What is a well-designed automation system?
A well-designed automation system is a fully integrated system. There
are factors that affect your grow and the yield of your crop, such as
watering techniques, fertilizer systems, lighting, venting, heating, and
cooling. The more of these methods you include under one platform, the
better position you will be in when it comes to automation.
Get a macro & micro view
Implementing these systems allows you to know how equipment is affecting different dynamics within the the grow, and you will have a macro and micro view of everything from what your horticultural facility is doing to how your equipment and mechanical systems in a specific zone are performing. Such a system will constantly collect data. Having this data will help you drive desired results as you achieve more sustainable practices and greater efficiency. Having the data integrated with what each piece of equipment is doing is also helpful. You can have pre-programmed parameters to know that everything is operating within their setpoints and operating conditions, so you can focus on the things that are not working.
Predictive algorithms are an advantage of a high-end control system. They consider outdoor climate conditions and anticipate what you need and where you need to be with your equipment, rather than you spending valuable time figuring it out. It allows for the environment to operate seamlessly and follow setpoints as closely as possible to keep it optimized over time.
If you want to chase a certain vapor pressure deficit (VPD), it is going to be difficult without a good control system. Powdery mildew in your crop can be very detrimental while stressed plants are more susceptible to this and other pathogens. Therefore, if your control system does not do much – perhaps opens and closes some ridge vents but doesn’t go into deep parameters like VPD – you’ll have a harder time optimizing your operation and reaching your sustainability goals. If you have a well-designed control system, you can measure parameters like your outside temperature and what the RH is. When you start to look at psychrometrics, you can determine what kind of equipment (e.g. heaters) you would need to utilize to bring that down to both your temperature and RH setpoints. Those calculations and decisions can be automated and made for you.
Automation in any horticultural facility will ensure a more efficient use of resources and a more sustainable operation. With advanced algorithms, users can determine the most efficient use of resources, including using lights more efficiently, optimal use of water, heating and cooling among many other items such as knowing when the equipment needs to be serviced to ensure it is working at an optimal level. Although there are many levels of automation, having a fully automated and centrally operated control system can elevate these sustainable practices to the next level.
To learn more and read the entire article submitted by Argus Controls to the Sustainable Cannabis Coalition, please visit the link below.