Not everyone was making sourdough bread during the lockdown. For the horticulture and agricultural industry it was a time of growth, in general and for Micro Grow Control Systems, in specific. The California-based Micro Grow was able to expand its operations, ramp up their R&D and expand its custom electrical cabinet orders, particularly to its competition.
During the pandemic, Micro Grow has experienced an increased demand for its products due to the increased interest in indoor food production and cannabis MicroGrow has doubled the size of its manufacturing facility to keep up with the increased demand and to meet future demand. “The Micro Grow team certainly missed attending trade shows and visiting our clients,” says Daphne Brogdon, sales and marketing manager. “But we took the time to really brainstorm, develop these new products and keep growing.”
Their new facilities, which are next door to their present UL-certified production space, have been filled with very large electrical interface cabinets. “We now have competitors asking us to make their cabinets,” says Tom Piini, CEO and founder of Micro Grow. “Our OEM business has tripled this last year.” Control companies that service very large growing projects outsource the panel work to Micro Grow.
Micro Grow’s custom electrical cabinetry and detailed electrical drawings, and team member Jorge.
Developing smart products through collaboration
As Tom explains, Micro Grow does not attempt to develop one-size-fits-all solutions, but rather one-size-fits-many. The company closely collaborates with its clients to adjust these solutions to the client’s specific conditions. Micro Grow also continues to develop new products of its own that are designed to facilitate greenhouse operations while keeping control in the grower’s hands. According to Tom, much of Micro Grow’s success is due to the company’s extensive knowledge of the greenhouse environment and how the different systems interact.
“You can have the most expensive control system but if it doesn’t interface well with the electrical system, it will never work. At Micro Grow, we know electricals, greenhouse equipment and controls,” says Tom.
Throughout its 45-year history, Micro Grow has developed control systems for environmental computers, irrigation and misting, lighting and motors. The company also offers monitoring systems, custom switch cabinets and other electrical services. At Micro Grow, all products come with lifetime technical support without fees and extended warranty possibilities.
Electrical work completed at Stanford University during the pandemic
New products in the pipeline
In the coming months, Micro Grow will be rolling out a new control system that will allow users to write their own algorithms and continuously adapt the system to their needs. Micro Grow is also developing a lighting control interface to facilitate dimming and spectral control of LED grow lights.
“There are a lot of lighting companies out there, but our clients have said that few of these lights have good controllers.” said Daphne, “So we’re developing a system to help them control their lights more effectively.”
Creating what their customers say they need is what fuels their design goals. As automation becomes increasingly used in the horticultural industry, Micro Grow believes that technology will never replace the grower but should instead be considered a tool. All Micro Grow systems thus come equipped with manual control interfaces to ensure that the grower always has control of the system.