Automation is the Future of Cannabis

Lucas J. Wentworth  |

Image: iStock.com/gonin

As industries evolve, the companies within them consistently work to implement new methods that update their processes so they do not fall behind. Many companies have incorporated technology and automation processes in an effort to streamline these procedures. This result is that they become more cost-efficient, timely and, most importantly, enable the companies to maintain their spot in a highly competitive market. It only makes sense that automation technology will become widely adopted throughout the cannabis industry as it moves forward.

Whether it’s in cultivation, extraction, distribution or retail, automation helps cannabis businesses drive their day-to-day processes. On the growing side of things, automated practices can create efficient environments for cannabis plants:

Automation of cannabis cultivation through artificial intelligence is the future, on both small and large scales. Cultivation of any plant, but especially the ultra-sensitive cannabis plant, requires immense attention to details like proper lighting, temperature, humidity, nutrition, water schedules and levels, and many other factors. Many of these processes can, and should, be automated to avoid human error and contamination which could cause mold and other crop diseases. With automation through AI, there’s no sharp learning curve. For example, with Seedo's high tech grow units, everything about the crop is managed by algorithms. Once the growers have planted the seed, the unit's smart internal system track the plant’s temperature, its water level, pH level, and necessary nutrients are all monitored and automated. This is not to say that automation will replace skilled growers though. If anything, it makes producers lives easier. The algorithms provide growers with more freedom to experiment with genetics, terpenes and cannabinoids levels, and different growing techniques to maximize high-quality yields.

--- Michael Maman, CTO of Seedo, a company providing the world's first fully automated and controlled indoor growing chambers leveraging artificial intelligence.

Automation enables operations to become highly specialized. This high-specialization may be able to resolve many current stressors that persist in the industry. As Mr. Maman stated, in order to produce top-quality cannabis plants, methods of care must be exceptionally sensitive. The implementation of automated high-tech growing ensures plants’ needs are met. These units keep track of everything from the plants’ temperatures to their exact nutrient count. By accounting for each of these things, these processes become incredibly efficient.

Automating production processes with advanced technology also makes room for practices that produce plentiful, high-grade products. By implementing these processes, problems that are typically caused by human error are mitigated. Those who are working are also able to strategize more effectively before other types of problems arise as they are freed up from various points of the production process.

Without technology, growing cannabis is an extremely laborious and costly experience. Computers are essential for large scale-growers. You need to utilize at least some level of technology because there are things you just can't do or monitor fast enough. For example, the sensors we use are able to immediately adjust in real-time to responses in the environment so we can keep the plants in an optimal position to thrive. Sensors providing lighting readings, humidity levels to temperature readers and will control lights, cooling systems or the fans. These functions and more take a huge burden off of the grower. Growing still requires human monitoring of the systems and plants, but now instead of many people doing small independent jobs, you have one computer that can be programmed to monitor cycles and adjust quickly to changing environments. Automation definitely allows for less staff, better care of your plants, and the ability to free up time in-order to pay attention to smaller details at the plant level. Most daily tasks can be automated. Plus, too many people, equals too many potential errors.

--- Michael Sassano, CEO and Founder of Solaris Farms, the largest and most advanced desert cannabis greenhouse cultivation operation in the state of Nevada.

Throughout the cannabis industry, every process can be made easier through implementation of automated technology. Bigger businesses significantly benefit from automation as this tech manages large-scale production rather efficiently. Automated technology actually enables larger production because less needs to go into the production process directly by an individual. It’s not only large companies that benefit from automation, however, as smaller businesses and individual divisions can benefit as well. In retail, companies can employ automated practices to perfect packaging and labeling. Additionally, on the customer service side, these companies may install CRM software to maintain good relationships with clients. Automation can also aid in the extraction process to create desired products.

Technology is all about streamlining processes and making life more convenient; this is true for every industry, including cannabis. Growers aren’t the only ones automating though. For example, our proprietary technology functions to make extraction easier. We have the ability to extract at low temps up to the freezing point of ethanol, optimally at -90 degrees C; this completely mitigates the need for winterization. Winterization is an additional -and very messy- process which takes up to 48 hours. Speeding this up in a way that is still effective therefore decreases production time and overhead costs (less time producing more oil). Our extraction units are also mobile, so they can be brought conveniently right to the cultivators. By extracting at such low temps, you get a much more refined, golden, full-spectrum crude with most ethanol recovered and the high key note terpene profile remaining. Typically with other systems you have to add in terpenes (that are lost in their process) after, which is even more additional processing time and costs.

--- Bryan Hull, CEO of EthoEx, a technology company focused on production-scale hemp oil processing, full spectrum mobile extraction platforms, industrial scale fractional distillation/isolation technologies, manufacturing, engineering, cloud-based software monitoring, as well as analytics across all platforms.

The cannabis industry has made substantial progress since its early days. It has made significant strides in implementing proper technological-based practices to guide processes from cultivation to extraction to packaging and sales. Automation has only aided the industry by giving companies a chance to be more competitive in the marketplace, and it has permitted them to extend their reach into markets nationwide and around the globe.

Automation most crucially grants those participating in the industry with a greater ability to manage their time effectively. This freedom of time is critical as it can be used by companies to improve their product, find solutions to problems and achieve other goals that they may not have otherwise been able to develop. As with any large change, there are concerns that come with automation. And of course, not all of the cannabis industry will be fully automated; this will set aside space for those looking to develop craft cannabis. Even so, this move will prove to be an important step as cannabis legalization continues to expand.

Equities Contributor: Lucas J. Wentworth

Source: Equities News

DISCLOSURE: No financial interests in the companies discussed in the article.


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer. The author of this article, or a firm that employs the author, is a holder of the following securities mentioned in this article : None

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