自主潮汐式养液栽培系统(Autopot Systems®)在历经多次改良后，最新一代的设计于专业栽培的领域上融入更简易且更精准的技术，赋予了投资生产上更高的效率与质量。其设计概念，主要虽基于潮汐式的原理，但亦融合了浮根和毛细管式的技术，巧妙的利用各型特殊不同压力的专利人工智能阀Smart-valve MK2~等来左右给液的进行。每一组栽培单位皆仰赖此套双点式的水位控制以保持3cm左右的底床液面。当营养液受到植物根部吸取或是自然蒸散的消耗时，液面则随之逐步下降，机制上必须等待底床液面呈现无水0cm，也就是养液完全被用尽后才会再度进行自动补充作业，使其水位重回3cm的状态；而在0~3cm之间的缓冲地带与自主式灌排液时间的进行中，则提供非常有利于地下部氧气与养份的交换吸收条件，根部生长及地上部发育皆明显优于一般惯用的循环水耕方式。
|“Plant Driven” Concept.
The Smart-valve is the heart of the Autopot Systems. It is this which controls the entry of the water to the reservoir. The original Smart-valves were used on Jim’s gloxinias, which were soil based plants and the results were excellent. In the thirty years of trials and refinement that have gone into today’s Smart-valve, most casual observers would be hard pressed to notice any difference, although any engineer would soon recognise the refinements. Today’s principle remains exactly as it was from day one and the main changes have been to fine tune performance rather than to alter working principles. Soon after its invention the trials of the Smart-valve were widened to encompass hydroponic with results being little short of spectacular although to many hydroponic enthusiasts, the results have been at variance with their fundamental beliefs about how a hydroponic system operates.
It is small enough to fit on the palm of your hand, mainly plastic construction and consists of two chambers. Its very nature makes it a comparatively low cost item which is very important because its low cost is what makes it practical to have a valve for each individual container and this is the very crux of the system’s versatility. It has several patents filed as many of the world’s main growing countries and the exact details of its operation are ones that we do not freely reveal. It is different to the conventional ball cock type of float valve because it allows total reduction of the fluid level before it refills. It is a real revolution in the way it allows water to be applied.
When connected to a water supply (which can be from either pressure reduced mains or tank) the valve opens to allow water to enter the bottom of the growing container to a pre determined and pre set depth (usually 30~35mm). The valve then closes and will permit no further water to enter the container until all the original supply has been conveyed from the water chamber to the pot and consequently to the plant. This absorption is achieved by capillary action that naturally occurs in the growing medium. Once the water has been absorbed to the extent that the film of water under the valve has gone, the valve re-opens and another supply of water enters the growing container. This is how the damp and drying out cycle occurs.