Innovation in the field of robotic packaging lines for greenhouse vegetables continues, with lower costs, reduced resource consumption and improved hygiene being the three main factors driving the improvements.
Equipment like the Q-Pack by Aweta, an efficient piece of equipment able to provide a positive return on investment, is quickly making an appearance here in Canada.
Regardless of what sector of the greenhouse industry you operate in, new technological improvements are coming along every day, creating a dilemma for many growers: where to invest to stay current? How do you finance the capital to do so? Loans can often be hard to come by and raising operating costs is never an easy pill to swallow.
This is where a strong energy management program can be of great assistance. Dollars saved by combining energy efficiency and cost avoidance savings can be tagged for larger capital outlays down the road. For instance, savings achieved through energy procurement improvements could be allocated to purchasing a new packing line down the road. This new packing line, in turn, creates efficiencies and savings in labour costs and packing materials, driving down the overall cost of production without impacting output.
As energy is one of the largest input costs for a greenhouse operator, energy savings can have a trickle down effect to all areas of production and the financial viability of the operation. Understanding how you use energy, where you use it and how much it is costing you is only just the beginning. Being able to identify areas for improvement and implementing change throughout an organization will not only lower your operating costs, it may just be the tool to enhancing your organization’s ability to adapt to the rapidly changing technological environment we are all now facing.
Lisa Brodeur is a quality assurance supervisor with 360 Energy.
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