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"Through automation, we are gaining control over waste"

Everything comes full circle at LivWell’s Warren, Michigan, cannabis cultivation site. From water reuse and heat recovery to recycling CO2, LivWell designed the facility from the ground up with sustainable cultivation practices in mind. The vertically integrated company, which also has operations in Colorado, strives to minimize waste at nearly every stage of the cultivation process. To accomplish this, LivWell relies on an automated control system that it first installed at its main cultivation facility in Denver, Colorado.

Crop stability, labor savings and waste reduction are some of the key benefits the company has achieved since implementing its first automated system in 2013 from Argus Controls. “We’ve been able to dial in environments to crop specific setpoints and control parameters in a much more precise fashion than we had been able to do before,” says Chris Chapdelaine, Senior Manager of Research and Development at LivWell.

The early success of the system at the Denver facility led the company to expand its use to other areas, including the Michigan cultivation facility, which became fully operational in 2020.

Dosing with precision
LivWell’s transformation toward an automated cultivation environment began with the company’s fertigation and irrigation system at its 200,000-square-foot Denver indoor cultivation facility. In 2010, the company needed a more efficient system to deliver nutrients to the plants. During the early years of the cannabis industry, many companies were finding their way through trial and error. LivWell was experimenting with different types of feed recipes to see which one yielded the best results.

Powering a Sustainable Future
As LivWell has grown, the company has expanded the use of Argus automation systems to provide complete environmental control at the Denver facility as well as the newly constructed Michigan site. This includes control of the HVAC systems as well as management of newly installed horticultural LED systems at the Denver facility. The Argus system facilitates dynamic lighting control so the cultivation team can adjust the intensity of the light over various phases of plant growth as well as simulate sunrise and sunset, according to Chapdelaine.

Conviron drying rooms
LivWell also relies on Conviron Rooms for curing and drying their product, in part because the controlled, horizontal airflow of Conviron drying and curing rooms ensure product quality, preserve terpenes, and prevent microbial formation. In total, the company has 20 rooms -11 in their Colorado facility and nine in Michigan- which are controlled by Argus. As with any Conviron room, these spaces include aspirators to monitor temperature and humidity. LivWell requested some additional custom-made mobile aspirators which are used to assess conditions at the bottom, middle and top of the drying racks to ensure consistent conditions on each level. These mobile aspirators assist in rack orientation when the room is loaded to ensure uniformity and consistency throughout entire dry/cure process.

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