Link4 Corporation’s iGrow 100 Greenhouse Controls

Link4 Corporation's iGrow 100 Greenhouse Controls

A familiar expression is “information is power.” Link4 Corporation’s newest entry into the greenhouse environmental controls world epitomizes this statement.

The iGrow 100 series product line not only provides a flexible and powerful control capability for small to midsize greenhouses, but also features a unique energy management capability.

Major reasons for control automation are to achieve an environment best suited for growing plants within the constraints of the available mechanical equipment, to lower labor costs and to minimize energy costs. The iGrow 100 series product includes all the tools the grower needs to achieve these objectives.

Energy Control

Within the reports section of the iGrow 100 series are seven subsections that relate to equipment and energy use. These are return on investment, graphing, equipment costs, energy costs, equipment usage, energy usage and event logs.

For each piece of equipment connected to the controller, the user has the option of entering the appropriate power requirements. For example, if it is electrical, then voltage, current or power entries will be made. For gas or oil, BTU data is required. Flow rate is added for water consumption calculations.

Next, the user will enter the energy cost data into the iGrow controller. These costs may vary based on seasonal factors as well as time of day. The controller accommodates all of these variations.

Internally, the controller knows exactly when equipment is turned on and when it goes off. Each of these events for every piece of equipment is stored and made available in event logs.

Given all this information, the iGrow 100 series products continuously calculate the individual equipment’s energy consumption and the total energy usage. This energy usage is then translated into the actual costs based on the utility table that was previously entered in the program.

Additional Capabilities

Through the iGrow 100 series data logging and graphing capability, the cost data can be compared against a variety of equipment and set-point scenarios. For example, perhaps more passive cooling (most energy efficient) can be used in the earlier stages of cooling and the active (uses more energy) in later or even in the last stage of cooling. This may result in a slightly higher greenhouse temperature for a while, but the energy cost savings could be dramatic.

This is only one of many possible examples the grower can experiment with to find the approach that provides the greatest savings with minimum impact on the quality of the plants.

Keeping track of the equipment usage has other informational advantages. For example, fans need to be lubricated, fan belts need to be replaced and other preventive maintenance tasks need to be performed. By having total usage data, the preventive maintenance program becomes very practical and eliminates much of the guesswork typically involved.

The bottom line is that having a powerful and easy-to-use tool such as the iGrow in the hands of a greenhouse grower will unleash all kinds of great ideas for saving energy with minimal growing impact. The beauty is that this same grower will be able to affirm his or her ideas with real data.

Leave a Reply

More From Equipment...
Dramm TracFOG Nozzle Extension

June 2, 2017

Dramm Adds New Feature to Its Fogging System, Updates Online Forum

Dramm is now offering an optional nozzle extension for its line of TracFog PTO-driven fog systems. Meanwhile, the company has also updated its online forum to make it easier to find product solutions quickly.

Read More
Bellpark Horticulture and Visser Shipping System

May 31, 2017

New Greenhouse Conveyors Help Automation Become More Functional

The latest conveyor and shipping systems from leading manufacturers are designed to be more versatile and customized to any operation. Here’s a look at the newest models.

Read More
Irrigation boom at Cavicchio Greenhouses

May 23, 2017

The Road to Sustainability at Cavicchio Greenhouses

Incremental changes to reduce its carbon footprint have paid off in greater efficiency and public recognition for this Massachusetts greenhouse grower.

Read More
Latest Stories
Dramm TracFOG Nozzle Extension

June 2, 2017

Dramm Adds New Feature to Its Fogging System, Updates O…

Dramm is now offering an optional nozzle extension for its line of TracFog PTO-driven fog systems. Meanwhile, the company has also updated its online forum to make it easier to find product solutions quickly.

Read More
Bellpark Horticulture and Visser Shipping System

May 31, 2017

New Greenhouse Conveyors Help Automation Become More Fu…

The latest conveyor and shipping systems from leading manufacturers are designed to be more versatile and customized to any operation. Here’s a look at the newest models.

Read More
Irrigation boom at Cavicchio Greenhouses

May 23, 2017

The Road to Sustainability at Cavicchio Greenhouses

Incremental changes to reduce its carbon footprint have paid off in greater efficiency and public recognition for this Massachusetts greenhouse grower.

Read More
Argus Multi-Feed RM - feature

March 26, 2017

Feeding System Allows For More Precise Delivery of Nutr…

Argus Controls’ Multi-Feed RM100 is designed to help producers custom-feed their plants based on specific nutrient recipes.

Read More
Emerald Coast Growers Seed RoomTight feature

March 22, 2017

An Inside Look at Emerald Coast Growers’ New Seed…

Florida-based liner producer Emerald Coast Growers custom retrofitted and expanded an existing greenhouse, with the goal of increasing production efficiency.

Read More
Pic-O-Mat Vision system feature

March 3, 2017

How Growers Can Make the Most of Automation

A Greenhouse Grower Top 100 Grower says investing in automation can reap several long-term benefits, as long as you do so for the right reasons.

Read More
Visser PC 16 Transplanter feature

February 13, 2017

How to Find a Greenhouse Transplanter for Every Grower&…

Equipment manufacturers have recognized a void in the market for machinery that appeals to growers of all sizes and budgets. Here are some affordable options to consider investing in to improve your operation’s efficiency.

Read More
ISO Cutting Machine

February 4, 2017

Getting to the Next Generation of Greenhouse Automation

The most successful growers in the future will be those that are willing to accept and invest in new technology.

Read More
DRAMM PulsFOG

February 1, 2017

DRAMM: 75 Years of Innovation

This manufacturer and distributor of horticultural tools and equipment has a long history of developing inventive new technology that solves problems for its customers.

Read More
Botany Lane Greenhouses

January 27, 2017

Why Botany Lane Grows Poinsettias On Capillary Mats

A move to watering mats cut water and fertilizer use, production time, and labor for this Colorado-based grower.

Read More
Ever Bloom Robot Sprayer feature

January 23, 2017

New Automation Systems Improve Spraying and Harvesting

In response to increasing regulations on labor, Ever-Bloom Inc. decided to invest in new automation technology that also dramatically improves efficiency.

Read More
Bouldin and Lawson Precision Needle Seeder feature

January 19, 2017

How You Can Get More Precise With Your Seeder

Bouldin & Lawson’s Precision Needle Seeder is designed to improve accuracy when sowing small, difficult seeds.

Read More
north-creek-nurseries-gutter-connected-greenhouse-feature

November 23, 2016

How Greenhouse Technology At North Creek Nurseries Expe…

The new structure is the latest step in a lean flow efficiency process designed to help the company cut waste, drive down shrink, and increase profits.

Read More
greenpower-led-production-module-philips-lighting

October 18, 2016

Lighting Research Center Is Surveying Growers On Supple…

The Center, part of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, is looking for commercial growers to participate in an online survey regarding supplemental greenhouse lighting.

Read More
Chemical hopper

October 3, 2016

New Soil Mix Technology Generates High-Precision Greenh…

Advancements in soil mixers help growers achieve the highest level of automation and efficiency to create the ideal growing media for every type of crop.

Read More
Floricultura Bench Pulling System

July 31, 2016

Automation Saves Labor And Space At Floricultura Pacifi…

This Salinas, CA, orchid grower brings plants to its workers through automation that saves valuable time and takes full advantage of available growing space.

Read More
Harvest Automation HV 100 Feature

May 27, 2016

Harvest Automation Robot Helps You Move Plants Without …

The Harvest Automation HV-100 robot units use lasers and sensors to handle some of the most labor-intensive tasks in the greenhouse.

Read More
HV-100 Robots (Harvest Automation)

May 3, 2016

Harvest Automation Makes Strong Commitment To Greenhous…

The company recently announced it is selling off its robotic warehouse automation business to focus more on providing robotic materials handling to the greenhouse, vegetable, and fruit markets.

Read More