New Innovations in Greenhouse Control Systems & Technology
Various greenhouse automation equipment like computer software and sensors are connected and used to collect data in the greenhouse environment to boost crop yields. This new innovative technology (IoT or the Internet of Things) makes use of numerous sensors linked to a central greenhouse environment climate control computer. The greenhouse sensor system have elements that monitor and control temperature, humidity, electrical conductivity, pH, carbon dioxide (c02), fogging, shading and read external weather conditions via a weather station.
The gathered information helps to control not only specific elements within the internal growing environment, but also saves time, energy costs and labour. We even include in our software an irrigation schedule to control up to 5 different feed formulas and expandable zones. Growers today are investing in greenhouse technology & controls to ensure that their crop will produce healthy yields and run a more productive operation which in turn means, better financial performance for the company.
Climate Controlled Greenhouses For Quality Control
Climate controlled greenhouses can help any grower get better at quality control or enhance crop yields, with advanced computer technology. You probably have heard of the importance of using greenhouse automation for your operation, but what does that mean? What systems will really help to reduce labour costs and give you a better return on your plants.
While it is possible to control the temperature of the greenhouse manually, the best thing to do is to install a climate control greenhouse computer to maintain the ideal climate, everyday for your crops.
Controlled & Monitored Greenhouse Climate for Optimal Growing:
Climate control of greenhouses is precisely what it sounds like. It refers to the regulation of the temperature and humidity inside the greenhouse in all growing climates to ensure that the crops can thrive and even live past their “season”.
But how do you control the greenhouse with a computer?
Grower set points are created within the greenhouse automation software and are triggered when things hit a certain level. During high-temperature climates, you can mist or spray water inside the greenhouse to bring down the temperature inside the greenhouse with automation. You can also take the help of a fogging or misting system to move warm air with the help of water evaporation using a fine spray.
When there is a temperature drop during winter months, you may use simple manual methods to heat the greenhouse. You can place a container with hot water inside the greenhouse or insulate the greenhouse with the help of something as simple as a bubble wrap. You can even use polythene to screen off only a part of the greenhouse.
There are other manual methods, but farmers who want to make the best of modern technology prefer to integrate the climate control system. This will help seasonal crops to grow throughout the year. A climate control system automates the greenhouse to reach the desired temperature as required by your crops’ growing process. The system monitors and handles humidity, shading, fogging, and much more. This is accomplished by the way of real time sensors, that communicate wirelessly in the greenhouse, via mesh WiFi.
Greenhouse Sensor System Principles
A sensor is any tool that measures some chemical or physical characteristics and alters the results into an electrical signal collected by the main automation computer and then this data can be easily read and interpreted by the grower. Automation can make growing easier with lots of instrumentation to be a more precise grower and get all elements feed to a crop that it is looking for.
However, user input is always required by you the grower to set limits, create schedules and create your own feed formulas, the automated software helps with controlling all the things you use to have to do manually, opening a vent for instance and keeping a close eye on all data values. If the pH of the water gets too high for instance, our software will trigger an alarm, before you would have to test for pH your self or by some other semi-automated sensor. With our Climate Manager™ all data and controls become centralized to make things like monitoring and user input easier for you the grower.
Control More with Greenhouse Automation Equipment
- Outside Weather Station
Ok, so we can’t control the weather outdoors, would be nice though wouldn’t it? But having some instrumentation on top of the greenhouse in the way of a professional weather station it great to read all outside weather conditions like temperature, solar, temperature, wind and rain conditions. These all effect the greenhouse and how you should make adjustments to the inside of the greenhouse, again all of these signals can be read, then trigger a control in the greenhouse, if the solar level gets to high, trigger all vents to open for instance.
- Temperature and Humidity conditions in all greenhouse compartments
Greenhouse temperatures rise under intense sunlight. This rise in temperature is referred to as “solar gain”. To enter the greenhouse, light has to travel through the greenhouse glass or plastic, in doing so the light loses some of its energy which is converted to heat. Without a cooling system, the temperature and humidity within the greenhouse can rise to over + 45 °C. To successfully optimize the environment within the greenhouse means countering the adverse effects of the external environment with the proper greenhouse controls and automation to ensure temperature and humidity levels stay optimal for crop health and growth.
- Fan, Co2, HID lighting, shading, fog and pad control
With expandable control and modules for our greenhouse control equipment, there is no limit to what you can automate or control. Fans, Co2, Lighting, etc can all be configured and controlled by our growing software. This means that you will have precise control over the internal environment to optimize for the perfect growing conditions for your crop.
Irrigation and Misting Programs
Keep your crops fed well on a schedule with precise feed control, our systems work down to the milliliter (mL) which means that you will save on both water and fertilizer costs. Most growers report that they save around 30% on water costs and 40% on fertilizer costs annually. This not only means big savings for the grower, but because of the exact formulas going out to the crops each day on a proper timed schedule, you will see a large increase in plant heath yields as well.
Irrigation Scheduling with Substrate Sensors
We have also introduced wireless sensors that measure and detect soil moisture to trigger irrigation feeds out to your crop. We can have up to 30 substrate soil sensors to measure temp, EC and Water Content (moisture) right within your growing medium. This is a great overall advantage to measure and see what is happening at the root level of the crop and make any adjustments in real time for better irrigation control.
- Multi-staged Heating Programs
With multi-stage heating you can bring up the temperature in the greenhouse with multiple heat sources and in stages. The name “stage” controller has an origin from the ability to stage the heating controls in multiple stages. Stage controllers bring two benefits to basic temperature control: automatic sequence of operation, and remote sensing and monitoring.
A single stage controller takes the place of several thermostats. Stage controls use a single sensor element to control both heating and cooling functions in a greenhouse zone. That sensor can be located among the plants while the controller can be located more conveniently and safely outside the plant environment for the grower to monitor and change input trigger values.
These controllers divide the actions of the greenhouse heating and cooling equipment into stages, called a sequence of operation. A typical example would be the following six-stage temperature control system. Half of the unit heaters are turned on at a temperature setting of 60 degrees F. (16°C) and in the event that these cannot supply the required heat, the remainder heaters are turned on at 58 degrees F. (14°C).
Call Us Today about our Greenhouse Control Systems
Are you interested in greenhouse control systems and technology? Do you need devices to help you monitor the your internal and external environmental conditions? Contact one of our grower engineers to help you plan and succeed at your next commercial greenhouse project.