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CAP system by Magif

Italy: Orchard cover revolution

"It is still a prototype, but it works," explains Angelo Cappi, founder and CEO of Magif. He is talking about the CAP system, a unique covering system developed, patented and built by himself together with his son Andrea and Roberto Luscardo, co-founder of the company.

A rendering of an orchard covered with the CAP system.

The CAP system is different from the traditional ones as it is completely automatic. In addition, "the net is tensioned, so it is very robust and is resistant even to strong winds. In October, it survived Attila and its 60km/h winds."

The poles of the structure are alternated and the net is passed over and under the wires, making everything more stable.

The Cap system works thanks to two engines located at the sides of the structure: one pulls the net using two wires whereas the other holds it rolled up. The procedure is inverted to uncover the orchard. The two engines are synchronised.

Click here to watch how it works.

But to understand how this idea was born, we need to take a step back to three years ago when "we had to deal with the limits of the traditional systems on our cherry orchard. The two day delay in placing the nets led to a loss of 30% and the rest was affected by the stuffy weather, made worse by the plastic films that covered the plants," explains Andrea Cappi.

Vignola (MO) cherry orchard covered with the CAP system. 

"We needed a relatively cheap system we could open and close in little time, easy to assemble and manage and resistant to bad weather. The experience of Angelo Cappi truly made the difference, as he used to work for Fabbri and CMS, two important engineering companies," explains Andrea.

Another rendering of an orchard covered using Magif's system.

The first project was developed thanks to the cooperation of the Engineering faculty of Sofia University. "We looked at all existing patents and found out that there were no automatic covering systems, so we patented the CAP system."

There are sensors that detect bad weather and warn if the orchard needs to be covered. Click here to watch how the CAP system works.

Then the first miniature prototype was created and, once it was verified that the system worked, Magif tested it on fields and worked at keeping costs down, "because the existence of a new system can only be justified if it's economically viable. We also wanted to make installation and maintenance simpler: to change the net you just need to change the roll and the wires can be replaced in 20 seconds," says Andrea.

Sensors in the orchard provide the information necessary to establish whether to cover or uncover the trees.

"The system we installed covers 90 metres, but I want to reach 200. For bigger lengths, we will use intermediate engines. From what we calculated, the longer the system, the cheaper the cost per metre."

Sensors can also warn when it is the case to uncover the orchard when temperatures are too high.

"With the Cap system, 100 metres of covering can be opened or closed in 8-10 minutes, whereas traditional systems require two employees working 60 hours each per single hectare."

A rendering of an orchard with the CAP system installed.

"Traditional covering systems are installed and stay in place for the entire year, whereas ours is based on the fact that it can be opened or closed according to your needs. This was possible thanks to Roberto Luscardo, who worked on the sensors."

The Magif team. Left to right, Roberto Luscardo, Angelo Cappi and Andrea Cappi.

"Sensors that measure the weather conditions are placed along the entire structure. Thanks to all the data collected, a 'head' decides whether or not to cover the orchard. By 'head' we mean either the producer, who can have a look at the data directly from home or on his smartphone, or a computer programmed to operate according to certain data."

The data collected by the sensors can also be visualised on a smartphone.

"In the future, we might also be able to install UV ray sensors or those that analyse the bacteria of the plant. More sensors mean more data allowing better decision making."

Click here to watch the CAP system in action in Vignola (MO).

Click here to watch how the system works.

Angelo Cappi – Fondatore & CEO
Via Vittorio Veneto, 586
Vignola (MO) - Italy
Tel.: (+39) 335 8324744
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