (‘barrels’). No fixed/blocking 2D stacked structures like racks.
- Preferanbly used in greenhouses using natural sunlight. Artificial lighting with LED stripes, vertical interlighting LED bars or with rotating barrels or a mix. There is no standard (yet).
- Also usable outside. Hidden feature of optional stainless steel ring hooks to tighten the top lid using three ribbons or strings.
- Barrel surface for cultivation and plant spacing is configurable using lego like parts.
- For soilless use based on standard, globally available 2-inch net pots. Grow space diameter is 5cm.
- Height for each vertical barrel in a production line is variable. Stack as many ring segments as you wish. Here are some installation/integration examples. Usually soilless vertical barrels are 10 to 14 ring segments high so plants on every level can be seen and inspected by hand. They can also be used with only 4, 5 or 6 ring segments.
- Depending on the ideal integration setup for your case the aponix vertical barrel platform can be integrated with closed bases or open bases, from which the liquid drains directly back into circulation. Also the closed bases can be interconnected with hoses and valves so the combined liquid content from all of your bases can be used as a master reservoir. In this case your pump draws liquid from one master base and the others provide their liquid. This is for example different using a TowerGarden, where each tower uses only its own liquid and pump (!). This makes it very easy to integrate the aponix system into an existing aquaponic circulation.
- Positioning and number of vertical barrels used for production is variable. Ideally they are arranged in lines (see example setups) and just drain the liquid on the bottom. Nutrients are managed at a central point.
- Aponix helps with the setups but does not provide other parts you will need to set up a fully functional production facility. The aponix vertical barrel starts where your ‘hose’ provides liquid and ends where the liquid drains on the bottom base. Circulation, fertilizer management, greenhouse, sales of produce etc is up to you.
- Vertical irrigation by gravity. Inside wing structure directs liquid evenly to root areas of inserted plants. Irrigation stays same regardless of height. You can integrate your own irrigation!
- The roots hang freely inside the 57 diameter vertical cylinder and can not clog the system and are exposed to oxygen all the time. This might be important for longer term crops or herbs like mint or even basil you intend to harvest leaves from regularly and that have much larger root systems compared to lettuce or faster cycling crops.
- During operation it is possible to reach and inspect the inside any time through the top or through an integrated revision part.
- You provide pre-grown seedlings ideally already grown in the right sized net pots. You are flexible using the medium and 2″ net pots of your choice.
- Aponix does not provide nutrients. We assume users have enough horticulture knowledge on what nutrients their plants need and how to manage them. You can use any nutrients as long as they come in a liquid form – mineral, organic, extra-terrestrial ;).
- No moving or complex parts.
- No full disassembly required for cleaning. Rinse with citric acid (optional, but dissolves carbonates and salts) and use a small power washer on 2 to 4 still stacked ring segments to clean all areas. No dead corners or parts flying/lying around.
- Parts can be stored and shipped in a very compact way.
- Highest material quality possible, UV durability, hardness, longevity.
- Plant density: We recommend to plan for 3sqm per vertical barrel.
- Reminder: If you apply 2D cultivation thinking and methods, you probably end up with what you expected. For 3D cultivation you need to know your crops very well and plan for what they need to generate expected yield. Example: If UV radiation is at the threshold to deficient for your 2D cultivation area and you apply the same radiation to a 3D setup where you have many more plants in very different positions. Guess what the result will be. Even more, more deficient plants.
- No need to repeat the benefits of CEA (much less water, no herbicides, no run-off, 365 day production etc).
- Please think in CAPEX per grow space: If you spent 500EURs for a vertical barrel providing 144 grow spaces, each grow space is around 4EURs. You will need to add the cost of your greenhouse and OPEX. But for the equipment, you might well be able to break even after 12 months (other equipment 1-2 years). And please remember the longevity of the parts when you compare aponix to other equipment. The material is supposed to have double the UV resistance than ABS. You can look that up.
- Flow rate for the sprinkler per barrel is 1-2l/min.
- You operate it on a timer depending on atmosphere. Example: 10min irrigation during the day every 60-90mins.
Businessplan calculation example
Calculation basis for your business plan:
- Calculate with an average space per unit of 3sqm. If your cultivation area is 300sqm you can be running 100 units. That is the safe and conservative setup incl broad aisles and low enough units that can all be managed walking by hand. See setup examples on this page.
- We assume a unit is 12 ring segments high and equipped with pieces using 2 net pot inserts (highest density for herbs and lettuce). Every unit provides 144 2″ netpot grow spaces. Assume you have 100 units, that would be a total of 14400 individual grow spaces. if you go higher with your units you will have more grow spaces. If you go lower or change the plant size by using closed pieces or the pieces with the center netpot insert you reduce the number of plants per unit accordingly for your personal calculation.
- We assume a 6 week cycle for your seedlings to maturity/harvest. It could be less or more. Please use your individual crop data or mix of crops if that is applicable accordingly.
- We assume a plant weight of 60g to 180g per mature plant (results actually grow in a research facility we are working with). This was the range in our official testings. Please put in your personal assumption plant weight you can grow. We use the average of 123g (which is at the very low end of what a professional grower should be growing).
Using the details this is example calculation you will grow in a 300sqm cultivation area using 100 12 ring segment vertical barrel units and the resulting 14400 grow spaces and a cycle time of 6 weeks resulting in a plant with marketable weight of 123g: Your output will be 2600 such plants every 6 weeks or 1600 plants every month or 197kg of produce a month.
For the size of your reservoir: If you are using the waterbuffer for irrigation, max 7 liters are in the waterbuffer at any time per unit. Finetuned and ideal would be much less. Lets assume incl reserve we calculate with 20 to 30 liters per unit. Assume you are running 100 units, you should plan for a reservoir that can hold at least 2000 liters, ideally 3000 liters.