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...
Harvest Automation HV 100 Feature

May 27, 2016

Harvest Automation Robot Helps You Move Plants Without People

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 Greenhouse Production Market

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
Priva FS Reader

May 2, 2016

What’s New In Greenhouse Environmental Controls

Growers today are looking for systems that save energy, are easy to use, and can be accessed remotely. New products from leading manufacturers are designed to tap into these needs.

Read More
Latest Stories
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
Priva FS Reader

May 2, 2016

What’s New In Greenhouse Environmental Controls

Growers today are looking for systems that save energy, are easy to use, and can be accessed remotely. New products from leading manufacturers are designed to tap into these needs.

Read More
Sentinel In The Greenhouse Feature

April 13, 2016

Monitor Your Greenhouse Conditions Without A Web Connec…

The Sentinel system from Sensaphone provides 24/7 monitoring of temperatures, power outages, and other potential problems, in locations where connectivity is unavailable.

Read More
Philips LED Lunar Greenhouse

March 29, 2016

Philips Lighting And University Of Arizona Study Shows …

A collaboration between Philips And The University of Arizona found that using energy-efficient LED lighting in a prototype lunar greenhouse resulted in an increased amount of high-quality edible lettuce while dramatically improving operational efficiency and use of resources.

Read More
Priva Tomato Deleafing Robot

March 22, 2016

Priva Developing Deleafing Robot For Tomatoes

The deleafing robot, which is designed to mimic the performance of a human while being economically viable, will be tested and evaluated by Dutch growers later this year.

Read More

February 23, 2016

How Light Diffusion Works In The Greenhouse

Ken Aguilar of SolaWrap Films shares how light diffusion technology offers many benefits for greenhouse crops.

Read More

February 22, 2016

New Greenhouse Transplanters Offering More Versatility

New transplanters on the market offer flexibility in speed, plug tray compatibility, and functionality.

Read More

February 20, 2016

Hydrogel Technology Means Growers And Their Customers C…

Water and nutrient management are critical elements for quality plant production in the greenhouse. Maintaining the right amounts of available moisture and fertilizer at all times can be pretty labor intensive, but there are tools available to help you keep these inputs at optimum levels as efficiently as possible. Recently, we visited Evonik Industries’ North Carolina production plant for to see how one of these products — Stockosorb — is made, how it works, and learn the benefits of incorporating these tools in your own operation. Learn more about Evonik Industries’ Stockosorb hydrogel product on the Stockosorb website.  

Read More
Using cables in place of a solid belt, the Echo-Veyor design doesn’t cast shadows, so plants can be grown underneath

February 19, 2016

Echo-Veyor Has Made Plant Handling Easier For Greenhous…

Growers are creating improvements in a range of functions with customized plant handling systems. Several growers have realized efficiencies through customized conveyor solutions, by working with Cherry Creek Systems, based in Colorado Springs, CO, to install its Echo-Veyor cable-driven transport system. Designed to support multiple different tray types and pot sizes, each system is custom-designed for the individual needs of the operation. It can tie into existing posts or be built into a free-standing system.     The Echo-Veyor system has helped growers like Dallas Johnson Greenhouses and Rockwell Farms increase efficiency of product handling in a variety of functions, ultimately reducing time, labor, and labor costs, and improving job functions for employees working on spacing plants, pulling and processing orders, and shipping. Dallas Johnson Greenhouses in Council Bluffs, IA, reduced labor, saved time, improved its team’s performance, and saw improved plant quality at retail after installing its Echo-Veyor shipping […]

Read More
Metrolina Greenhouses keeps a 4-acre barn filled with wood chips, sourced locally from forestry waste and old pallets. The barn can hold a three- to four-week supply of wood chips

February 18, 2016

Metrolina Greenhouses Has Improved Heating Efficiency W…

Sustainability started to become a keyword in the horticulture industry in the late 2000s, when growers began converting their heating systems to greener options to save on energy costs and reduce their impact on the environment. However, there haven’t been many operations that have invested in sustainable solutions on as large of a scale as Metrolina Greenhouses at its Huntersville, NC, headquarters. Six years later, the operation is still fully committed to its biomass heating system and everything it entails.     Metrolina first fired up its Vynke biomass system from Belgium in 2010. The four wood boilers cover 95% of the operation’s heating needs at its 201-acre main location in Huntersville, NC, and Metrolina still maintains its traditional heating systems for back up and to provide flexibility of resources. Wood chips are sourced locally, with the majority from local forestry activities like wood harvesting companies and developers. The other […]

Read More

January 19, 2016

Tips For Cherry-Picking The Right LED Lighting Solution…

If you want to find the right LED lighting solution for your greenhouse, start with these tips from top lighting manufacturers.

Read More
Feature Image Cob 700 (NewLux)

November 28, 2015

15 LED Lighting Solutions For Your Greenhouse

Narrowing in on the right LED lighting product often comes down to considering your specific crop needs and growing requirements to see what works best for your application. Here are 15 LED products to take into account when choosing the right fit for your greenhouse.

Read More

October 27, 2015

How Dallas Johnson Greenhouses Is Simplifying Shipping

Two years ago, Dallas Johnson Greenhouses, a 61-acre operation in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and No. 21 of Greenhouse Grower’s Top 100 Growers, was struggling to get its orders out. With its range of potted annuals, there were so many skus that it was impossible to get enough carts into the shipping greenhouse, and the crew couldn’t get orders processed fast enough. As a result, the operation was consistently pulling orders until midnight every night during the busy shipping season, says President and CEO Todd Johnson. So Johnson got together with Arie Van Wingerden at Cherry Creek Systems to discuss his problem, and what they came up with has changed everything, Johnson says. Inside one of Dallas Johnson Greenhouses’ existing structures, the team installed a shipping system made with Echo-Veyors, the popular cable conveyor system designed by Cherry Creek Systems. The system was placed right in the front of the greenhouse, […]

Read More
Tidal Creek Growers

October 24, 2015

Five Tips For Successful Use Of Boom Irrigation Lightin…

Michigan State University Extension shares five tips to help growers use boom irrigation lighting more effectively to accelerate flowering of long-day ornamental crops.

Read More

October 8, 2015

Industry Standards For Greenhouse Lighting On The Horiz…

As the use of LEDs has risen among greenhouse growers, so have concerns about the best way to measure and compare the many LED light products across the market. As a result, the lighting industry is responding to a call for greater transparency and the development of standardized measuring and testing methods.

Read More

September 28, 2015

11 Products For Precision Greenhouse Growing

These new options in equipment, automation, structures, lighting and software are designed to help growers run their operations with efficiency and accuracy and at a lower cost.

Read More
Laura Drotleff

September 25, 2015

Growers Solve Problems With Precision Horticulture

My dad’s hands are covered with sores, nicks, scratches and bruises. It’s the ongoing reward — or drawback — of his ingenuity, as he’s constantly wrenching on equipment or constructing new innovations that will help him get work done more efficiently on the farm. As a kid, I would always marvel at his toughness, and how he would barely notice a new wound, shrugging it off as he kept working, driven to complete his work and bring his idea to fruition. He’s still at it today, and his hands tell the story of the many projects he’s completed over the years. I’m guessing many of you can relate, and your hands look similar to my dad’s. After all, ingenuity is the name of the game in this business, where creative thinking to solve problems often leads to revolutionary solutions that automate production, save labor and cut costs. That’s easy to […]

Read More
[gravityform id="35" title="false" description="false"]