With the legalization of marijuana in many areas over the past couple of years, the cannabis industry has seen a massive expansion. Billions of dollars in sales are already happening in the U.S. and Canada, with billions more expected in the next couple of years. This increased demand means that cannabis companies have to start increasing supply as well.
One way in which cannabis companies are working hard to increase their product supply is through the use of automation. Here are the main ways in which industry professionals are using automation to improve their cannabis production process.
Planting the Crop
As previously mentioned, the demand for cannabis products is steadily rising. This causes the producers of marijuana to rush to find space and money to grow even more crops at the same time. But before the growing process can begin, they need to carefully plant the marijuana plants in ideal conditions.
This is often a time-sensitive matter because the sooner that the plants are in the ground, the sooner that the plants will be ready to be harvested and prepared for sale. So this is one area where automation can help out. Unlike a human worker, who is limited to working on one plant at a time, automated machines can plant several individual crops at once.
Growing the Crop
Marijuana is a crop just like any other, which means that it needs a very specific set of conditions in order to grow to its full potential. Unfortunately, not every strain of cannabis is the same and therefore, figuring out the ideal conditions will take a little bit of trial and error. While these conditions are not something that automation can magically find for growers, once the set of conditions is determined, automation can help them do several other things to assist the growing process.
Maintaining these growing conditions is of the utmost importance because if even one element goes slightly awry, it can jeopardize the growth of the entire crop. Luckily, automated technology can help them achieve this much-needed consistency.
Through the use of UL508A industrial control panels, cannabis operations can be constantly monitored for several different factors such as light levels, humidity, temperature, and others. Rather than have a human worker come in and take measurements every hour or so, the control panels can more accurately, and without fail (unless there’s a system error) do the process for them. There is no guessing with these systems because the complex algorithms and tools that the systems use allow thousands of measurements to be taken every hour. That way, growers stay updated on the current conditions in their greenhouse.
When conditions fail to meet ideal parameters, human workers can either overcorrect or undercorrect when attempting to get them back to the normal state. This could end up causing the plants even more harm. However, going to a UL508A panel shop to purchase UL508A industrial control panels for their Denver cannabis company, growers can eliminate the potentially damaging effects of human error. These intelligent control systems will know exactly what needs to be adjusted and by how much, and the systems are able to make the necessary changes.
The Yield of the Crop
Automation not only lets cannabis industries know the growing conditions of their crops, but it also lets them know how much the plants are growing. Human workers are capable of tending to couple of hundred plants a day, but machines can always do better. When measuring growth, there is a lot of room for error, either in the form of misreadings or incorrect assumptions.
Automated technologies do not have the ability to make these errors because the technology uses such a detailed system. By taking hundreds of measurements each day, technology can show business owners how much their plants are growing down to the minute. Knowing this information comes in handy when calculating the yield of their crops.
Automated software systems can even figure this out on growers’ behalf. Using various measurements and other vital information, the systems can construct a reliable cannabis production prediction and then use these forecasts to figure out manufacturing cost, the sales price of the product, and packaging needs.
Guarding the Crop
Keeping plants safe from other humans, animals, and everything else out there is very important to running a successful cannabis company. Having human security allows for human error to be made and requires that someone is always present and vigilant in order to catch anyone trying to harm the crop.
With automation, cannabis companies can use complex security systems that are constantly working around the clock to keep the plants and their equipment safe. Not only can the security systems capture footage of anyone trying to break in, but the systems can also send out alerts to the proper authorities. These systems can also detect more minor issues like a sensor or power failure that could jeopardize the safety of the crops.
Harvesting the Crop
When it comes time to trim and harvest cannabis, there is a multitude of automated technology that companies can use. Certain equipment has been designed to be able to trim a standard cannabis branch in under four minutes. This is much faster than the time it takes for an average human worker to accomplish the same task.
This equipment is even capable of detecting when a plant is at the ideal stage for trimming. That way, cannabis growers can rest assured that they are getting the most value out of their plants every time. Even just using automated technology to supplement the role of human workers can significantly improve the harvesting process. The faster that cannabis is trimmed and packaged, the faster that companies can get it into the hands of their customers.