ArcelorMittal Europe – Flat Products

Online client newsletter | September 2019

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Grown on Granite®

Organic coated steel from ArcelorMittal provides the ideal growing environment for soft fruits

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Mini-Air is a new covering system for soft fruits such as strawberries and blackberries. Developed by Meteor Systems from the Netherlands, Mini-Air provides protection from the elements and an ideal growing environment. Meteor Systems utilises Granite® from ArcelorMittal Europe – Flat Products to create growing gutters which are an integral part of the Mini-Air system. Normally used for cladding, roofs and gutters, Granite® can also withstand the aggressive growing environment required for strawberries and remains food safe over the decade-long life of the tray.

Meteor Systems developed the Mini-Air system to create the ideal climate for crops. The low structure offers good ventilation, necessary to minimise the chance of disease or moisture affecting the crop. Gutters at the roof level gather rain from the covers which can be stored and used to water the plants. Underneath the cover, the Granite® growing beds are raised to create an ergonomic working environment for pickers and maintenance personnel.

The substrate used to grow strawberries is extremely aggressive, but Granite® remains durable

Granite® roll-formed on site

A key advantage of Mini-Air is that it can be tailored to the constraints of each location, as Sebastiaan Smeur, account manager for Meteor Systems explains: “Mini-Air is designed to be installed on site by a fruit grower or local contractor. They just need simple tools to complete the installation. For example, the Granite® steel is roll-formed into growing gutters to ensure there are no joins.”

Sebastiaan Smeur, account manager for Meteor Systems

Meteor Systems typically uses Granite® Standard or HDS to form the growing trays. The steel is either 0.6 or 0.8 mm thick, depending on the fruit to be grown. As well as supporting the growing plants, the gutter enables growers to re-use excess water.

Food safe and sustainable

The substrate used to grow strawberries is very aggressive. Nutrients which are added to the irrigation water can also have an impact. “Granite® is ideal in this application because it has multiple coating layers,” notes Sebastiaan Smeur. “We can specify polyurethane and polyester coatings on one or both sides, depending on the plants to be grown.”

Assembly of the growing gutters, including roll-forming, takes place on site

Granite® is food safe, and 100 percent recyclable at the end of its life

Granite® is the perfect choice for the Mini-Air growing gutters because of its environmental credentials says Sebastiaan Smeur: “Fruit growing needs to be a safe and sustainable industry. Because it is made of steel, Granite® is fully recyclable. And its stable coating is fully food safe.”

Sebastiaan Smeur,
account manager for Meteor Systems

Meteor Systems is regularly in contact with ArcelorMittal’s technical support teams. “ArcelorMittal is very reliable and produces good quality steels,” says Sebastiaan Smeur. “With ArcelorMittal we have a long and close relationship and we work very easily together. If we have a problem, we know they can help.”

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