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The Benefits of Data-driven Predictive Maintenance for Commercial Cannabis Facilities

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Shayne Taker

Since legalization, cannabis growers have sought out better ways to farm to meet demand without compromising quality. While outdoor cultivation offers a lower-cost approach for growing, crops grown outdoors are much more vulnerable to weather, pests, and other uncontrollable environmental issues. Indoor cultivation nixes these problems, allowing cultivators to control every aspect of plant growth. Yet, many wonder if indoor growing is sustainable in the long term due to the enormous amount of energy it requires.

Reducing the environmental impact of production has become an important goal for many cannabis farmers. If you want to reap the benefits of indoor cultivation while reducing your carbon footprint and supporting better yields, data-driven predictive maintenance can help you get there.

Data-Driven Predictive Maintenance in Cannabis Facilities

Cannabis cultivation is a delicate business regardless of the venue or the methods used. In indoor facilities, smart building technology can anticipate issues before they become real problems. Using IoT technology coupled with smart automation software platforms, growers can implement maintenance strategies that boost efficiency and support plant health.

A smart building management system can:

  • Identify airborne contaminants
  • Adjust and optimize airflow
  • Monitor climate control systems
  • Monitor water quality to ensure healthy plants 
  • Help identify the presence of pests
  • Monitor energy use
  • Allow remote management

But an intelligent building management platform (IBMP) doesn’t just tell you what is. It tells you what may be. By continually assessing risk and predicting future problems, an IBMP makes data-driven predictive maintenance possible. With predictive maintenance, you can keep small issues from becoming big problems, better allocate maintenance resources, and minimize downtime. 

Common Issues in Cannabis Cultivation

An IBMP monitors equipment performance and building conditions to identify or prevent common problems in cannabis cultivation.

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Air Filtration

Cannabis facilities must have sufficient air filtration, with air intakes to prevent pest infestations and diseases from developing. Data-driven preventive maintenance is vital for keeping airflow optimal. Smart monitoring offers growers the ability to:

  • Automatically adjust speed and direction of airflow 
  • Monitor air filters and alert when changes are needed
  • Monitor air pressure 

It also helps growers control vapor pressure deficit (VPD), which has a direct impact on plant health. 

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Temperature

Temperature extremes are a bane for any plant. Automated systems help maintain favorable temperatures for plant growth and prevent heat-related damage. Inefficient and underperforming HVAC systems increase high costs and may be unable to maintain ideal temperatures. Worse yet, HVAC malfunctions and downtime can spell disaster for crops. Data-driven predictive maintenance allows you to identify and correct issues as early as possible—or prevent them from happening in the first place. The result is reduced waste, more stable production, and better yields.

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Irrigation Systems

Combining sensors with an IBMP can measure the flow rate within irrigation and fertigation systems and continuously assess performance. Data-driven predictive maintenance allows you to rapidly identify clogged filters, drips, and other issues before they affect crop yield or quality—or show up on your water bill.

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Pest Control

Preventing pests requires proper cleaning and ongoing monitoring of water and irrigation equipment to prevent contamination. While growers can schedule disinfection of their equipment after a watering cycle, smart technology allows cleaning to be performed according to real-world conditions, not an arbitrary schedule. Pests or molds may also be introduced through air intake systems. Though positive pressure keeps many of these contaminants at bay, vigilant maintenance is necessary to keep plants healthy.

Transform Your Facility

A smart buildings expert is your best resource when it comes to creating a solution for your cannabis facility. Buildings IOT’s end-to-end services give you everything you need to integrate and automate your building management system and realize the benefits of data-driven predictive maintenance. And those benefits go beyond better plants.

Saving energy isn’t about upgrading to more efficient equipment, it’s about optimizing the equipment you have. With our industry-leading solutions, you gain a new level of insight and control over how, when, and why energy is used within your facilities. With the guidance of our innovative IBMP, predictive maintenance isn’t just a smart way to support plant health, it’s a powerful tool to minimize your carbon footprint and meet your efficiency goals.

Buildings IOT offers the software and services you need to implement data-driven predictive maintenance in cannabis facilities. Contact our team of experts to learn more.

 

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