Getting a grip on environmental controls

Ask the Experts - Environmental Controls

Argus’ Justin Jacobs discusses automated greenhouse systems that allow virtual monitoring and delivery of water, nutrients and more.

April 20, 2020

“If you can dream it, we can build it,” says Justin Jacobs, key account technical manager at Argus Controls, in reference to the company’s customized, automated environmental control systems for greenhouses. The company’s made-to-order, highly integrated systems include sensor measurement, equipment control, data-logging, alarms and more.

Greenhouse Management: What can customers expect from an Argus environmental control system?

Justin Jacobs: Our software for the systems is built around growing plants. There are several programming options to regulate irrigation, water, specific nutrient delivery, fertilization and just about everything involved in growing. Argus provides systems for large or small operations, and the best thing is, we generally can use most of the greenhouse’s equipment that is already in place, add our customization and fine-tune the whole system to each grower’s operational complexity, size, needs and requirements. We build a robust, user-friendly system and provide the necessary training to use it effectively.

GM: Is all of that technology hard for growers to get a handle on?

JJ: Once growers see the consistent results they get using our systems, they’re pretty happy. And they can monitor and control the system from just about anywhere, which is really handy — especially with something like the coronavirus crisis that we’re going through right now. With our system, growers can let the customization take over if staff is reduced — one of the real benefits of automation. If they have any questions, we provide any additional training needed on site plus have experts on the software who are available 24/7.

“We build a robust, user-friendly system and provide the necessary training to use it effectively.”

GM: Why is Argus a reliable system for growers?

JJ: For one thing, there is a lot of redundancy built into each system to prevent problems, plus there is an option for switching to manual operation. If any issues do crop up, we’ve got a highly trained team of customer service people who can make adjustments on the spot and trouble-shoot with a high degree of specificity. We have a very large, skilled team who know all the ins and outs of the systems. These systems are exceptionally serviceable, scalable and flexible. Because each one is custom-built, we can swap out parts if needed and adjust what is needed on the go.

GM: What else should growers know about Argus’ environmental control systems?

JJ: In today’s market, an adjustable environmental control system is a huge advantage. Many other systems are too stringent, but we can adapt any greenhouse’s business to shifting needs and trends. For example, with the current push for organic products, our systems reduce the need for pesticides and other chemicals. We can adapt to all of our clients’ needs, including system indoor vertical farming, for example. Plus, because of the precision of the systems in delivering nutrients, water, fertilizer, etc., growers can expect to extend their growing seasons and provide fresh plants year-round.