FAQ about small nursery potting machines

What is a potting machine?

A potting machine is a piece of equipment that facilitates filling containers with growing media for plants.  The machines typically lift material up above the container and then let it waterfall down over a container.  Unused soil is recycled back into the machine.

What type of electricity does a potting machine need?

The bigger the machine the more electricity infrastructure is required.  Large multi yard nursery potting machines often require a great deal of power.  Commonly this is 3 phase 208V.

In the US there are a handful of typical voltages supplied to businesses.  These all operate at a frequency of 60Hz.  The smallest voltage being 110V single phase.  The next step up is to 208-240V single phase.  And then beyond that we get into 3 phase power which comes in two typical voltages – 208 3 Phase and 480 3 Phase.  An additional voltage offering is 277V which coincides with the 480V incoming power and is used for Lights in buildings.

All electricity and power requirements for potting machines are defined by the wire size needed to power the equipment.

Let me explain – 

To understand your wiring needs for potting machines there are a few things to consider with electricity.  Power required, Voltage and Current are all related.  A device will always be designed to a specific power need.  The power (often defined in Watts) is constant.  What changes is how that power is delivered to a machine.  Current defines wire size.  The higher the current, the bigger the wire required.  Wire is made up of copper and copper is expensive.  So the more current required, the more building infrastructure cost is required.  Current can be reduced by increasing the voltage.  That is why large equipment uses higher voltages.  As you increase voltage, the current, wire sizes, circuit breakers go down.

Typically, 110V circuits can handle up to 20Amps.

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What does the warranty look like?

3 Year, Unlimited Hours Warranty – INCLUDED

What does it include?

Includes: Problem identification, remote trouble shooting of issue, support and instruction for proper repair, and providing replacement of failed parts.

What is excluded?

Excludes – Misuse of equipment (including using non horticultural potting mixes with high sand and field soil content) or improper care, such as leaving fertilizer in machine for an extended period of time.  Wear parts (chain, slats, wear plates or surfaces).  External physical damage inflicted on the machine.  Labor repair costs.

We will walk you through the repair process and make sure you're happy.

What about Service Parts?

Yes, we keep inventory of most all parts. Most all of the components are either US Sourced or a common off the shelf component. We are having some supply chain issues on components, but we are working through the best way to manage that.

What about Repair?

All of our machines are designed right here in the US.  We design these machines to be easily repairable by an inexperienced worker.  Should a problem arise, you won’t need to weld or fabricate a new part.  The entire machine is bolted together and you can simply bolt in a replacement part.

The hopper capacity seems low

We have heard that concern, I get it, you won’t be able to load a machine up and let a person pot plants for a day.

Some perspective – The rear load machine holds about 3/4 – 1 cubic yard which is up to about 200 gallons of material. That gives you about 15 minutes of runtime without stopping.

The reason for the smaller equipment size is to primarily keep the price and complexity down.

Increasing the machine size has a few unwelcome side effects:

-Increase horsepower requirements which means increased power – now you have to have dedicated power for the machine.

-Increasing the hopper size also increases the physical size of the machine which increases the overall cost and reduces portability

You may have not made a purchase on a potting machine in the past because of the overall cost.

We're being cautious around those concerns and trying to work within your business goals.

Is this production rate slow?

From time to time, we hear that our production rates appear slow. Look at it this way though. You have 5 or 10 workers running a high-speed line. SOMETHING GOES WRONG, you now have all these people standing around and/or you need to find a different job for them.

What's your real per man hour potting rate?

If you have a machine problem with a high-speed line you’re completely shut down.  With a cell-based design, you have a small part of the potting operation down.  Your efficiency is similar whether you have 1 or 4 people operating STILT.PRO machines.

Your business is complex, don't make it worse.

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