Spacesaver helps a California cannabis grow facility maximize space, boost yields, and ensure employee safety.
For more than 45 years, Spacesaver has been helping businesses, the military, and other institutions save space while keeping materials organized and protected. Now Spacesaver’s innovative technology is being used by indoor growers in the cannabis cultivation industry.
One example of a recent installation is this cannabis grow facility located in the San Francisco Bay Area. Staff are using Spacesaver’s ActivRAC® Mobilized Storage System to gain higher yields and streamline workflows, without having to build expensive additions or construct a new facility.
Space is at a premium in the Bay Area, which is one of the most expensive real estate markets in the U.S. In this case, the cannabis business owners acquired a warehouse-type building in an industrial area, but even warehouse space is expensive.
Beyond real estate expenses, the growers have to keep the air inside the building controlled for temperature and humidity. The larger the facility, the higher the costs.
With these expenses in mind, the growers knew they had to make every square inch count. Although it might seem appealing to pack as many plants as possible into the flowering rooms, that actually isn’t a viable option. That’s because crowded plants inhibit air movement, which can result in the growth of mold, mildew, and disease. Also, all the plants’ leaves need access to light for maximum productivity, and this is impossible to achieve when the leaves of some plants are shading others. Another consideration is the fact that the plants need to be carefully tended, and employees need to be able to reach every part of every plant. Tables need to be around four feet wide to allow staff to comfortably reach the plants without straining, and the aisles between the tables need to be wide enough to accommodate staff and their bins and tools.
The company’s owners worked with the local Spacesaver consultant to design a new solution using ActivRAC. The ActivRAC system is designed for heavy-duty industrial applications and consists of shelving or pallet racking mounted on “carriages” that move along rails installed into or on top of the floor.
“Our goal is to maximize our space — and we’ve been able to do it with Spacesaver’s help.”
– General Manager, Cannabis Grow Facility
Every Spacesaver system is custom designed to make the best use of available space. The rows in this facility are 42 feet long, and staff are able to move the rows effortlessly with mechanical-assist handles.
Because the Spacesaver system is so strong, it’s able to support two levels of plants, lights, fans, and irrigation systems, enabling the facility to dramatically increase its yields.
Spacesaver’s experience with industrial clients has resulted in a robust, reliable system that has already been proven to stand the test of time. For decades, ActivRAC systems have been moving heavy loads over long spans on military bases and in industrial warehouses throughout North America.
The ActivRAC system was initially installed in a single room at the facility, and the increased productivity in that room justified the need for new ActivRAC systems in additional rooms. In each case the local Spacesaver distributor worked with staff to minimize disruption and downtime, timing the new system installation to coincide with the end of each room’s harvest.
The new set-up features four-foot-wide tables that make it easy for employees to reach every plant. Aisles can be generated where they’re needed, and aisle widths can be adjusted. For instance, one person working with a large bin can open up a single wide aisle, while teams of people working simultaneously on both sides of a table can create narrower aisles on each side.
Because large-scale cannabis cultivation is still a relatively new concept, many communities are still developing local building regulations. That said, Spacesaver’s team has decades of experience in working with general contractors, architects, and local officials to ensure that systems are in compliance with all applicable codes.
“We went from 10 tables to 18, and now we have way more aisle space. That keeps the employees safe and happy.”
– General Manager, Cannabis Grow Facility
The ActivRAC systems have increased capacity in the flowering rooms so much that staff need more room in other areas to keep up. The general manager is encouraging the building owner to purchase additional ActivRACs for the veg room and curing room. That’s because an additional ActivRAC in the veg room will help the facility produce enough cuttings to maintain full capacity in the flowering rooms, and an ActivRAC in the curing room will help ensure that the drying plants are adequately ventilated while still enabling staff to check the plants during the curing process.