Would you be surprised to learn 45% of current paid activities can be automated by today’s technology?
That’s according to research from McKinsey Quarterly conducted nearly six years ago.
The percentages are even higher now, with advances in automation happening at an exponential rate.
For areas like Michigan, there’s a unique opportunity to design facilities with cannabis in mind, rather than retrofitting a space designed for a different industry.
For growers looking to compete, automated solutions can be the dividing line separating profit from loss.
One area that’s embracing automation is climate control.
For large-scale indoor agriculture, precision temperature control is crucial.
It’s the difference between growing a crop in a tropical climate versus an arctic or desert climate — temperature and humidity matter. So, why are so many growers using technology scavenged from other industries?
Conor Guckian, founder of Accelerated Growth Solutions (AGS), speaks with dozens of growers each week and understands the struggle.
“The commercial marketplace is in its infancy with most growers adapting their knowledge from small scale and residential operations. To maintain indoor conditions in those small operations, standard air conditioners and small portable dehumidifiers were used. When trying to control considerably larger commercial operations using separately controlled standard air conditioners and dehumidifiers, growers often face a litany of problems.”
In Michigan, for example, growers have to consider outdoor ambient air temperature when choosing their climate system.
Guckian noted that most air conditioners cannot function when outside temperatures fall below 45 degrees Fahrenheit.
This is the kind of knowledge that comes with experience and is why professional consultation can ultimately save time and money.
It’s just one minor consideration in an entire ecosystem of variables to consider when creating quality cannabis.
Some systems are able to account for many of a grow’s major concerns automatically.
Guckian was quick to share that AGS can automate temperature, humidity, lighting, CO2 dispersion, and integrate CO2 safety sensors for indoor facilities.
Another advantage of automation is the ability to set parameters for operation.
For instance, consider the issue of dew points.
They reflect the true operational conditions growers require.
Vapor pressures in the air are the main driving factors for the growth of plants. These vapor pressures are not dependent on air temperatures and can be difficult to control.
AGS’ automated solutions calculate the desired dew points based on temperature and humidity setpoints and then control indoor environments based on those values.
Guckian noted, “Operation based on dew points is one of the main advantages of our systems, providing stability and efficiency.
This is especially important when conditions are changed from photosynthesis periods to dark periods and vice versa.”
Whether designing from the ground up or modifying an existing facility, automation should be a priority.
Lower labor costs, higher operational efficiency, and the ability to replicate environmental conditions for each grow will ultimately define the quality of the product produced and the longevity of the cultivator’s operation.