Keep your harvest safe
Every year, the agricultural sector suffers from the deterioration or even loss of large quantities of stored grain due to fungal growth and insect-related decay.
The challenge for farmers and companies involved in the grain storage and distribution process is to ensure the quality of the product during the different phases and types of facilities where cereals are transported, processed and stored.
According to research from prestigious universities in areas where wheat cultivation is an essential part of the economy, CO2 control allows effective monitoring of grain quality and other key indicators, to ensure that the product is in optimum condition and remains competitive in the market.
- Typically, ambient air has a CO2 concentration of 350-400 parts per million (ppm).
- Past research indicates that a stable grain mass has a CO2 concentration of 400-600 ppm.
- Higher levels indicate biological activity above normal.
- Concentrations of 600 to 1,500 ppm indicate onset of mold growth most often triggered due to storage of grain above the safe storage moisture content, or moisture infiltration into the structure.
- Concentrations of 1,500 to 4,000 ppm and beyond clearly indicate severe mold infection or stored-product insect infestation.
- the difficulty of having a good control of the state of the wheat stored in it;
- an investment in time to make a visual check on each silo;
- There is also a very important risk of not being able to reverse a process of product degradation caused by a change in the environment inside the silos and losing part or all of the stored grain. Or the product could lose its quality and see its value reduced on the market significantly.
Based on the needs required by the customer, we propose the installation of different sensors (not only the CO2 ones) to monitor a series of silos distributed over a large area.
OpenMotes B, powered by solar panels, have been installed in each silo. In this way, any type of wiring between silos is avoided, as the communication between the OpenMote B devices is wireless via radio frequency. The different OpenMotes B installed in slave mode, collect information every 30 minutes and send it to a master device, which in turn communicates with a PLC connected to the cloud. All the information can be viewed and processed remotely and in a very up-to-date way.
The master module also collects other types of data as a test to improve the installation in the future.
About the software part, it has been programmed using Python on one hand, and bash scripts on the other. Both solutions are easily adaptable and editable if the customer needs to make some changes in his reading times, types of sensors, signals to be sent to actuators, etc.
There are a number of clear benefits obtained by the customer thanks to this type of installation:
- Time saving: unnecessary trips will be avoided thanks to the remote verification of the state of the cereals.
- Eco-Friendly: avoiding commutes means lower emission of CO2 particles.
- Economic savings: thanks to the reduction in trips, fuel consumption will be lower; furthermore, the vehicle wear will be reduced.
- Risk prevention: reducing the number of trips means decreasing the risk of accidents at work.
- Production optimisation: thanks to real-time knowledge of the state of the product, material losses are minimised.
- Guaranteed product quality: thanks to permanent monitoring of CO2 levels, cereals are kept in good condition.
- System without wiring and with a low consumption powered by solar panels.
- The used radio frequency system works with unlicensed frequency signals that do not require a cost for sending data.
- The customer can access and extend the different modules at their convenience without having to pay an extra cost.
- If the number of elements to be monitored needs to be increased, the OpenMotes B still have free ports to add more sensors or actuators.
- Thanks to the use of solar panels, there is no need to change batteries.
- The OpenMote device can anticipate running out of batteries to keep the installation operational.
Why Industrial Shields?
- The solution with OpenMotes B has convinced the client because it is very competitively priced; it is easily expandable without the need of expensive installations, and it does not require the payment of any type of software license to adapt the programming to what the client requires.
- It is a robust solution prepared for the environment where it will be installed. The fact that it is a modular solution also facilitates the choice with a view to expanding or improving the possibilities of remote management.
- As Industrial Shields is a world leader in the development and manufacture of equipment based on Open Source Hardware, this made it easier for the customer to have full confidence in both the company and the solution proposed by Industrial Shields technicians.