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How CropKing NFT Channels Compare

Posted by Cropking on 10/23/2017

CropKing’s many years of research and growing experience have helped us determine the best equipment and growing methods for a variety of crops. When the goal is to produce high quality lettuce and herb crops, we recommend the NFT channel system. This recirculating system efficiently reduces water and fertilizer usage while maximizing production space. This growing system is an investment in the future of your business and every component is of the highest quality.

1. Materials & Assembly

  • Cropking NFT channels are made of extruded, UV-stabilized, 100% food-grade PVC
  • Channels come in 2 different widths: 4.625” (classic channel) and 3.75” (modern channel)
  • Each channel consists of a bottom, a plain end cap, top covers, and a spouted end cap with attached 45˚ elbow to fit snugly into our pre-drilled drain line
  • Easily attach end caps and elbows using standard PVC primer and glue

Other channels on the market are advertised as being food-grade, but in some cases, they are really non-food grade channels coated with food grade PVC.

2. Dimensions

  • Our classic channel has a smooth bottom and a 5.7˚ contour that directs the nutrient film to flow down the center from the feed line to the drain
  • Our modern channel has a smaller 4.2˚ contour and a unique 1 ¼” wide corrugated bottom that spans the entire length of every channel. This feature provides growing plugs with some additional stability and a more directed nutrient flow
  • Both styles are 1 ¼” deep and arrive pre-punched with 1” square holes spaced 8” apart on center
  • Growers can use their favorite 1” growing medium from seed to harvest without the plug falling or being suspended in the air
  • Grodan 1” rockwool cubes, both AX25/40 and AO25/40, are commonly used with great success in our NFT channels

Other channels utilize round holes, which is not the shape of most hydroponic vegetable plugs. Often times, these holes are very large and allow for light exposure and algae growth.

3. Customization

  • NFT channels are available in 4ft., 8ft., 10ft., and 12ft. increments
  • Top covers are sold in 4ft. or 5ft. increments and easily snap on each channel to prevent light leaks and excessive algae growth
  • Feed line inlet hole is added to the top cover of the classic channels by the grower and is molded into the plain end cap for the modern channels
  • Bulk orders of top covers can be customized by changing the hole size, increasing or decreasing the spacing, or they can be ordered unpunched
  • Both top covers and channel bottoms can be cut to a desired length for a small cut fee

Other channels on the market are available as a single piece without a removable top cover, which can decrease harvesting efficiency and make scouting and cleaning difficult.

4. Support

  • NFT system is supported by American-made, 1.315” galvanized steel that is locally sourced
  • High-quality hardware is provided to ensure a durable, well-supported system.
  • Steel is designed to support all of the channels with a mature leafy crop in every plant site, a 4” diameter opaque PVC drain line, plumbing, feed lines, and a constantly flowing nutrient solution
  • A tank rated for potable water and burial below ground is recommended
  • Each commercial NFT system is equipped with a pump stand that removes the old nutrients so the grower can regularly supply fresh ones
  • Each pump stand is equipped with a backup pump in case of a sudden loss of function

Other systems are supported by lower quality hardware that causes shifting over time leading to non-uniform nutrient delivery. Some drain lines are undrilled and semi-transparent which leads to excessive algae growth.

With growers in mind, CropKing NFT systems are designed to function efficiently and simplify the task of running a hydroponic vegetable greenhouse. We strive to provide the best quality supplies and products in the industry coupled with unparalleled customer service to maximize the likelihood of success. An accomplished grower is a reflection of CropKing’s goal: to help growers get started, succeed, and expand.
 

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