Space is at a premium in the Bay Area, which is one of the most expensive real estate markets in the U.S. Even warehouse space in industrial areas is expensive.
Beyond real estate costs, cannabis growers need to control the temperature and humidity throughout the grow areas. The larger the facility, the greater the expense.
With these concerns in mind, the owners of this facility were determined to make every square inch count. Although it might seem appealing to pack as many plants as possible into the flowering rooms, the owners knew that wasn’t a viable option.
That’s because crowded plants inhibit air movement, which can result in the growth of mold, mildew, and other pests. 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.
They also knew that the plants need to be carefully tended, and employees would need to be able to reach every part of every plant. They wanted tables to be around four feet wide to allow staff to comfortably reach the plants without straining, and the aisles between the tables needed to be wide enough to accommodate staff and their bins and tools.
THE SMART SOLUTION: Spacesaver’s ActivRAC
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.
The company’s first attempt at saving space involved placing plants on low tables. The aisles were narrow and cramped, and the tables were too wide for the employees to comfortably reach across.
AFTER: Two-tier shelves
The growers doubled their growing area by installing two levels of Spacesaver’s wide-span shelving on the ActivRAC® Mobilized Shelving System.
“Our goal is to maximize our space – and we've been able to do it with Spacesaver's help." -General Manager, Cannabis Grow Facility
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.
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.
A phased approach
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.
A strong, reliable system
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.
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 long 'tables' to 18, and now we have way more aisle space. That keeps the employees safe and happy.”
-General Manager, Cannabis Grow Facility