Understanding Equipment for Vertical Farms
Equipment for vertical farms has come a long way in the past couple of decades. Whether you are growing food crops or cannabis, your choices of cultivation equipment are critical to the success of your vertical farming operation.
For indoor growers, cultivation technology not only affects the overhead of your operation but also influences operating costs – especially concerning electricity. More importantly, in choosing the correct vertical farming technology, you will create the optimal environment for plant growth. When it comes time to harvest, careful choices during the planning and acquisition phase will payout big time with your bottom line.
For those of you curious about the inner workings of modern indoor gardens, M&F Talent wanted to introduce the most important equipment choices for vertical farms.
No matter what type of crops you are producing at your vertical farm, LED lights are the best choice for this type of indoor gardening.
When compared to other popular grow lights such as HPS lights, LEDs do not produce very much heat when operated. Therefore, LED lights are the perfect match for the tight confines of stacked shelving in vertical farms. Please note, it would be impossible to run a vertical farm with HPS or MH lights. They would produce far too much heat for such a tight space.
While LED lights are expensive to purchase, they use far less electricity than other popular grow lights. Even more, they run for an extremely long time and don’t need to be replaced often. As such, LED lights quickly pay themselves off when used on a commercial scale.
Notable example: Fluence Bioengineering SPYDR 2 Series
When growing plants indoors, your primary goal is to mimic the outdoor conditions where your target crop thrives. The achieve the ideal environmental equilibrium, vertical farms utilize a variety of environmental control technologies. These different pieces of equipment work in unison to regulate heat, humidity, and CO2 levels within a vertical farm.
Common types of environmental controls include:
- HVAC systems
- Environmental controllers (brains)
- Carbon filters
- Inline fans
- Garden management software
- Humidifiers and Dehumidifiers
Your choice of environmental control technology will change with the size and scope of your operation. Even more, you must account for the demands of the region within which you are setting up your vertical farm.
Notable example: Link4 iPonic Commercial Controller
Beyond lighting and environmental considerations, how you are going to water and feed your plants is the next critical thing to figure out for your vertical farm. Modern irrigation systems are set up to work with both recirculating and drain-to-waste hydroponic setups. Similarly, vertical farms oftentimes integrate fertigation systems with container gardens.
According to the Growspan website, “Fertigation is simply the practice of applying fertilizer via an irrigation system. Utilizing a system allows growers to reduce labor, and the dissolved nutrients that are distributed throughout the system are easily directed at and absorbed by the crops, so there is less waste. By integrating fertigation into an operation, growers are able to improve their yields and boost their profits.” Importantly, fertigation gives you precision control of watering, while also greatly reducing labors costs with automation.
Notable example: Dosatron Technology
Vertical Grow Racks
Vertical grow racks provide the infrastructure for vertical farming operations. With vertical grow racks, you can grow rows of crops stacked on top of one another. Due to these ingenious setups, vertical farming operations are the most spacially efficient type of agriculture in the world!
Vertical grow racks are often built on wheels or rollers so they can be moved. With movable racks, rows of crops can be positioned so workers can closely inspect plants. Doing so gives you the ability to carefully comb over your crops for pathogens, bugs, diseases, and deficiencies.
The best vertical grow racks are designed specifically for vertical farming and can handle the pressures of an indoor garden without rusting or deteriorating.
Notable example: Pipp Horticulture Mobile Storage Systems
Talk to M&F Talent Today!
The recruiters at Mac & Fulton Talent Partners have worked with a number of notable clients in the vertical farming space. Moreover, we have a highly skilled candidate pool in the hydroponic product space.