Automation can reduce the amount of manual labor and improve the accuracy of control parameters.
Automated environmental control is considered complete when the technologist programs the growth in the controller and all actuators operate automatically without human participation, from the time when the growing room is loaded with a substrate till the mushrooms are picked and room is disinfected. During the whole growing cycle the operator only controls the proper functioning of the equipment and the technologist, if necessary, corrects climate parameters that are supported automatically by the system.
Today HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) equipment for button (Agaricus) production has almost become standard and thus controllers and their programs that provide automatic control have become typical, too.
In the oyster mushroom production a typical cultivation scheme doesn’t exist. So the automation of mushroom cultivation is done individually for each customer.
If HVAC equipment is chosen correctly, it can provide climate parameters, either manually or automatically.
After the control equipment is installed, the technologist first maps the growing rooms and determines the location of temperature, humidity and CO2 sensors. When the sensors are mounted, the system is used for some time only for monitoring parameters while all control is performed manually.
Then, in turn actuators are set to automatic mode.
Here are some examples of automation:
1) Oyster mushrooms growing rooms designed by Ivan Oleynik:
- The air is prepared in two climate chambers and then from each chamber transported to two growing rooms.
- The humidifier valve and the hot water valve are used as actuators.
- Each actuator controls one of the parameters programmed by the technologist: the average temperature or humidity in growing rooms, temperature or humidity measured by the specific sensor, the smallest or the largest of the measured values.
2) Oyster mushrooms growing rooms designed by Anna Novikova:
- PID controller operates according to the temperature sensor in the growing room. It is placed by the technologist either in the air or in the substrate. The heater is the actuator.
- On-Off controller operates according to the psychrometer. The actuator is the pump nozzle of the humidification chamber.
- PID controller operates according to the CO2 sensor. The actuator is the fresh air valve.
- Outside air is used to control the temperature in the growing room. The actuator is the fresh air valve.
3) Automated substrate pasteurization control designed by Anatoliy Timofeev: (Ukrmitseliy Ltd, Donetsk):
- Substrate temperature measurement in 4 points, air temperature measurement in the sump in two points, air temperature measurement in the duct and in the growing room.
- Actuators are an inlet fan, outside air and circulation valves.
- Multi-zone controller; a technologist can program up to 16-zone program.
- The Substrate Ready relay signal is formed at the end of the substrate preparation program.