Reliable and durable

2019 Increasing Profits - Environmental Controls

Argus Controls’ ability to relay accurate data while maintaining hardware under stressful conditions helps Kube-Pak thrive.

August 27, 2019

Photos courtesy of Bill Swanekamp

An exceptional environmental control system maintains precise readings of temperature, lighting, humidity and other components in a greenhouse. As a result, plant quality and throughput improve, says Bill Swanekamp, general manager and president of Kube-Pak in Allentown, New Jersey.

“You’ll continue to grow because the quality of the crop is better,” he says. “So it’s the whole process that leads to increased profits, not just buying a computer system.”

This is exactly what has happened since Kube-Pak, a plug and rooted cutting producer as well as finished grower, began working with Argus Controls about 15 years ago.

The system provides a level of reliability and durability that, in Kube-Pak’s experience, is second to none, Swanekamp says.

“When you’re growing plugs and rooted cuttings, you need much stricter and tighter controls so that you can hit your target temperatures, your target cooling, your target light,” Swanekamp says.

Argus Controls makes that achievable for Kube-Pak, while allowing the operation to home in on specific controls at any given time.

“We have 11 sections,” Swanekamp says. “Each section has four zones, and then each zone has two separate heating capabilities — floor heat and overhead heat. So we can control every one of those independently.”

Growers can change their greenhouses’ controls using Argus Controls with any PC, he says. While running Argus Controls software on a PC, Kube-Pak has the company’s hardware distributed in boxes throughout the greenhouse. Subject to extreme greenhouse conditions, the hardware provides lasting durability.

“At night, we have 100% relative humidity in the greenhouse,” he says. At this level, electronics are likely to “get corroded and fall apart.” But not Argus Controls.

“It has just a different level of architecture in the manufacturing so that it is super durable under greenhouse conditions,” Swanekamp says.

In July, Argus Controls unveiled a new app, Argus Live, that gives growers the opportunity to manage their environmental control system while away from a desktop computer. Swanekamp previewed it at Cultivate’19.

“... [It] is going to run on a smartphone, and you get the ability to check in and get feedback from what’s going on in the greenhouse right over the internet,” Swanekamp says. “So that’s a very valuable tool. They’re still progressing, they’re still doing new things, they’re not just sitting on their laurels.”