HortiMaX launches new MultiMa version: MultiMa 5.3

A few weeks ago, HortiMaX announced the launch of its latest version of the HortiMaX CX500. Now it’s the turn of the HortiMaX MultiMa. Version 5.3 is now available and includes a brand new version of its user interface software: Synopta 3. Customers with a MultiMa 5 series can simply upgrade their software to the latest MultiMa version. A comprehensive description of the new functionality is available for interested growers. 

MultiMa 5.3
Joost Veenman, HortiMaX’s Climate and Energy Product Manager, had the following to say about the new MultiMa: ‘Although the housing is identical to version 5.2, the internal software has been modified and improved significantly. In designing this new version, we focused on the increasing complexity of greenhouse control. The use of air handling units, more screens and other factors affecting climate control can make it a challenge to operate a climate computer. This version not only makes the system easier to manage, but also ensures that the controls are better geared to one another. The flexibility of the controls has also been further enhanced to allow for the growing diversity in the equipment used by growers today.

Customized control
Environmental control is different in every greenhouse. Recent technical developments demand the utmost flexibility of the control system. The MultiMa 5.3 is more versatile than ever, without sacrificing ease of operation.  The integration of a so-called Scriptcontroller, in addition to the standard controls, allows the process computer to be upgraded with virtually any functionality required.  The MultiMa can be customized to meet your individual needs. Our convenient symbolic and tailor-made summaries help keep the system transparent and manageable.

Improved screen control
The use of screens (e.g. thermal screens) has increased significantly the last few years. Changes in screen applications have placed new requirements on control computers, such as screen control based on PAR and the ability to control diaphragm screens or multiple screens on the same wire bed.  Thermal screen control has sparked a great deal of interest among growers involved in ‘eco-cultivation’. This new MultiMa version includes enhancements based on the latest insights into screen gap control and overrides during cooling.

Air handling units
Although the term suggests otherwise, an air handling unit (AHU) is not a single piece of equipment. Every supplier carries its own particular system. However, AHUs have one thing in common: they control the greenhouse climate by cooling, heating, dehumidifying and circulating the air. Every model offers a different set of features. Joost Veenman: ‘The AHU is essentially a complete greenhouse control system in itself. Although sometimes used to replace the current equipment, AHUs are more commonly used to supplement the existing ventilation and heating systems.  This makes fine-tuning the control of the AHUs such an intricate job.  It’s up to the grower to determine the desired air temperature and humidity in the greenhouse. That’s how it’s always been. However, AHUs enable these setpoint values to be achieved with greater accuracy and energy efficiency.’ We worked together with customers to develop and test the AHU control software, which is now being used with great success in a number of highly advanced greenhouse structures, such as the UltraClima and ID greenhouses.

Connecting intelligent equipment via Modbus
More and more greenhouse equipment (e.g. CHP systems, fans, air valves and lighting systems) is fitted with intelligent controllers. This equipment increasingly uses digital and Modbus communication protocols. The previous MultiMa version already came standard with Modbus support for the most common fan systems. The MultiMa 5.3 now also allows any Modbus equipment to be defined using ‘autonomous registers’, so the correct registers or variables can be defined.  These are the readouts and settings of the equipment. As a result, the process computer can communicate with the equipment more directly and control it more accurately. The computer can also retrieve more information on consumption levels, alarms, statuses, etc. By creating summaries, tables and graphs of this extra information, new readouts can be added to the Synopta software. This gives the user a complete picture of how the equipment is functioning.

Synopta 3
The MultiMa 5.3 is operated with a new and thoroughly enhanced version of our user interface software: Synopta 3. In addition to a fresh new look, it includes a range of new features. One of these features is the ‘category’ graphs and tables, which allow the user to display the variables of each block (compartment) in just one table or graph. This means far fewer graphs and tables are needed, providing a more uniform format and appearance. This is because the colour and line thickness selected for a particular variable remains the same in all the tables and graphs.

Greenhouse facilities keep on growing in scale and the number of people they employ. To meet these changing needs, the MultiMa’s user management and staff access control functions have been enhanced considerably. This includes the ability to assign different access rights to different user groups, so some users may only view information on the computer, while others may operate the systems in a particular block (compartment). It’s now also possible to display the software in the native language of each user.

Interested in the MultiMa 5.3?
If you’re a MultiMa user interested in purchasing the MultiMa 5.3, we may be able to upgrade your current system. This depends on your model version. If you opt for the new MultiMa, we also offer an annual maintenance contract providing you with the latest software updates. Please contact us if you’re interested.

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