0 Mastenbroek hooks a prize in Holland

MastenbroekA LASER-controlled, British-built Mastenbroek 10/12D trencher is helping Dutch plant growers turn a 6 hectare (14.8 acre) glasshouse into one of the most advanced and productive of its kind in Europe.

Currently nearing completion in the Hook of Holland, the vast Kester en Duivenstijn facility will feature the latest in land drainage technology and will support the growing of premium-value chrysanthemums for the world market.

The state-of-the-art glasshouse includes some 20km of 125mm diameter land drainage pipe and an additional 38km of 60mm diameter steam drainage. The latter is employed as a means to remove damaging toxins from the ground after each harvest, with a view to maximising future yields.

Holland is renowned for its horticultural prowess and high quality commercial floral merchandise. Much of this is attributed to its comprehensive approach to land drainage and continued investment in high-technology glasshouse production.

The Kester en Duivenstijn facility is supported on columns based on a 9.6m by 5m grid, making drainage installation in confined spaces a particularly onerous exercise. But the Mastenbroek 10/12D is ideally suited to the task, says owner Elbert van Oosten.

The 10/12D has an offsetting boom, making it possible to trench close to columns and other structural obstacles. The elevating pipe reel also means it is possible to trench right up to the glasshouse perimeter, posing no threat of damage to glazing.

In addition to laser-accurate grade, the Mastenbroek machine features laser-controlled steering, which adds a further dimension in trenching in high value applications such glasshouses, etc., where errors in navigation can have expensive consequences. The guidance of the machine is in effect 'hands-off' from an operator perspective. Mastenbroek is a leader in this technology.

The trencher was commissioned in February 2008, and van Oosten is delighted with the machine. It has now completed some 1,000 hours on this, and similar work.

The Mastenbroek 10/12D was designed primarily for sports field and golf course drainage, but its versatility has come into its own in recent years. Crucially, the relatively recently introduced offset boom variant has a hydraulically adjustable boom that can relocate horizontally by up to 1.2m. This makes it ideal for trenching to within a few centimetres of obstacles such as building stanchions, columns or walls.

It is one of an extensive range of chain trenchers and plows for agricultural and sports field drainage applications from the Mastenbroek stable. Starting with 97kW rated machines capable of excavating trenches with depths of 250mm to 1.8m and widths of 120-400mm, the line-up rises up the power scale to 328kW, where digging depth and width are 1.8-5m and 320-800mm, respectively.

With a digging depth range of between 0.25m - 1.4m, the 10/12D is ideal for excavating trenches at widths of between 120mm - 370mm where laser level accuracy on challenging terrain is essential.

The 10/12D features a heavy duty slewable undercarriage, independent hydrostatic track drive, an operator's position giving good all-round vision, hydraulic conveyor and spoil lifting chute and noise reduction measures. The 10/12D is also extremely versatile; remove the conveyor and this machine may be used for drainage in orchards, or on small agricultural and civil engineering jobs for gas, water pipe and cable ducts in grass verges and across fields.

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