By Marc Paynter, Argus Business Development Representative (U.S. & Western Canada)
A primary goal for any manufacturer is to ensure their products don’t vary in quality from one production run to the next.
The same holds true for cannabis cultivators: If your customers can count on you to be a reliable source for competitively priced, top-quality flower, your business will stand out from the pack.
The key to crop consistency is a stable environment. Automated control systems like those offered by Argus Controls, which has decades of experience optimizing commercial horticulture, are the best way to maintain prime growing conditions while keeping overhead costs down.
When you’re weighing your options for an automated environmental control system, a few aspects stand out:
- Fully integrated facility monitoring
- Real-time, automatic adjustments
- Data collection to replicate successes and identify problems
- Customer support and service post-install
Advantages of Cannabis Cultivation Automation
The customizable Argus Controls system integrates all commercial grow room environmental controls—lighting, HVAC, dehumidifiers—into one master control panel via setpoint, which is essentially the facility’s brain. The master control panel is responsible for tracking the myriad variables that affect plant growing conditions, making automatic adjustments, and sounding the alarm if something goes awry.
To meet the needs of individual growers and their facility requirements, Argus selects and preconfigures all control components. Argus provides additional hardware and software solutions for cultivation managers to achieve facility-wide oversight, along with hands-free automation.
The Argus system gives growers the ability to dial in their growing regimens for various cultivars and replicate their success, harvest after harvest.
For example, say you need to hold your flower room at 65 degrees and 70% humidity. When watering is occuring in a zone, the humidity will spike. To counteract this change, the Argus plant-based system sensors detect the irrigation event and proactively make nuanced adjustments, automatically opening vents and cycling dehumidifiers, which helps to avoid peaks and valleys in environmental conditions that lead to inconsistent yields.
How Facility Data Collection Achieves Better Production
The Argus system also enables growers to create programs for specific cultivars.
If your last harvest batch of a particular cultivar was on the upper end of the strain’s maximum per-plant yield, the Argus system’s data collection capabilities will show you what you did right so you can replicate it with your next crop.
In the same vein, if you’re switching from a heat-loving, heavy feeder to a strain that you’ve found produces better in cooler temperatures with lighter fertilization, you can change the system program to the parameters you’ve set for that particular cultivar to automatically maintain its optimal environment and feeding program.
The Argus graphing feature helps you analyze the overall impact to overhead costs when there are upgrades made to facility equipment or if growing methodologies change. For example, if you were to switch from HPS lights to LEDs, there’s a significant difference in the amount of heat generated. The Argus graphing feature documents the effects on utility usage for HVAC and dehumidifiers, as well as irrigation needs.
How Argus Controls and Next Big Crop Support Client Needs
Because the Argus system is highly customizable, it works for growers of any size, from boutique greenhouses with small footprints to large-scale commercial facilities that span acres. We apply what we have learned from over 35 years serving commercial growers and have successfully controlled cultivation facilities as large as 185 acres under glass.
Over the last three years, Argus Controls has worked with Next Big Crop to supply clients with the environmental controls and software they need to optimize their facility operations. We serve cultivators both large and small and are able to scale with our clients.
Argus preprograms the equipment before it’s installed, and Next Big Crop handles the design and speccing out a layout that aligns with the client’s cultivation methodology and production objectives. The goal is to have all Argus system equipment 90% ready to go ahead of installation, with just minor fine-tuning performed onsite.
All equipment is custom built for the facility it will be installed in and designed for scaling, which helps us beat our competition because there isn’t any wasted equipment. Each of our control panels can accommodate up to 25% expansion, so our system flexes to meet an increased canopy size.
The Argus system’s web application, Argus Live, allows cultivation managers to run their grows off-site. The app delivers notifications in real time if there is a mechanical failure, such as the temperature running too hot or if there is no flow in the irrigation system, to facilitate a rapid response.
We Never Stop Supporting Our Clients
At Argus Controls, our client relationships are for life. Far beyond the system installation, we are there for clients when problems arise, when environmental-control equipment gets replaced or a new cultivation methodology is implemented.
We offer a 24/7 crop threatening emergency line so even if something goes wrong on a major holiday, you have access to the troubleshooting support you need. Argus Controls also provide on-site consultation services throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Next Big Crop and Argus Controls work closely together to give clients the best possible outcome for their commercial grow facilities.
Next Big Crop brings Argus in early in the design phase. That’s helpful because the sooner Argus can work with architects and building engineers to define the scope of the grow and its electrical, plumbing and mechanical requirements, the easier it is to get a control system up and running.
Having a consultant like Next Big Crop that understands how to juggle all the moving parts of facility design and buildout saves you time and money. You won’t be purchasing equipment that’s not suited to your cultivation methodology and production goals. More importantly, you’ll be able to focus on your primary goal: starting production and generating cash flow.
Learn more about the future of cultivation in this webinar with Argus Controls’ Marc Paynter and other experts in facility design and operations: