COVER

Lessons Learned – Best Practices For Multi-Tier Cannabis Cultivation Speaker Session at Cannabis Conference

Lessons Learned – Best Practices For Multi-Tier Cannabis Cultivation Speaker Session at Cannabis Conference

Knowledge is Power!

Have you ever wondered if your facility is ready for that next phase in your process or if multi-tier cannabis cultivation is your calling? Our expert team presented at this year’s Cannabis Conference in Las Vegas, discussing lessons learned in the industry and best practices for multi-tier cannabis cultivation.

Listen as Michael Williamson, Director of Cultivation, Anders Peterson, Director of Horticulture, and Del Rockwell, Product Manager at Pipp Horticulture, examine the design of a space, such as keeping in mind room layout and how to incorporate your HVAC to have consistent airflow, while sharing tips and tricks on how to manage your canopy operation best and creating a harvesting strategy to stay consistent.

You will want to take advantage of this opportunity to hear from industry experts to learn something new you may want to incorporate into your daily routine!

Watch full session below!

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Harvesting & Drying Checklist: 10 Things to Know

Harvesting & Drying Checklist: 10 Things to Know

Drying Racks

Work Smarter, Not Harder!

In a vertical, multi-tier farm, efficient and effective harvesting and drying practices are essential for maximizing productivity and maintaining the quality of cannabis crops. This blog post will explore some best practices that can be implemented to optimize these processes and ensure successful outcomes in a vertical farming environment.

1. Prune Excessive Foliage

During the last week of the flowering stage, remove the majority of fan leaves and excess foliage while leaving the bud sites undisturbed. By doing this before harvest day, you minimize labor tasks and make the process more manageable. Additionally, it promotes better airflow and a more consistent moisture removal rate throughout the drying room.

2. Pre-Harvest Preparations

One harvest method many growers have found useful is to dim the lights and cease irrigation events approximately 24-36 hours prior to cutting the plants down. By leveraging transpiration during this period, growers can jumpstart the drying process and reduce the load on the HVAC system in the dry room during the initial stages of drying. This method also reduces the overall wet weight of the harvest, including the plant and its substrate, resulting in cost savings and a faster harvest process (i.e. less physical weight for your staff to move from the upper tiers).

3. Minimizing Touches & Transfers

Every touch and transfer increases the risk of product damage, degradation, and contamination. Minimizing unnecessary handling and movement of plants is essential. Aim to complete the harvest and transfer of a single crop into a designated drying room within a day to maximize efficiency and preserve product quality.

4. Utilize Modular Dry Carts

Invest in modular dry carts that facilitate the transfer of plants from the flowering area to the dry room. These carts simplify the movement process, minimize plant damage, and maintain organization within the facility.

5. Choosing the Right Load-In Strategy

Evaluate the benefits of both single load-in and continual load-in strategies. While a single load-in approach (one harvest batch into a single drying room) provides better control over the drying environment and consistency, continual load-in strategies (multiple harvest batches into the same drying room) can support continuous production. A single load-in approach is preferable but choose the strategy that aligns best with your facility’s goals and available resources.

6. Whole Plant vs. Hook n’ Hang

Regardless of the drying method chosen—whole plant or “hook-and-hang”—maintaining consistent plant spacing is vital for even drying. Initially, the drying space may appear crowded, but as moisture content decreases, sufficient spacing is created, allowing for efficient drying and airflow. Whole plant hanging is the preferred method by most growers as it tends to result in a higher quality product, reduced labor tasks on harvest day, and simplifies track-and-trace compliance duties.

7. Maintaining a Controlled Drying Environment

Invest in a properly sized HVAC system with sufficient latent load sizing to remove moisture effectively. The drying rate is influenced by factors such as the total wet weight of the harvest, room temperature, dehumidification capacity, airflow, and time. Increase room temperatures slightly (HVAC systems and dehumidifiers remove more moisture at higher temperatures) if the drying rate is too slow but be cautious to avoid excessive heat that may lead to terpene loss. To preserve product integrity, keep the dry room door closed and lights off as much as possible. Minimize unnecessary entries into the room, allowing for a consistent and undisturbed drying environment.

8. Moisture Content & Water Activity

Tracking moisture content (MC%) and water activity (Aw) levels is a great way to standardize your drying process, reduce your risk of product loss, and maximize your revenue. In the early stages of the drying process, the goal is to get your crop’s water activity below 0.65 to reduce the risk of pathogen proliferation and product loss. Use these readings to fine-tune and optimize your HVAC setpoints, either increasing or decreasing your drying rate by modulating temperature.

9. Achieving the Desired Moisture Content

Target a moisture content between 10-14% for optimal product quality and smoking experience. This range ensures proper drying while preserving terpene profiles and cannabinoid potency. It is a delicate balance; higher moisture contents increase the total sellable weight of your harvest while slightly lower moisture contents increase the total cannabinoid potency on your lab results (less water weight per gram).

10. Minimize the Mess

Harvesting and drying cannabis can be a messy process, but taking certain precautions can help minimize the mess and maintain cleanliness within your cultivation facility. For example, when the drying process is complete, it is best to “buck” or remove buds from stems directly in the dry room. By doing so, you confine the mess to a room that is already in need of cleaning, rather than creating a mess in another clean area of the facility. This approach simplifies cleanup and reduces the risk of cross-contamination between different cultivation spaces. Educate your staff on the importance of maintaining cleanliness during the drying process. Provide training on proper handling techniques, emphasizing the need to work carefully and avoid unnecessary spills or messes. Encourage team members to clean up any spills promptly and maintain a tidy workspace throughout the drying process.

Anders Peterson

About Anders Peterson

Anders is a Cannabis Operations Specialist at Pipp and helps integrate mobile vertical racks and VAS airflow systems into facility designs. He is a leader in indoor CEA facility design and operation, with an academic background in cell and molecular biology and over 10 years of cannabis industry experience.

At 21 years old, Anders co-founded his first legal Prop 215 cannabis company, which manufactured solventless concentrates. He was also one of the first wholesalers of hash rosin in the California medical market and co-founded one of the first medical cannabis dispensaries in Arkansas.

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Untitled design (4)

Room Generator : Design Your Space!

Room Generator : Design Your Space!

Trulieve

Is a Vertical Farm in Your Future?

We are excited to announce our NEW Room Generator Tool! 

Pipp’s new Room Generator is a game-changer for the horticulture industry, allowing cultivators to see their indoor vertical farm in 3-D! The new technology offers a highly interactive experience that gives growers an in-depth understanding of the benefits of going vertical with Pipp Horticulture’s Mobile Vertical Racking Solutions.

With the Room Generator, cultivators can customize their indoor vertical farm by simply inputting the room dimensions, selecting the equipment specifications such as lights, airflow, and tray type, and entering grow information.

They can also adjust the size of their farm and experiment with different configurations to find the perfect setup for their needs. The room generator allows you to build up to 10 rooms and provides a detailed ROI report!

Want to Give It a Try?

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Pipp Horticulture at Culta in Maryland

10 Do’s & Don’ts for Your Grow Room

10 Do’s & Don’ts for Your Grow Room

Pipp Horticulture at Culta in Maryland

Let’s Get Started!

Are you new to the industry, looking for tips for your upcoming grow room, or considering converting your single-tier setup to a multi-tiered vertical farm? Below we have put together a list of Do’s and Don’ts to follow for your grow room, so you don’t have to! We’re here to help make sense of all the available information and help you better understand the best practices to implement in your grow room.

1. Canopy Footprint

Do: Know Your Canopy Footprint

When first considering starting your own grow room, you must understand how much space you have. Do you have enough veg space to feed your flowering rooms? Can you meet your production goals? Most of the equipment in your grow room is sized based on your canopy footprint per room, while cultivation KPI metrics are also based on the canopy footprint. You can gain canopy square footage without sacrificing quality using mobile vertical grow racking systems. Learn more about gaining canopy square footage without sacrificing quality!

Don’t: Just Think About Plant Count

While plant count is essential, it can vary. The canopy footprint (or total bench area) will never change; it is constant. You can start thinking about canopy footprint instead of plant count or how many pounds per light.

 

2. Utilities

Do: Ensure You Have the Proper Utility Infrastructure to Support Your Build-Out

Ensuring you have the proper utility infrastructure to support your build-out will help avoid delays with adequate planning. If you need the appropriate utility infrastructure, engage with your local utility to estimate the timeline and cost of upgrading the utility services to your facility. You’ll want to write this one down, as this can be one of the most common delays for a new build!

Don’t: Assume

Assuming your new property has enough power, gas, and water to run your multi-tier grow facility will only cause delays. Your building will likely need the appropriate utility services to support your new facility. Run estimates! Running estimates before purchasing a new property can help estimate your utility usage and begin the utility upgrade process earlier than later. Running calculations will ensure limited delays for your new grow room. 

3. Budget

Do: Budget Appropriately

Cultivation facilities can be expensive, especially when new to the industry. Investing in the appropriate technologies (high CapEx) results in lower operating costs (OpEx). Lower production price means you will remain competitive as a cultivation business in market compression. Investing in vertical farming can also be a higher upfront cost. However, this higher upfront cost compared to single-level growing sets you up for success with a lower production cost for your facility’s life. Read more about the pros and cons of vertical farming!

Don’t: Cut Corners on Your Build-Out

Growers will forever be sacrificing yield, quality, consistency, and efficiency. To survive in today’s indoor cannabis market, you must invest in efficient technologies and reduce your cost per pound. The right facility design and budget can ensure you remain competitive for years to come.

 

4. Multi-Tier Growing

Do: Consider Multi-Tier

The time is now to convert to vertical farming, especially in a multi-tier facility set-up. Multi-tier vertical farming can significantly increase production capacity and utilize square and cubic footage. It is an overall more efficient strategy for indoor cultivation and allows for fixed cost absorption. Before converting to multi-tier vertical farming, learn about vertical farming cannabis grow systems!

Don’t: Assume Multi-Tier Growing is Cost-Prohibitive

Investing in multi-tier may be a higher upfront cost to get started. Still, the ability to produce more products in a smaller overall footprint is inherently more efficient and cost-effective. 

5. Working With the Right Team

Do: Assemble the Right Team

Hire an experienced cultivator! Engage consultants, architects, engineers, and contractors with experience designing and building an indoor cultivation facility. Building an indoor plant environment requires unique considerations that even the most experienced professionals could overlook. 

Connect with the Pipp Horticulture team when considering a team to help invest in Vertical Farming!

Don’t: Go the Cheaper Route When Hiring

“You get what you pay for” isn’t a saying for any reason. Don’t assume you will automatically start making large amounts of money initially. Your return on investment will take time, and hiring the right team at the beginning will help make those profits faster. Investing in the right team will pay off in the long run!

6. Environmental Controls

Do: Invest in Your Mechanical System and Airflow Design

Investing in your mechanical system and airflow design can often be the most significant limiting factor for success and profitability for indoor cultivation facilities. Practical and consistent air circulation is a must for any grow room, especially in the vertical farming setting. Knowing your watering rates and desired setpoints can help you decide which system and design you want to invest in. Long-term success is limited to good environmental controls. 

The patented Vertical Air Solutions (VAS) inner canopy air circulation system is designed to work with an HVAC system specified for your vertical farm size and growing methods. The VAS system lets you control environmental factors such as temperature, humidity, airflow velocity, and CO2 levels, optimizing plant health and finished product quality.

Don’t: Invest in Easily Upgradeable Systems

When just getting started, think about what systems are easier to retrofit once you start making money. If the budget is limited, try and figure out how to save money on these systems up front and set goals to upgrade after specific revenue benchmarks. 

7. Lighting

Do: Invest in LED Horticultural Fixtures

Since adopting Horticultural LED fixtures, the cost per fixture has dropped dramatically. Almost every facility built today uses LED lighting due to its efficiency per joule, spectrum, and form factor. Plus, you can often offset the cost of these fixtures with utility rebates from your local utility. LED lighting can help indoor cannabis operations by optimizing plant growth at every stage of the plant life cycle. Learn how vertical farming technology can improve your indoor cannabis operation!

Don’t: Spend Time and Money with HPS Lighting

HPS technology can be inefficient at converting electrical energy into usable plant light. All the heat generated with HPS lighting requires more cooling capacity to remove. With vertical farming adding multiple tiers of grow space, investing in LED lights will be crucial to maintain temperature.

8. Employee Considerations

Do: Train Employees on Your Systems

It’s essential to train your employees to know precisely what they need to do daily. Especially with vertical farming systems, Vertical Farming requires different training than single-tier systems. Limit the number of specialty tasks per employee, and have them master a job before training them on a new one. Walk before you run! Labor is the highest cost of producing a pound; a good team who feels confident in their job and cares about the plant will result in a profitable and successful business. Make their day-to-day more comfortable; an employee who enjoys coming to work will do a better job.

One element that the Pipp Horticulture team has thought of to help allow cultivators to access the upper levels of our multi-tier Vertical Grow Racks with ease and safety is our ELEVATE® Platform System. One person can set up the entire system, and the ergonomic design reduces worker stress and the risk of injury or fatigue.

Don’t: Assume Everyone Knows the Process, Even If They Say They Do

Employee errors cause injuries and failures due to a lack of training. Grow facilities should constantly update their SOPs and ensure their employees are up-to-date on the latest procedures. The cannabis industry is a fast-paced environment, and things can change overnight. Have a method to help track employee performance and mold that dedicated and professional team to achieve specific goals and success! 

9. Cleanliness

Do: Keep Your Facility and Grow Rooms Clean

A clean facility means healthy plants resulting in greater yields. Design an easier-to-clean facility, and plan out drains, sinks, and systems to allow for more efficient cleaning procedures. Reasonable environmental control and airflow reduce your risk for pathogen proliferation. The worst feeling a grower can experience is failing a lab test and not being able to sell a harvest batch that they just spent 3-4 months and tons of money growing. 

Pipp systems are designed for easy cleaning and sanitization. Grow Racks have an E-Coat base layer, providing complete coverage and negating the Faraday effect, while a powder coat top layer provides anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties. Pipp also made the inside duct work more accessible by removing the end caps. Learn more with our Vertical Farming Tips: Cleaning and Sterilizing with Vertical Air Solutions blog!

Don’t: Be Lazy

Cutting corners results in poor yields, airflow, and unhappy plants. Dirty facilities without proper reset and sanitization protocols increase their risk of failing lab tests and often reduce their yields. Growing quality indoor cannabis is not guaranteed; the more work and care you put into your plants and facility, the more you will be rewarded.

10. Balance

Do: Keep in Mind Every Parameter, Metric, and KPI in Your Grow Room Regarding Balance

Balance is the key to successful grow room design and operation. Is your watering rate balanced with your dehumidification capacity? Do your lighting levels balance with your CO2 levels? Energy in = energy out. Growing indoors is all about energy balance; within every system and plant to ensure success.

Don’t: Narrow Your Focus

Every system and growth parameter within your grow room works harmoniously and synergistically. If you just think about your fertilizer solution or irrigation strategy, you need to consider how that affects every other parameter to avoid throwing things out of balance. Balance your plant process flow, labor needs and timing, genetics rotation through production, and growth parameters. Balance is the key to success. 

In Conclusion

Working with the Pipp Horticulture team saves money when considering a new grow room. Pipp Horticulture continues to grow and improve daily with over 50 years of experience. It has quickly become the industry-leading provider of Mobile Vertical Growing Solutions with installations in over 2,500 grow rooms worldwide. We have engineered various cost-effective solutions that can exponentially grow your production without increasing your square footprint, allowing cultivators to grow up to 5x more by maximizing their cubic grow space and creating more efficient workflows. Moving forward with Pipp Horticulture means working closely with our in-house professional engineers, CAD designers, sales support, and experienced cannabis operators. Let us help you maximize your production capability, reduce operating costs, and increase your overall revenue per square foot!

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Oakfruitland Vertical Farming

Everything You Need To Know About Vertical Cannabis Grow Systems

Everything You Need To Know About Vertical Cannabis Grow Systems

Cannabis Vertical Grow Rack System

Although the legal cannabis industry is over a decade old in some states, it’s still a nascent industry compared to other agricultural sectors with proven best practices and equipment. The processes, techniques, and tools used to grow commercial cannabis are constantly evolving to optimize and streamline operations. Due to this rapid advancement, many ideas, systems, and strategies are antiquated and becoming obsolete. 

Growing Cannabis Vertically

Still, one concept expanding exponentially and here to stay for the foreseeable future is growing cannabis vertically. Vertical farming, when done correctly using vertical cannabis grow system, can significantly increase output, standardize operations, and maximize the overall efficiency of any commercial cannabis grow operation. Implementing vertical farming and space optimization strategies throughout the facility can reduce per-unit costs, allowing operators to take greater profits or stay competitive in more mature markets with declining prices. 

If you’re wisely considering investing in mobile vertical cannabis grow systems, read on to learn more about the benefits and what you’ll need to get started.

Advantages of Cannabis Vertical Grow Systems

While traditional horizontal growing is appropriate in specific scenarios, it leaves valuable space emptying many facilities. Incorporating vertical grow systems into your operation allows you to leverage every inch of your grow room to maximize profits while saving you money on alternative production space expenditures.

For example, sophisticated vertical cannabis grow systems can support strategies around efficient, closed-loop water systems to reduce water usage and associated costs. A well-designed irrigation plan should minimize and recapture run-off, in turn saving substantial amounts of money on water and sewer fees by capturing, treating, and reusing water.

Other advantages of vertical cannabis grow systems include:

  • Reduction of per-unit costs
  • Increased horizontal canopy space through the elimination of stationery aisles and the creation of mobile aisles via mobile carriages
  • Reduced need to buy or lease additional property for expansion
  • Standardized and streamlined cultivation processes and practices

Necessary Components of Vertical Cannabis Grow Systems

Oakfruitland: Vertical Farming Equipment and Components of a Vertical Grow System

Growing cannabis in a controlled-environment indoor grow facility offers a high degree of stability and control when combined with the proper tools and systems, including vertical cannabis grow system. To better understand the necessary components of commercial cannabis grow system, it’s important to understand the variables of growing cannabis. 

These variables include:

  • Genetics
  • Weather
  • Light (intensity, spectrum, cycle)
  • Temperature (ambient, canopy, sub-canopy, media)
  • Humidity (RH, dew point)
  • Airflow (ambient, canopy)
  • CO2 (quality, delivery)
  • Media (type, volume)
  • Irrigation (type, frequency, volume, treatment)
  • Fertigation (type, concentration, schedule, mixing)
  • IPM (microbial, viral, pests)
  • Plant maintenance
  • Support

All of these variables impact the final product sold to consumers and contribute to the costs of goods sold (COGS), which all play a part in any grow operation’s profit margins. In other words, to have control over these variables is to have greater control over how much money your business makes. Utilizing vertical cannabis grow systems in your operation helps standardize and better control some of these variables when designed, installed, and commissioned correctly.

How To Set Up a Vertical Cannabis Grow System

Vertical cannabis grows systems can require more planning than traditional grow operations because you need to evaluate multiple variables on multiple levels that can all impact one another. When setting up your vertical grow racks and mobile carriages, be sure to consider the following:
 
  • Floor levelness
  • Ceiling height (including ductwork and any other objects hanging)
  • Drain locations
  • Door locations
  • Columns and other obstructions and their potential interference
  • Local municipal building codes
  • Multi-level access equipment clearance (OSHA-approved ladders or man-lifts)
  • Workflow and ergonomics
  • Product lead times
  • Installation 

Hiring certified and experienced professionals to help you design, outfit, and set up your vertical grow system is wise. Working with providers like Pipp Horticulture allows access to seasoned professionals who can review architectural layouts and designs and make recommendations for maximized space utilization, elevations, and integration with other components. Additionally, Pipp can provide grow room dimensions for maximizing canopy, workspace, and airflow.

Flora Terra - Pipp Horticulture Mobile Vertical Grow Racks

Tips for Maintaining Your Vertical Cannabis Grow System

If your vertical cannabis grow system is made with aluminum and galvanized or stainless steel components, there’s a good chance it will require little maintenance. Wheels should be sealed bearings, so no lubrication or maintenance is necessary. Wiping down racks and trays, vacuuming debris from the floor, trays, and tracks, and using ozone, UV, Bio-Foam, and Bio-Fogger to sanitize your equipment will help maintain a healthy growing environment.

You will also want to check and perform suggested maintenance on your drains regularly. Make sure to keep drains clear of debris and monitor your entire plumbing as fertilizers and other chemicals and solutions can corrode pipes and joints.

Safety is a big concern for any commercial operator. Ensuring your Team has easy access to the plants on the upper level of your cannabis grow system while minimizing their reach and fall risk is crucial for owners and managers running a tight ship. Ladders, lifts, and scaffolding can get the job done, but they’re more dangerous than other options. Pipp’s ELEVATE™ Platform System is a robust, lightweight, portable deck that allows cultivators to access the upper levels quickly, efficiently, and, most importantly, safely.

The Future of Cannabis

Because of the rising demand for recreational cannabis and the growing list of medical uses of the plant, the need for indoor-grown cannabis shows no signs of slowing down. The combination of demand, land pressure, and increasing rents will prompt cultivators to embrace more efficient cultivation solutions like vertical farming. 

Vertical farming techniques allow growers to maximize their output and consistently provide locally grown cannabis to consumers in urban centers. Vertical cannabis grow systems will continue to optimize and drive efficiency in cannabis and other indoor agricultural sectors while reducing inefficiencies commonly associated with indoor farming.

Pipp Horticulture is the leading space-saving mobile indoor vertical grow racking systems provider. All Pipp Horticulture products are made in the USA and integrate with other essential grow equipment like lighting, irrigation, drainage, and airflow systems.

Vertical farming with Pipp Horticulture can maximize production capability, reduce COGS, and increase overall profitability.
 
 
 

Call us today to take the next step and learn more about vertical commercial cannabis cultivation!

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Cannabis Conference 2022

Vertical Farming | What To Know Before You GROW UP!

Vertical Farming | What To Know Before You GROW UP!

Cannabis Conference 2022

The Pipp Horticulture team is no stranger to the Cannabis Conference stage. During the 2022 Cannabis Conference, Pipp’s team of cultivation professionals and engineering experts took the stage during the final day as session speakers! Michael Williamson, Director of Cultivation at Pipp Horticulture, James Cunningham, Co-Founder and Director of Cultivation at Vertical Air Solutions, and Del Rockwell, Product Manager at Pipp Horticulture, discussed the essential considerations behind space planning and design for a multi-tier indoor cultivation facility. 

During the Technologies and Solutions Session on Vertical Farming, Michael Williamson, Director of Cultivation at Pipp Horticulture, stated, “With everything in cannabis, it’s all about the little details.” Four main topics were discussed during the session when considering “What To Know Before You GROW UP!” Below you’ll find the key takeaways on how to improve your safety, ergonomics, and productivity.

Vertical Farming Space Planning & Design Layout

Mother Plants

Currently, we’re seeing many different trends in the cannabis industry, particularly around vertical farming. Everyone is used to double or triple multi-tiered environments for their clone rooms, but we are now seeing a shift from having huge mother plants to having multiple mother plants in a two-tiered environment. Typically, you see traditional cultivators with huge moms taking as many cuttings as possible, cycling through their mother plants much faster, with a three-month life span. When going from a single-tier to double, you’re getting twice the amount of healthy, viable clones. Cultivators are now getting healthier plants, more healthy cuttings, and reducing pest and disease risks.

How High Can You Go? 

Cultivators still need to consider the layout of the entire facility. It’s vital to support your flower room and the volume of plants while considering the design regarding your operations workflow. “It’s tempting always to go as high as possible and as long as possible,” Del Rockwell states, “but many growers saw a ‘sweet spot’ at about 32 to 40 feet in length. We see about 12 to 14-foot tall works for most facilities for shelving.” Del states, “We can go longer,” but you have to consider how you will access everything, how effective it will be, and what the quality of the plants you will get from labor and access.

Air Circulation

When constructing the growing area, you’re putting layers across the room with an HVAC design and adding circulation to create a homogenous environment. “Many of us in the indoor space came from single-tier cultivation, where you have a big open ambient space between the canopy and the ceiling in the room,” James Cunningham states while discussing air circulation in the grow space. James continues, “Combining all this equipment into one room creates an impediment for the supply air coming from your HVAC and for your transpiration and heat load from your lights to get trapped in. As the distance shrinks from canopy to ceiling, the grower will need to find a way to create consistent temperature and humidity in the space. By introducing Vertical Air Solutions to your growing operations, you’ll receive mixing chambers bolted to the outside of the racks with inline fans to pull conditioned and dehumidified air. You strategically supply conditioned air to each tier space, creating consistency and a dissatisfying microclimate through the canopy.”

Design and Mechanical Engineering

“Design and mechanical engineering behind your HVAC are very important in your cultivation space,” notes James discussing the difference between a successful and low microbial or low melt mold and mildew crop. Design and mechanical engineering are one of the most overlooked aspects of the process, taking into account the supply, layout, and innovation at the beginning before it’s too late.

Environmental Control Needs

Regardless of your approach to sizing your HVAC, growers need to understand how to supply air strategically to their vertical space. “To drop the moisture out of the air, you have to cool it rapidly to get the air to condense and then supply it back to the room with a reheat element,” James stated. Typical HVAC systems installed into grow operations exchange air only a few times per hour; however, Vertical Air Solutions expects 20-30 complete room air exchanges per hour. The supply and returns can make a world of difference in the performance of your plants and mitigating disease.

Genetics and Key Traits

Thanks to Vertical Air Solutions, “now I can grow any cultivar,” Michael reflected during the discussion with James about his past focus on growing only certain types of cultivars in a vertical farming environment. With years of experience, James states, “what landed us being fairly successful in vertical spaces was understanding the genetics and knowing what we were getting into.” In the beginning, running Indica-dominant plants that didn’t stretch too far can now work with any strain but also introduce the Sativa-dominant plants that grow in the lights.

Vertical Farming
Sozo Vertical Farming

Labor Optimization 

When thinking about single-tier grow operations, most are growing plants roughly five to seven feet tall, working on a rolling bench, and climbing a ladder to get to the very top. Pipp Horticulture considered this and “was the first to come up with a catwalk system that is seamless and easy to put into a system,” Michael states while talking about Pipp Horticulture’s ELEVATE™ Platform System. By incorporating ELEVATE™, growers no longer face challenges in a multi-tier environment. Employees can reach their level in a second or third-tier setting feeling safe and secure. Safety was one of the most critical priorities regarding design, flexibility, and efficiency. “One of the largest expenses you’re going to have over the lifetime of this facility is the labor expenses,” Del states. Anything to optimize and reduce the time spent on processes will be beneficial. When it comes to labor also comes liability. We always want to keep people and their safety first. 

In Conclusion

Shifting from a single-tiered grow room to a multi-tiered vertical farming environment helps optimize space and maximize profits. Subscribe to the What To Know Before You GROW UP podcast on Spotify and Apple Podcasts to stay updated with the latest cultivation tactics and industry trends.

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Vertical Air Solutions

Vertical Air Solutions – Dry Ice Test for Cultivation Airflow w/ James Cunningham

Vertical Air Solutions – Dry Ice Test for Cultivation Airflow w/ James Cunningham

Vertical Air Solutions

James Cunningham, Founder of Fog City Farms, Co-Founder of VAS & Director of Cultivation, shows vertical air solutions velocity with dry ice!

Vertical Air Solutions

Introducing the new dual 12 inch system that the team has developed for lengths 40 feet and longer. One major point to understand is when using vertical air solutions, you’re getting a system sized to the length of your racking. This ensures that you get a s much airflow as you could ever want at the longer length. Designed by a team having lifetime experience in designing HVAC in the proper configurations for HVAC equipment.

With the new dual 12 inch system at 65 feet long in racking length, the Fog City Farm team is able to create 200+ feet per minute, 36 inches below the system. The method is super efficient, consistent and you’re getting all the airflow you could possible need.

Check out the video below where in the vertical air solutions research and development facility testing some dry ice at about 5 feet below the system to really show how much air is actually moving!

Watch below for more information from James himself!

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Vertical Air Solutions at Tru Infusion

Vertical Farming Tips: Cleaning and Sterilizing with Vertical Air Solutions

Vertical Farming Tips: Cleaning and Sterilizing with Vertical Air Solutions

Vertical Air Solutions at Tru Infusion

James Cunningham, Founder of Fog City Farms, Co-Founder of VAS & Director of Cultivation, shows you how to clean and sanitize the HVAC system in your vertical grow.

Vertical Air Solutions

Cleaning and sanitizing has never been easier! You wouldn’t think that cleaning and sanitizing would be so labor intensive and time consuming. Pipp Horticulture and Vertical Air Solutions listened to the market regarding the need for a more accessible way to clean. The team has made the inside duct work more accessible by removing the end caps, very similar to how you would remove your registers on your HVAC supply. This gives you an ample amount of room to use a duct cleaner and clean the inside of the surface.

When sterilizing in between rounds, facilities can use any sort of airborne or vaporized sterilization system to sterilize your entire facility. The Pipp and VAS team can recommend products for this! This procedure is not only helping save cost and time, but also is thinking towards the future of your facility.

Watch below for more information from James himself!

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Elevate Platform System

Keep Things Moving with Pipp Horticulture’s Mobile Vertical Grow Racks

Keep Things Moving with Pipp Horticulture’s Mobile Vertical Grow Racks

Elevate Platform System

It seems like there is never enough space. With the high costs of operating a grow, cultivators need every advantage they can get. So how do you keep more inventory on hand when every inch of your facility floor is occupied? Look up. Vertical grow racks can take advantage of the vast amounts of empty space you otherwise would never utilize.

Pipp Mobile Storage Systems Inc. has manufactured mobile vertical racking systems for decades, and that proved to be the perfect launching pad for Pipp Horticulture, a leading provider of indoor cannabis cultivation racking systems and solutions, which debuted in 2017. Although the company’s national sales manager, Curtis Dadian, admits mobile racking solutions are not a brand-new concept, he is excited about the impact they’re now having on a whole new industry.

“The value proposition or purpose of mobile vertical racking systems has always been simple,” Dadian said. “They dramatically increase storage capacity within a fixed space, providing double or triple capacity compared to static [non-movable] storage equipment. This objective is achieved through the proper design and implementation of a mobile racking system.”

Mobile grow racks eliminate the need for permanent aisles, providing more canopy space for crops and equipment.

“Through the use of well-designed and professionally installed carriage-driven mobile racking systems, aisles can be created throughout a facility when, where, and as needed,” Dadian explained. “This eliminates the need for permanent aisles to remain open at all times while being replaced with additional storage equipment and increased capacity.”

Pipp Mobile Storage Systems Inc. has been in business for more than forty years. The company applied its experience, know-how, and operational resources to designing a product line, especially for indoor cannabis cultivation and processing, which now is offered by Pipp Horticulture.

“Pipp Horticulture offers a full line of products designed for and offered specifically to the cannabis industry,” Dadian said. “This includes our integrated grow tray offering, our unique cultivation racking system — which allows for full pass-through of required equipment such as airflow ducting or continuous trays — our patented [Vertical Air Solutions] airflow system designed to mitigate microclimate issues that can arise in a multi-level grow space, and our Track-Free system, specifically designed for the cannabis cultivator to enable easier and more effective cleaning between harvests.”

Tru Infusion

Because these products are not one-size-fits-all and no two businesses in the cannabis industry are the same, Pipp offers customized solutions to meet unique requirements. Customers are encouraged to take an active role in the design process.

“During the design process, our customers are encouraged to participate in the review and analysis, providing access to the full breadth of the Pipp Hort team including sales, engineering, design, and cultivation professionals,” Dadian said. “We ensure each and every project is a true collaboration, because our goal is to help our customers reach and exceed their goals operationally and financially.”

One of the new products routinely praised by customers is Pipp’s ELEVATE™ Platform System. An obvious drawback to growing overhead is reaching overhead plants. The ELEVATE™ system allows cultivators easy access to the upper levels of their operations.

“Having to service upper grow levels by accessing them with a rolling ladder or lift isn’t thrilling work,” Dadian said. “Welcome ELEVATE™! It’s an integrated catwalk system that is easily installed and just as easily removed, creating a full-length walking platform [aisle] for a team of farmers to more efficiently perform their work, row by row. This product has been extremely well-received and remains in high demand with both existing users of Pipp Horticulture Mobile Vertical Racking Systems and brand new customers.”

Pipp is well-positioned to expand and take things to a whole new level (pardon the pun). The company recently acquired GGS Structures, which offers high-quality commercial greenhouse structures.

“With the addition of the GGS Structures brand, Pipp Horticulture is now able to deliver the full range of cultivation racking and benching equipment regardless of the size of the facility, type of structure, budget, or growing strategy,” Dadian said. “We are extremely excited about this acquisition and have already seen how naturally these two brands complement each other.”

Pipp is far from finished innovating, according to Dadian.

“After nearly fifty years of doing business, we have worked through operational and logistical challenges, established proven partnerships with world-class suppliers, developed an international installation network of resources, and more,” he said. “We look forward to announcing the next cannabis cultivation facility improvement system and family of products, coming to you soon from Pipp Horticulture.”

For full article, visit MG Magazine

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Michael Williamson

Space-Saving Solutions to Increase Profits with Michael Williamson

Space-Saving Solutions to Increase Profits with Michael Williamson

Michael Williamson

Could mobile racking and multi-tier cultivation benefit your operation?

Cannabis Business TImes sat down with Director of Cultivation, Michael Williamson, to ask four questions on how businesses could save money and increase profits.

#1. What are the benefits of mobile racking and multi-tier cultivation?

Space maximization. Pipp’s mobile racking allows for increased crop production, as there is a single mobile aisle that can effortlessly move between rows when and where access is needed, compared to fixed racking or benching, which consists of multiple permanent aisles in the same space. 

Stating the obvious, increased crop production equals increased revenue, so every square and cubic foot of production has a significant impact to the grower’s bottom line.

Michael Williamson and James Cunningham

#2. What are the key features of Pipp’s mobile vertical racking solutions and how do they benefit cultivators?

Growers and plants are at the center of everything we engineer. Our systems consist of lightweight, corrosion-resistant materials. The grow racks are powder coated with UV-stable and anti-microbial additives, along with upgrades of other components to stainless and galvanized steel to handle high humidity environments. Our tracks are ADA compliant and can be seismic compliant with our anti-tip features and seismically approved anchors. Our new patent-pending TRAK-FREE™ carriage system is a single guide rail along the back of the system, which reduces cost of materials and installation while leaving the entire floor open for easy access for carts, ladders, lifts, cleaning debris, and improves GMP compliance by eliminating tracks on the floor. Our trays were designed by our in-house cultivation and engineering teams to make them easy and faster to clean so growers can turn over rooms in less time to minimize downtime and maximize turns per year. Pipp’s ELEVATE™ Platform System is a lightweight and strong (tested at 4x capacity, per OSHA requirements) catwalk system that allows a single user to set up in a few minutes.

#3. What is the commonly overlooked aspects of mobile racking and multi-tier solutions?

 

Choosing the right partner is critical. We have an extensive infrastructure of suppliers, installers, and highly knowledgeable staff to ensure all needs within projects are met. While mobile racking and multi-tier solutions are relatively simple in concept, there are small details— such as not squeezing too much canopy into a room to allow good working space —that are important not to overlook.

In-rack airflow is another challenging area; this is why Pipp partnered with Vertical Air Solutions (VAS) to provide an integrated airflow distribution solution that helps reduce microclimates while efficiently moving air through the canopy.

Appropriately sized and engineered HVAC+D also is a major challenge. When plants are stacked on tiers, the total plant count increases, and therefore evapotranspiration increases. Under or oversized systems can result in poor plant performance.

Mobile Vertical Grow Racks

#4. Can you detail your cultivation team’s experience?

Pipp Horticulture is the industry-leading provider of vertical farming, greenhouse, and space optimization solutions. We work with commercial agriculture professionals globally, to design, install, and optimize operational spaces throughout cultivation, post-harvest, manufacturing, and distribution facilities through the implementation of the vertical and mobile rack, cart, and ventilation systems. The Pipp team merges over 40 years of commercial mobile storage experience with our in-house team of horticulture industry experts with over 50 years of operational experience in commercial agriculture and seed-to-sale cannabis production.

 

To read the full article, check out Cannabis Business Times 

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