General Manager – Manufacturing Plant & Sowing Facilities

Careers

with PlantTape

General Manager – Manufacturing Plant & Sowing Facilities

Our Company:
PlantTape is an automated transplanting system aimed at reducing costs and labor for vegetable growers. The PlantTape process is built around a biodegradable tape that holds seeds and seedlings. The tape facilitates ease of sowing, efficient nursery operations and automated transplanting. With one of the most progressive and innovative automated transplanters on the market, PlantTape now has over 100 machines operating globally.

Location: Hollister, CA

The Role:

Overall management responsibility for the PlantTape factory and sowing operations in Hollister, CA and Livingston, TN.

The role principally requires keeping facilities running safely and efficiently, and being able to deal with the complete set of challenges that beset a typical production environment. These challenges can be of an HR, planning, finance, production, safety, facility, IT, engineering etc. nature. This position sees final responsibility for two locations.

The successful applicant is expected to prioritize his/her time to improve efficiencies and solve problems, using all necessary resources. The manager must be able to delegate tasks effectively, but must also be willing to complete many tasks themselves, or develop processes and identify/train others to complete. A “hands-on” approach, becoming familiar with all workforce members and all equipment, is a necessity, requiring significant time on the production floors. The Hollister facility runs extended hours during the busy, summer season, and the position will require some work outside of regular hours.

Preferred Qualifications: 

  • Minimum of five years of leadership experience in a production environment.

  • At least spoken Spanish ability.

  • Self-driven, with a demonstrated drive and ability to handle the day-to day management of a facility.

  • Demonstrated initiative, as required to solve a wide range of problems.

  • Demonstrated passion for quality and a continual-improvement mentality.

  • Ability to solve problems, working with multi-disciplined teams, prioritize and manage projects.

     

Ideal Attributes: 

  • Promotes a positive Company image, and supports the PlantTape efforts.
  • Must be able to maintain and abide by confidentiality.
  • Must be willing to travel.
  • Must be a team player with a can-do attitude and be goal driven.
  • Must be able to work independently and in a team environment, have excellent communication and organizational skills and great attention to detail.

 

Apply Here: 

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PlantTape Automated Transplanting System

Industrial Engineer

Careers

with PlantTape

Industrial Engineer

Our Company:
PlantTape is an automated transplanting system aimed at reducing costs and labor for vegetable growers. The PlantTape process is built around a biodegradable tape that holds seeds and seedlings. The tape facilitates ease of sowing, efficient nursery operations and automated transplanting. With one of the most progressive and innovative automated transplanters on the market, PlantTape now has over 100 machines operating globally.

Location: Hollister, CA

The Role:

Support all aspects of PlantTape’s global business with engineering problem analysis and problem solving.  The role involves support of agricultural equipment used in the field, as well as factory-based production equipment. The position is based in Hollister, CA, but PlantTape equipment is located in several locations across North America, Europe and the UK. Primarily, the role involves identifying problems in existing equipment, and working to solutions to improve performance, quality or adaptability. In many cases, formal R&D projects will ensue and the successful candidate is expected to also manage those projects to completion, working with resources both in the US and Spain. “Emergency” support will occasionally be required for failed equipment, needed to be back on line in minimal time.

Preferred Qualifications: 

  • Must have an undergraduate engineering degree (prefer general, industrial, mechanical, electrical, manufacturing or systems).
  • Minimum of two years of engineering experience.
  • Must have a strong working knowledge of Solidworks.
  • Spoken Spanish is a benefit.
  • Self-driven, with a demonstrated drive and ability to handle engineering problems, and deadlines.
  • Demonstrated initiative, as required to solve a wide range of problems.
  • Ability to work with multi-disciplined teams, prioritize and manage projects.
  • Must be willing to travel, and work in outside environments.
  • Demonstrated ability to maintain good project records, handle multiple projects simultaneously, and report project statuses and summaries to projects teams and senior management.

Ideal Attributes: 

  • Promotes a positive Company image, and supports the PlantTape efforts.
  • Must be able to maintain and abide by confidentiality.
  • Must be willing to travel.
  • Must be a team player with a can-do attitude and be goal driven.
  • Must be able to work independently and in a team environment, have excellent communication and organizational skills and great attention to detail.

 

Apply Here: 

Name(Required)
Email(Required)
Applying For:(Required)
Max. file size: 2 MB.
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PlantTape Automated Transplanting System

The World’s Fastest Transplanter

The World’s Fastest Transplanter

The World’s Fastest Transplanter

PlantTape’s 3-point transplanter is fast. How fast? We decided to find out. We took it to the field with the intention of discovering the top speed at which the planter could still plant with precision. Growers typically operate our machine at 1-6 mph, depending on the crop planted and soil type. The limiting factor on the speed, however, is not actually the transplanter, but is limited by the crew’s ability to keep up with feeding the tape into the planting modules. PlantTape requires only two workers (not including the tractor driver), and a primary task of these two individuals is clipping the tape from different nursery trays together for a seamless pull-through by the planting modules.

A Word on PlantTape Nursery Trays and Tape

As we explain in our automated transplanter page, our transplanter’s planting modules pull the tape (which holds the seedlings) from nursery trays, cut the tape between plants, and place each seedling into the soil. A PlantTape transplanter holds 68 trays of seedlings. At 840 plants per tray, that’s about 57,000 plants. With each tray’s tape clipped to the beginning of the next tray’s tape, an ultralong, unbroken tape can be pulled through the modules.

 

PlantTape’s Rate-Limiting Factor for Transplanting

The limiting factor for the top transplanting speed is not the transplanter itself, but rather the crew’s ability to keep up with the speed of the machine to clip the tape together, tray-to-tray. If the tape is flying out of the trays faster than the crew can clip it, the transplanter out paces the two people and the tape ends. The rate at which the tape leaves the trays depends on two factors: plant-to-plant spacing, and ground speed. If plant-to-plant spacing is wider—say for hemp or tomatoes—the crew can keep pace with a higher ground speed. With a crop such as onions or lettuce, however, a tight plant-to-plant spacing means that the tape will be leaving the trays at more velocity, given equal ground speed.

Planter Modules Calibrated to Transplanter Ground Speed

PlantTape’s transplanter stands apart from the competition in its ability to calibrate the planting rates of its modules to the machine’s ground speed. If the tractor driver speeds up or slows down, plant spacing stays consistent as the modules adjust their rate to compensate. In contrast, other transplanters’ ground drive systems can’t automatically calibrate their planting rate to ground speed, so they rely on specific ground speeds to achieve a target plant spacing. Automatic planting rate calibration: yet another advantage of the PlantTape system.

 

So How Fast Can the PlantTape Transplanter Go?

Danielle Michaels recalls her days in the field (currently, Danielle serves as PlantTape’s North American Sales Director with a particular tractor driver who “suddenly started going 10mph” during a day of vegetable transplanting. “The transplanter planted just fine,” she remembers, “but the ride got a bit bumpy for the crew.” A 10 mph transplanter is ultrafast by industry standards, but the team at PlantTape suspected the machine could plant with precision at much higher speeds. To find the transplanter’s top planting speed, a PlantTape crew, , hitched one of our transplanters to a John Deere 6150 tractor and achieved sustained speeds of 20 mph. The planting modules still delivered each seedling into the soil with the same precision as at lower speeds. “We would never recommend going this fast for production acres,” Michaels admits, “but this is just for fun, to see how fast it would go.” Until we receive notice of our record being overturned, PlantTape is laying claim to the world’s fastest transplanter. Watch the PlantTape “Fastest Transplanter” Youtube video of the demo.

 

About PlantTape

PlantTape represents an entire automated transplanting system, of which our fast transplanter is one component.

  • Sowing: it all begins with our automated sowing system, which seeds our tape.
  • Nursery: PlantTape empowers high-yield nursery operations by more than doubling greenhouse throughput.
  • Transplanting: our 3-point planter is the fastest, most efficient transplanter on the planet.

The entire process, from sowing through transplanting, is enabled by our trademark plant tape: a biodegradable tape that holds seeds, and later seedlings, through the entire cycle. Growers of vegetables, tomatoes, and hemp have revolutionized their operations with PlantTape. Our customers have reduced labor costs by as much as 80%, increased crop yield, and introduced other efficiencies to their operations.

PlantTape Promotes Sustainable Agriculture

PlantTape Promotes Sustainable Agriculture

PlantTape is well-known for the efficiencies we bring to nurseries and to transplanting in the field. The environmental benefits of our automated transplanting system is often highlighted less, but is equally important as farmers are challenged daily to become more sustainable while feeding the world.

Biodegradable Plant Tape

Our trademark plant tape material is what enables our entire system, from sowing through transplanting. The tape is biodegradable, which is one of the key factors in allowing the PlantTape automated transplanting system to be such a game changer. Because the tape can go directly into the soil, the plant is never touched during planting.  Once in the ground, the tape is still visible if a plant is uprooted from the ground.  However, after the field is harvested and the remaining plant material is disked back into the soil, the tape will disintegrate over time among the other organic matter.

Lower Peat Usage

Peat is a primary component of crop transplanting globally. With many world governments considering limits on peat mining, peat costs can be expected to increase in the coming years creating another increasing cost for growers while food prices remain the same.

The UK, for example, plans to ban sales of peat compost to the general public by 2024. Meanwhile, the National Trusts’ joint statement on peat calls for “a complete ban on the use and sale of horticultural peat.”

By using PlantTape, growers can cut peat costs significantly, while staying on the good side of environmental issues—and of governments with an eye on the peat industry.

The PlantTape system reduces peat usage by up to 98% compared to other transplanting systems. Where a traditional peat block is 120 cubic centimeters, PlantTape uses only 3 cc’s per seedling.

Biodegradable PlantTape material prior to the seeds being sown.

Long-Lifespan Nursery Trays

Traditional celled nursery trays are single use, generating significant plastic waste per each acre of crop planted.

In contrast, PlantTape’s reusable nursery trays last multiple seasons. With their sturdy construction and modular design, they serve growers year after year, diverting tons of plastic waste from the landfill.

Lower Field Inputs

Some growers find that adopting the PlantTape automated transplanting system results in lower field inputs. Because plants spend less time in the field and more time in a controlled environment, necessary inputs are applied precisely, as needed.  Some growers in California’s Salinas Valley report a 10-15% decrease in watering and fertilization requirements on the lifetime of the crop with PlantTape as compared to traditional transplanting systems.

Nursery Efficiencies

A nursery utilizing the PlantTape system is more efficient per square foot of floor space. A PlantTape nursery tray holds 840 seedlings, compared to 338 seedlings for a standard nursery tray. The PlantTape tray is only slightly larger than the conventional tray, so PlantTape more than doubles greenhouse holding capacity.

Because PlantTape can double greenhouse productivity, nurseries achieve an equivalent throughput with half the greenhouse land-use footprint. Smaller greenhouses require less heating, lighting, and other inputs.

A nursery with the goal of doubling production would traditionally need to double floorspace, which would mean increasing electricity usage, water usage, and other inputs. With PlantTape, in contrast, it can achieve its goal with its current floorspace and inputs.

PlantTape trays hold nearly 2.5 times more seedlings than traditional transplant trays

Precision Planting for More Productive Stands

PlantTape’s planter modules are driven by a hydraulic system. The hydraulic drive allows consistent spacing, even in challenging conditions, unlike chain-and-sprocket ground-driven transplanters that often slip or skip plants in sandy or slick soil.

Calibrating Planting Modules to Ground Speed

The PlantTape transplanter’s computer system ensures that each seedling is placed into the soil with the utmost precision. A wheel tracks fluctuations in ground speed and the computer calibrates the speed of the transplanter modules to ensure that plant-to-plant spacing remains consistent whether the planter is going 2 miles per hour or 5 miles per hour (note that we’ve successfully proven our transplanter at 20mph, though we don’t recommend going that fast for production planting).

Greater Granularity in Plant Spacing

PlantTape’s  easy to use computer system enables adjustment of plant-to-plant spacing in quarter-inch increments. this increased granularity gives more precision to growers, allowing them to experiment and fine-tune planting stands to perform and grow best in their local conditions.

As a result, PlantTape crops often have higher-quality stand counts which then results in a better crop yield. As with nursery productivity, growers often achieve higher productivity out of equivalent acreage by adopting PlantTape for vegetable, tomato, and hemp transplanting.

Precision Agriculture is Sustainable Agriculture

From the sowing line to the nursery to the field, PlantTape drives multiple efficiencies that reinforce one another. As one precision agriculture solution among many emerging farming automations, PlantTape is helping drive the future of agriculture.

Precision agricultural technologies such as PlantTape empower growers to produce more with less, which is good for the earth—and for the nearly 8 billion people living on it.

Ohio Tomato Planting Update

Ohio Tomato Planting Update

In May 2021, PlantTape conducted a tomato transplanting trial in Northwest Ohio. The trial aimed to demonstrate viability of PlantTape’s automated transplanting system for non-irrigated tomato agriculture. Recently, a crew harvested the PlantTape tomatoes and compared yield and fruit quality to conventionally planted tomatoes of the same variety grown adjacent to the PlantTape trial.

The Tomato Planting Trial

In May, as reported in our previous blog post, PlantTape injected subsurface water to the root zone of each tomato seedling during transplanting. The injected water helped the transplanted tomatoes establish themselves during 5+ days of dry, hot weather before the next rains arrived.

Subsequent inspections revealed that the PlantTape tomatoes were thriving on par with their conventionally planted neighbors, with similar height, color, and other health markers.

 

Harvesting the PlantTape Tomatoes

Tomato transplants ready to be planted

The PlantTape tomato harvest compared favorably with tomatoes which were planted with conventional transplanting methods. Both crops—PlantTape tomatoes and nearby conventionally planted tomatoes of the same variety—measured similarly in terms of the following metrics:

  • Stand
  • Yield (tons per acre)
  • Color
  • Uniformity

The harvest further validates the viability of the PlantTape automated transplanting system for no-irrigation tomato growing operations.

 Tomato plant roots from PlantTape transplant

Seeking Partners for 2022 Tomato Trials

PlantTape will conduct further tomato trials in the 2022 growing season, and welcomes partnership opportunities to trial our system’s capabilities in different regions of the United States.

Next year’s trials will test longevity of PlantTape seedlings in the greenhouse, among other critical factors.

PlantTape is giving growers the opportunity to demo the equipment before having to make a final decision on the product.

If you are a tomato grower in the US and wish to participate in a tomato transplanting trial, please contact Danielle Michaels at daniellemichaels@planttape.com to discuss logistics.

 

 

About PlantTape: PlantTape is an agricultural technology company based in Salinas, California. Our automated transplanting system making the nursery and transplanting process more efficient for vegetable growers, tomato growers, and hemp growers around the world.