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PMG Product Review – Ætrium-4 Commercial Aeroponic Bloom System and Guardian™ Grow Manager Software

Posted June 28th, 2017 by Eric Hopper in

Automation is a cannabis grower’s best friend. Not only does increased automation drastically reduce labor costs, it also creates a more consistent growing environment. Serious horticulturists understand that consistency is the key to large yields and healthy growth. This is why a company like Æssense, who prides itself on manufacturing the most effective growth automation products on the market, will continue to be a leader and revolutionize cannabis production.

About the Company

Æssense stands for the “essence of agriculture”. When the company was founded it was determined to solve three 21st century issues: the need for high growth yields for a growing population, food safety, and the conservation of resources. In order to solve these pressing issues, Æssense reduced the agricultural process to its purest “essence”. This can be seen in the Ætrium System, a platform that provides a sensor rich plant growth environment connected to cloud intelligence to optimize yields. The folks at Æssense believed this was so significant they modified their name to AEssenseGrows and put their vision in action. They created the most efficient and effective, fully automated growth system enabling horticulturists to produce the safest, cleanest, freshest and most sustainable plant production on the planet.

The Ætrium-4 (the heart of the bloom system)

The Ætrium-4 is a fully automated aeroponic flowering/blooming system for cannabis plants.  It encompasses a 17 square foot light tray grow plate and is designed to be lit by one standard horticultural grow light. Trays for the system typically host 20 plants in a Sea of Green (SOG) approach but it can also optimize the growth for mother plants, or for fewer plants in a state with plant count limitations. The system is held in place by an impact resistant, non-corrosive frame. The final height on the legs (without optional casters or rails) is 33.7”. The Ætrium-4 includes one dynamic nutrient dosing controller, the “Matriarch, a growth tub (an aeroponic chamber that houses the roots), and the framing material to hold the system. The Matriarch is connected to anywhere from 2-10 Growth Tubs to create a “train.”  The high level of automation is what makes this system truly impressive. This system literally monitors and controls all aspects of nutrient delivery from the beginning to the end with first-rate results. In fact, in production grows, each tub routinely produces 2-3 pounds of dried, trimmed cannabis flowers and one pound of usable trim material every 8 weeks.

Guardian Grow Manager Software (the brains of the grow environment)

The Guardian Grow Manager Software is the most important piece of the Ætrium-4 system and is the pinnacle of cannabis garden automation. The Guardian Grow Manager Software holds and executes a horticulturist’s grow plan. The Guardian can also manage light timing, dimming and environmental controls with the simple addition of AEssense smart relays. The Guardian logs and controls all dosing, irrigation, status, loading and management of the growth environment. It monitors CO2, humidity, NPK, pH, temperature, water levels and cleans the system when desired with

hydrogen peroxide (which helps avoid any type of fungal growth during the grow cycle). The Guardian takes care of the grow so you can relax.

A cultivator can execute their grow by selecting a grow recipe from the library and loading that preset template into the system. Alternatively, the cultivator can become a symphony conductor by personally designing their own symphony. Once created, the symphony or recipe is loaded into any target AEtrium System in any grow room with the touch of a finger. In this way, every grow room will execute the specific nutrient dosing recipe and irrigation and light cycle with consistency every time without a mistake. Single or multiple grow experiments can be conducted in one or many rooms on a schedule determined by the cultivator. The Guardian Grow Manager Software monitors all metrics and levels and notifies the user through text or email about various tasks, low levels, and/or urgent alerts. Any past grow cycle can be studied in the cloud and saved for future research or reuse. All in all, Guardian Grow Manager Software provides the ultimate automation solution for cannabis horticulturists.

Ætrium-4 Matriarch (10-Tub Doser)

Each Ætrium-4 “train” contains one “Matriarch” controller connected to anywhere from 2-10 growth tubs.  The Guardian Software reads the Matriarch sensor inputs and directs the Matriarch to control all peristaltic pumps for nutrient dosing, pH, and irrigation management. The Ætrium-4 Matriarch Dosing Base is where the nutrient solution is stored, measured, and mixed for the system. Each Matriarch can control nutrient recipes and irrigation for up to 10 tubs. The 10-Tub Matriarch sits directly under the lead growth tub and irrigates all tubs in the train. The Matriarch comes in right-handed or left-handed configurations as convenient for specific building layouts.

Ætrium-4 Train

Multiple Ætrium-4 tubs are connected together into trains with the Matriarch at one end. Each tub measures 42” x 54.5”. In larger rooms, the trains can be mounted on rails for easy movement.  For dense lighting canopy, the trains are pushed together. For service access, any train can be moved sideways to create service space like an accordion. In this way, room capacity can be increased by up to 25%.

Each growth tub contains 20 planting locations evenly distributed in 4 columns by 5 rows. Each hole is designed to house a 3.75” net pot. Every net pot is surrounded by aeroponic spray heads that deliver the fresh nutrient solution from manifolds intrinsic to the growth plate. The growth tub is essentially a holding chamber for the plant’s root masses.

Aeroponic systems, like that found in the Ætrium-4 Growth Tub, offer some distinct advantages to indoor horticulturists. Because the roots are suspended in the air and sprayed with nutrient solution, they have access to an abundance of oxygen. Roots in an aeroponic system have an infinite ratio of oxygen to moisture and this creates the perfect environment for nutrient absorption. This bounty of resources accelerates the photosynthesis process and equates to not only faster growth rates, but also a better use of resources. Aeroponics is the most efficient form of hydroponics using less water and nutrients than any other growing method. In fact, the Ætrium-4 growth system is capable of producing up to 40% faster growth rates while using only 10% of the water and only 30% of the nutrients when compared with soil-based alternatives.

The following are the specifications of the Guardian Grow Manager automatic monitoring system:

Water Temperature

Range: 32-122 degrees F (0-50 degrees C)

Resolution: 1 degree F (0.1 degree C)

Response time: 30 seconds

pH of Water

Range: 0-14 pH

Resolution: 0.01 pH

Response Time: 15 seconds

Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) in Water

Range 10 μS/cm – 30 mS/cm

Response Time: 15 Seconds

Nutrient Dosing

In addition to monitoring, the Ætrium-4 Matriarch is an automatic nutrient doser. The following are the specifications for the automatic nutrient dosing:

Dynamic Nutrient Sensing & Dosing

4 separate bottles are provided to manage provided recipes of NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium), and Calcium, Magnesium, Iron, and related salt mixes.

Complete pH Balance and Management

Typical water management for dosing pH Up and Down to maintain perfect neutral water balance as plants extract nutrients and water balance drifts.  Gone are the days of pH balance mistakes.

 Automated Algae Reduction

The Guardian manages automatic cleaning cycles with a diluted hydrogen peroxide solution to clear organic growth from grow plumbing with an automated schedule.  No mold or mildew build up.

Total Reservoir Capacity

50 gallons.  Each tub is equipped with connections for Auto-Fill and Auto-Drain for added maintenance convenience.

Power Requirements

The Ætrium-4 Matriarch dosing base with 10 Ætrium-4 Growth Tubs uses less than 400 watts in normal operation. During the few hundred milliseconds of pump initiation, peak load is 1,100 watts at start-up. A normal 120V AC wall plug works well.

Additional Options

To help cannabis growers maximize their return on investment, there are a few additional options available for the Ætrium-4 growing system. The optional trellis supports consist of 3’ straight anodized aluminum and provide solid mounting points for trellis material (string). The optional trellis bars span the space between the trellis supports to allow for highly tensioned trellis support. Finally, the optional light gantries come in either 8’ or 10’ lengths. The light gantries allow a grower to hang a light above the grow tray and have it stay centered above the plant canopy even when the Ætrium-4 tub or rows of Ætrium-4 trains are moved.

Scalability and Connect Ability

The Ætrium-4 growing system is modular and scalable from one light up to thousands of lights. Put another way, these systems can meet the needs of any size cannabis garden. Multiple growth tubs can be connected together to form a column. The growth tubs can be dosed by one Ætrium-4 Dosing Base and moved as a solid column. In other words, when these individual units are connected, they create a solid, automated growing system which can be expanded or moved at any time.

Summary

The Guardian Grow Manager and the Ætrium-4 are an excellent system for cannabis growers of all skill levels. Fully automating a cannabis garden is the most effective and efficient way to produce consistent results. Consistency through garden automation is something that all cannabis growers, from the novices to the top professionals, should aspire to. The modular design of the Ætrium-4 allows a grower to expand his or her garden at his or her own pace. For example, a novice gardener can begin his or her gardening journey with a small unit and then add on as he or she sees fit. On the other end of the spectrum, a large-scale facility can easily implement hundreds or even thousands of Ætrium-4 trains for a fully automated, remotely controlled garden capable of producing yields that are virtually untouchable by any other system.

Aeroponics (currently the most efficient type of hydroponic system) combined with full automation of nutrients and the ability to monitor and control the system via a wireless device makes the Ætrium System headache free. Combined with the Guardian Grow Manager, this is the most advanced cannabis growing system on the market. A cultivator can lay out his or her plan and, over time, develop the most efficient and productive garden he or she has ever had. Most importantly, this heightened automation and increased efficiency equates to increased yields and decreased labor costs which, at the end of the day, means a higher return on investment for the gardener.

For more information visit AEssenseGrows.com, call 669.261.3086 or Email pgibson@AEssenseGrows.com.

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