Rolling benches, also known as rolling tables or mobile benches, are a popular option in commercial and advanced horticulture for optimizing space and improving efficiency in growing operations. They consist of a set of benches or tables mounted on wheels, allowing them to be easily moved or reconfigured as needed. Here are some key benefits and considerations associated with rolling benches for growing:
Space Optimization: Rolling benches maximize the use of available growing space. By eliminating the need for fixed aisles between benches, you can reduce wasted space and increase the overall growing area. This is particularly beneficial in high-density growing environments such as greenhouses or indoor facilities.
Improved Accessibility: The ability to move the benches provides easy access to plants from all sides, making tasks such as planting, pruning, and harvesting more convenient. It also allows for better utilization of natural light or artificial lighting systems by adjusting the bench layout to optimize light distribution.
Enhanced Workflow: Rolling benches can improve workflow efficiency by reducing the time and effort required to navigate around the growing area. Workers can easily move the benches to create wider pathways for tasks or maintenance, improving ergonomics and reducing strain.
Disease and Pest Management: Since rolling benches can be moved, it becomes easier to implement isolation protocols or carry out pest and disease management practices. If a plant is infected or infested, it can be temporarily separated or removed from the rest of the growing area, reducing the risk of spreading.
Initial Investment: Rolling benches generally require a higher upfront investment compared to traditional fixed benches. The cost includes the benches themselves, wheels, and a system for moving the benches, such as rails or tracks. However, the long-term benefits and increased productivity may outweigh the initial expense for commercial operations.
Infrastructure and Maintenance: Installing rolling benches requires proper infrastructure, such as a level and sturdy flooring surface, and a smooth and well-maintained track system. Regular maintenance of the wheels, tracks, and locking mechanisms is essential to ensure smooth operation and prevent any safety hazards.
Weight Considerations: The weight of the benches, particularly when loaded with plants, growing media, and irrigation systems, should be within the weight-bearing capacity of the rolling bench system and the structure supporting it. Adequate planning and engineering are crucial to avoid any structural issues or safety risks.
Irrigation and Electrical Considerations: Rolling benches may require adjustments to irrigation and electrical systems to accommodate the mobility of the benches. Flexible hoses, drip lines, or overhead irrigation systems should be properly designed and installed to allow for movement without damaging the infrastructure.
Rolling benches can be a valuable addition to growing operations, especially for commercial or large-scale cultivation. However, it's important to carefully consider factors such as space requirements, investment costs, infrastructure needs, and maintenance considerations before implementing them in your growing facility.