Installing climate screens requires expertise. It is precision work, as is the operation of the screens using climate computers. Svensson saw the need to train its Russian customers and provide consultation and recommendations in the correct use of screens and optimal climate control, all in hopes to help these customers achieve the greatest results.
“The training focused on Russian installers, sub-contractors and greenhouse builders", says Johan Weesie of After Sales, who traveled to Russia in January 2017 with OIga Sholomova, Regional Manager CIS, Baltic States and Eastern Europe and Ludvig Svensson. The training took place in Obnink, a city just to the southwest of Moscow.
Full day of knowledge transfer
“We have taken a full day to transfer as much knowledge as possible. I walked through the process step by step, starting with the basics. I explained why we use certain yarns for the screens and what their properties are. And focussing extensively on the correct installation of the screen, the proper use of the screen, moisture regulation and energy conservation.” During his knowledge transfer session, Weesie extensively supported his story with screen samples. “This field is very practical, seeing how something works with your own eyes is very important. It will be dry theory otherwise. The customers listened attentively and were very interested.”
Interplay of factors
Consultant Lars van Baar visited two modern greenhouses, Lukhovitsy and Kashira located near Kolomna, with Olga Sholomova and Hugo Plaisier, consultant at Svensson. The goal of the company visit was training and consultancy. "We always want to make sure our customers as well as ourselves have the most up-to-date facts and information so that we can make sure everyone is getting the most optimal results possible, from our solutions. For instance, a common belief could be that closing the screen 20% would mean a 20% energy savings as a result. This would be incorrect. Instead, it is an interplay of factors. Whether you save energy depends on the outside temperatures and whether or not you're opening and closing the screen at the proper times." Climate screens are a valuable tool in this precarious interplay of light, temperature and humidity. This is why Lars van Baar says that knowledge of climate control in the greenhouse is also crucial.
Correct use of climate screens
“In other countries, screens are often installed incorrectly or improperly used", adds Weesie. “Incorrect use disturbs the structure. As a result, growers fail to achieve the expected return on investment and energy savings as desired and therefore will often complain to us. Such training sessions were designed to increase the level of knowledge of the installers and greenhouse builders. When you use the climate screens correctly, optimal results can be achieved.”
Controlling the greenhouse climate
Van Baar was surprised by the distribution of tasks at the visited companies. “Typically the grower is the person who most closely interacts with and best relates to the crops and cultivation process. The grower also has a deep understanding of the importance of controlling the greenhouse climate. However, at Lukhovitsy and Kashira, the growers leave the control of the climate computer to an IT colleague, who often has little understanding of cultivation. Because of this, the 'feedback’ from the plants is often translated and adjusted in the climate computer incorrectly. In the Netherlands, the majority of growers are able to understand and utlize the climate computer themselves. This way, the climate in the greenhouse can be optimally controlled without any distortions, achieving the greatest results.”
After explaining the functions of the climate computer, Van Baar configured a greenhouse based on his insights to show how this works in practice. “My practical knowledge of the climate computer came in handy and I was able to show what settings I adjusted as well as the reasoning behind these adjustments. Overall, everyone involved benefited from this type of educational insight.” Van Baar calls his first visit to Russia a learning experience; both for the customers who have learned new information about climate screens and climate control, and the realization of the task Svensson has to accomplish. “The main theme of the visit was centered around improving education and we certainly succeeded in doing just that. It was both an incredible and powerful transfer of knowledge to customers abroad," concludes Weesie. “It is always good to see how Svensson continues to grow into a climate solution provider.”