Can I tell you a secret? A little something just between you and me.
Often times, secrets are hidden in plain sight. Just waiting to be discovered!
What secret did I find? In order to scale indoor agriculture and take it mainstream, great scale must be built into the original design. No one was doing this! All existing systems are extreme Gantt leveraged where workers must go to the system and answer the fundamental question of, “Where did I put that tray of lettuce in this giant warehouse?” This does not reduce transaction costs from seed through harvest. In fact, it is no different than traditional outdoor Ag with much added expense. Fortunately, to manage this inferior starting point, system peripherals of lights, data, sensors and robotics have rapidly advanced.
While everyone is advancing the peripherals around the grow and knowing these will continue to advance, we asked a different question. What is the path forward? What is the foundation of agriculture for an urbanized planet?
If we continue to insist on defining hydroponics and agriculture as growing on land or some old greenhouse derivative we face limited answers. If however, we can ask first principle questions, we can change the perception of what growing is, as defined by:
1. What does a plant actually require to grow? Canopy space and a root anchorage. That is it. With this understanding, we can unlock new tools and find new answers. The value of a tool is in the hands of the end user.
2. Can we look at agriculture as an assembly line or a computer problem to solve? Why not? There are many parallels. Scale, replication, energy consumption, bandwidth and the binary nature of necessary biological processes to function such as water on, water off, light on, light off lend themselves to digital solutions. Plant biology is a binary grow: don’t grow. Why can’t crops advance through the system? Weekly, daily, hourly, or even by the minute?
The complexity of agriculture needs to be simplified. A linear Input/Output system is an elegant solution that reduces agriculture to the efficiencies of assembly line processes. In other words, if all a plant needs is a canopy space and a root anchorage and we could add movement, we can fundamentally reduce both the biological and financial transaction costs from seed through harvest to the theoretical minimum!
By solving agriculture in this manner, we as a species have a new future full of possibility instead of the limited answers of yesterday.
Such a system directly impacts the top 2 OpEx production problems of utilities and labor while substantially reducing system complexity and substantially increasing system output.
Further, to be viable, we had to eliminate multiple labor touch points such as propagation stations, plant transfers and consumables such as net baskets, grow media such as rock wool etc. For cannabis production, we had to eliminate or at least minimize SCROG nets and screens. We had to eliminate traditional water flow, bulky pipes and the inefficiencies of multiple pumps. We had to create a machine that was subsystem and peripheral neutral as end users should be able to use whatever OEM equipment they want. The system needed some Henry Ford. We had to have movement to be high throughput. Something that hasn’t existed before. Our mantra became in situ seed, grow and harvest. No compromise. The foundation had to be stand alone profitable at the starting line, in it’s purest form, before adding system complexity. In other words, to be legacy free we had to get rid of mostly everything except the modern peripherals around the grow! In solving this, we contribute something to the human cause and make producers’ lives as easy as possible.We think you will like what we’ve created. X is the new foundation to which advanced peripherals belong.
The AutoCrop™ foundation in the hands of professionals becomes a precision instrument. A producer gets to discover the best uses and recipes for the new tools of a production line, the RZE™, the AirFrames™, precision aeroponics and directed phototropism. When the AutoCrop system becomes tuned with today’s best practices, it will continue to open new paths forward and teach us it’s true capabilities for generations to come.
- Maximal utilization of volumetric space.
- Foundation: Ultralight, modular and scalable system architecture: the machine is literally 80% air. Units can be added or removed from the production line as producer efficiencies increase.
- EZRail™: Production line field movement and system access.
- Vertical Field Architecture: Designed by crop class.
- Sealed and pressurized system enclosure: System architecture is hostile to pests and pathogens.
- MegaFarm I/O High Volume Continuous Production Lines : Throughput : Crops advance through system from seed to harvest on the EZRail™. Minimal human labor. By the week, day, hour or minute. 188.8.131.525.
- No traditional consumables. No nets. No pots. No poly bonded plugs. No peat. No rock wool. No screen. No silliness here. No kidding.
- Canopy micro environments: By each crop stage. Fully enclosed. No photons are lost, gases are customized and system is pressurized.
- AutoCrop™ Precision AeroPonics with pneumatic delivery. Awesome sauce. Custom gas recipes.
- Multiple crop classes: Currently offered: Tomatoes, cannabis, plant proteins.
- VPT™: Vertical Propagation Technology: In situ seeding, seedling and clones.
- RZE™: Root Zone Environment: The 4th controlled grow zone.
- AirFrames™: Separate the grow from the macro environment. Granular, per leaf gasflow. Custom gas recipes.
- Directed Phototropism: Granular per leaf photon delivery. Lights become where needed, when needed precision instruments and non invasive tooling replacing or minimizing traditional labor intensive SCROG screens and labor steps throughout the grow.
- UFM™: Universal Field Mount: By crop class. The vertical fields move through the system. Additional tooling is mounted directly to the field. Trellis, large canopy supports, Directed phototropism SCROG supports, vines, potato supports, etc.
- Sub system neutral: Use any OEM you like.
- Harvest: one and done or selective harvest. Harvest for greens and herbs utilizes gravity. Greens simply fall gently into distribution bins. Peas and beans go to further processing.
- Zero waste: system output remainder is plant material. Compost is a revenue stream.