• Watering and weigh station WPS

Watering and weigh station

Digital Phenotyping is all about controlling one group of parameters to objectively quantify the variation in other parameters. The precision and validation of the irrigation per plant is crucial in this respect. The WPS irrigation module allows the user to very accurately irrigate each individual plant according to the pre-set amounts. This allows the user to very accurately define and apply strict water regimes within the same running experiment and thus have the potential to objectively measure the effects of different watering regimes on the samples.

Some facts and figures:

  • The WPS irrigation module is compatible with the following irrigation regimes:
    • Absolute water amounts (ml)
    • Target weight irrigation
    • Weight change watering for progressive drought effects
    • % from optimal
  • Watering amounts from 5 ml -->1000ml can be handled accurately with unprecedented throughputs
  • The unit has retractable multiple spraying heads to eliminate plant damage in the process and to distribute the water evenly within the pot
  • The unit, in combination with efficient high throughput conveyors, allows the user to measure the plant weight accurately on multiple time-points throughout the day.

Applications:

  • Drought Stress and Recovery
  • Water Use Efficiency (WUE)
  • Waterlogging
  • Nutrient Stress
  • Salt Stress

The WPS watering and weigh station consists of different modules:

  • Plant manipulation guide for positioning plant on load cell
  • Load cell for accurately measuring the weight of the carrier
  • Arm with precision nozzles to apply water in pot or dish
  • Pump station
  • Nutrient, fertiliser and/or abiotic stress solutions are all possible add-ons.

Throughput optimalisation
The plant manipulation guide is used to position the plants on the load cell and to optimize throughput. The WPS load cell is a high specification cell that can accurately measure the weight of objects. Practical point is that the cell is capable of handling a large overload. Water is applied in the pot/dish under the pot via an retractable nozzle set. The nozzle set consists out of 2 nozzles with separate high precision dosing valves.
When the carriers are transported in- and out of the unit the nozzles will be fully retracted to not interfere with this transport. If the plant is in position the nozzle set is extended to position the nozzle right over the pot and or dish.
The nozzle set can manually be changed in height depending on whether irrigation is needed in the pot or in the dish under the pot.

The accuracy of the watering is also influenced by the uniformity of the water pressure. The WPS pump station assures constant water pressure so that it is not dependent on often occurring fluctuations in the water supply is research facilities. The pump station also has a user interface that displays system status and shows actual weights on the load cell and the calculated dose for the plant on the unit.