Posts

Solutions to Advance Agriculture Smart Farming and Equipment

The agriculture industry is no stranger to technology. In fact, it’s among the most advanced industries in the world. With advancements in IoT, e-agriculture and smart farming are now core operations for most large producers and crop managers, while equipment and components look for more data for work efficiencies and improving production quality.

The global agribusiness industry is estimated to be $5 trillion and growing rapidly. The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) notes that agriculture innovators and product developers are contributing to improved quality of life, economic growth, employment, and environment in a big way.  In developing this technology, one of the most critical supporting tools is force measurement sensors.

From heavy machinery used in working the fields to industrial weighing applications for livestock, there is a massive market of manufacturers serving farmers and the supply chains that support agriculture. Interface sensor technologies continue to play an important role in these advancements and use cases in the agriculture industry.

Interface products are a top choice for agriculture technology manufacturers because they provide the accuracy and reliability necessary to enhancing performance and ensuring safety. We have a variety of force measurement sensors that are designed for modern agricultural testing projects and as components for OEMs. Our expert application engineers help customers with standard products as well as design customized solutions for all types of applications using our products that are used for extreme environments, UAV and drone inspections, material handling, complex agricultural machines, and extreme weather conditions, engine testing, all ensuring maximum safety and efficiency.

Interface’s wide range of load cells, torque transducers, and DAQ systems are ideal for all types of advanced and simple agricultural applications, like weigh checking, lifting equipment, electrical and motorized farm vehicles, even drones used during the production and inspection. We have outlined these examples in our case study, Interface Solutions Used in Growing Agriculture Innovation. In this profile, you can see how our sensor technologies are used to ensure efficiency, sustainability, and proper production.

Common Agriculture Use Cases for Interface Products

  • Tractor and equipment testing
  • Production lines
  • Greenhouse facility management
  • Robotics and automation tools for farming
  • Livestock weighing
  • Feed and water monitoring
  • Storage, silo dispensing and weighing
  • EV engine testing
  • Field inspection and drone sensor testing
  • Wireless equipment for field management and remote monitoring
  • Gate and fencing field security solutions

Two very popular product categories in the agriculture industry include torque sensors and wireless products. Torque sensors are used in heavy machinery like tractors, plows and other vehicles that require immense power to move equipment and crops. For torque applications in tractors and other vehicles, we have different USB options for torque transducers such as the T12, T15, and T25 Rotary Torque Transducers. These options allow for easy integration with our numerous instrumentation solutions, including both digital and analog.

Wireless solutions have increased in popularity across all industries, but especially in farming where engineers and manufacturers are running tests in the field and don’t want to run long wires that can get in the way. Interface provides a wide range of wireless solutions including our Wireless and Bluetooth® Telemetry Systems, which include sensor transmitters, receivers, and displays. These systems help our customers create a test network that is more convenient and just as accurate as its wired counterparts.  You can view multiple agriculture applications using Interface solutions online. Here are a few examples.

Interface Applications in Agriculture

Tractor PTO Torque Testing

A customer wanted to measure the torque and speed of their tractor’s PTO (power takeoff test) system, ensure the tractor’s PTO system was functioning properly, and measure the torque being delivered to an implement. Interface’s solution was to use its T27 Bearingless Hollow Flange Style Rotary Torque Transducer to measure the tractor’s torque and speed of their tractor’s PTO system. The T27 Bearingless Hollow Flange Style Rotary Torque Transducer is bolted to the tractors PTO shaft. A dynamometer is attached on the other end and the transducer can measures the tractor’s torque and speed with high accurate results. With the INF3-USB PC Interface Module the customer was able to display, graph, and log the recorded torque and speed of the tractor’s PTO system with the supplied INF3-USB software. Using this solution, the customer was able to successfully and accurately measured the torque and speed of the tractor’s PTO system. Read more about tractor PTO torque testing here.

WTS Equine Bridle Tension System

The customer needed to quantify the so-called “poll pressure.” Bits designed to give strong poll pressure using simple pulley lever principles show a much-attenuated transfer of the rein tension through the bit to the poll. The attenuation is readily understood when the equine mouth is recognized as a “floating” fulcrum degrading the otherwise required fixed pivot point of an ideal lever. Interface provided a WTS Equine Bridle Tension System, with 2 SMA Miniature S-Type Load Cells in both the line of the reins and that of the cheekpiece on one side of the horse. This system was used to study the dynamic response of the cheekpiece tension to rein tension in the ridden horse. The WTS provided the valuable data can be displayed and/or recorded in real time using a PC and/or a handheld receiver depending on the requirements and preferences of the customer. The fundamental operation of the bits could in principle be discovered on the laboratory bench. But in practice of course, the equine mouth is expected to provide the fulcrum. Within the real experimental system comprising the rider’s hands, the horse’s mouth, and the bit, the elasticity of the equine mouth provides a “floating” fulcrum and a potential source of time-lag and decoherence between the dynamic rein and cheekpiece tensions. Read Testing the Reins for more information.

Interface is a valuable partner to the agriculture industry and has developed a wide range of standard and custom solutions to meet the varying needs of manufacturers. You can read more about our products used in the agriculture industry, as well as some application examples available in our industry Agriculture Solutions Brochure.

Additional Resources

Interface Supplies Agriculture Industry with Sensor Technologies

Interface Helps to Move Agriculture Innovation Forward

Interface Solutions Used in Growing Agriculture Innovation

Tractor Linkage Draft Control

Silo Monitoring and Weighing

Chicken Weighing

Interface Helps to Move Agriculture Innovation Forward

The agriculture industry is the backbone of most economies, as food production and farming are essential to everyone’s existence around the world. Advancements and innovations in this market are core to growing a sustainable food supply as well as for safety and productivity management across the agriculture supply chain. Interface is proud to support a range of customers developing innovative sensor-based tools and equipment used in the field.

As a complete solutions provider, we provide standard and engineered to order measurement products that are designed for modern agricultural testing projects and as components for OEMs. Our Interface expert application engineers can also help in the design of customized solutions for all types of applications using our products in harsh environments, for material handling, within complex agricultural machines, and for extreme weather conditions, and engine testing. These are typical use cases that rely upon the quality, accuracy and reliability of measurement solutions from Interface.

Our customers are in a range of agriculture submarkets, from heavy machinery to food production. The common products Interface supplies to these segments include our precision load cells, torque transducers, multi-axis sensors and miniature load cells, along with the popular tension links, load shackles, and wireless instrumentation. We also provide advanced sensor technologies and digital monitoring equipment for agricultural-based manufacturing, farm and field management, inventory monitoring, equipment testing, livestock weighing and ranching, as well as food processing and grain monitoring.

In the application use cases below, we provide a few examples of agricultural solutions that are using various Interface force measurement products.  To review a larger series of applications, visit our Interface Agriculture Solutions here.

Silo Monitoring and Weighing

For customers who need to weigh and monitor the content inside their silos, Interface can offer our A4200 Zinc Plated or A4600 Stainless Steel Weigh-check Load Cells, paired with 1280 Programmable Weight Indicator and Controller. Using these products, the customers can monitor the amount of content by weight in their silo. In this application example, the customer was provided a customizable solution to monitor and weigh their silo. Results from the 1280 Programmable Weight Indicator and Controller were sent to the customer’s control center. Read the entire application note here.

Tractor Linkage Draft Control

A large commercial farmer group wanted to measure to measure the forces applied on their tractor’s draft control, between the tractor and any linked-on attachments. Measuring the force will help the farmer be able sense any strains on the hitch of the tractor and will be needed to apply any specific settings to the draft control when the tractor encounters rough terrain. Interface supplied a WTSLP Wireless Stainless Steel Load Pin, which is a wireless load pin that can be installed directly in the hitch, replacing the normal shear pin of the tractor. Force results are transmitted wirelessly to the WTS-BS-4 USB Industrial Base Station, where the farmer can view the results on their PC computer or laptop with the supplied WTS toolkit. The customer can also view results on the WTSBS-1-HS Handheld Display for Single Transmitters in real-time. Using these products, the farmer can determine the specific draft control settings for their tractor. Read more about the tractor application here.

Poultry Feeder Monitoring

A customer wanted to monitor the motor that operates their poultry feeders. The poultry feeders must give out an equal distribution of feed per poultry house. We provided a solution using the T5 Standard Precision Pedestal Mount Shaft Style Rotary Torque Transducer, with the speed and angle options, which will be attached between a poultry feeder and a motor with Interface’s couplings. Torsion measurements can be graphed and logged sing the 9850 Torque Transducer and Load Cell Indicator. With this solution, the customer was able to monitor their poultry feeders and ensure that every feeder got the same amount of food distributed to it.

Interface load cells, torque transducers, and data acquisition systems are ideal for a wide variety of agricultural applications. These products can be paired together to measure and ensure efficiency, sustainability, and proper production planning. Interface products can also regulate through harsh weather conditions such has humidity and unbearable temperatures while still maintaining a high testing and measurement performance. Our custom solutions application engineers will work alongside you to create the most effective and efficient solution based on your needs if standard does not fit your exact requirements. Read more here.

To check out additional application examples related to the agriculture, and other industries, please visit our website at www.interfaceforce.com/application-notes/.  Be sure to check out these great new farm applications.

LIVESTOCK WEIGHING

 

CHICKEN WEIGHING

 

EQUINE REIN TESTING

Testing the Reins

Think of nearly any piece of hardware, especially those with moving components, and chances are a force measurement device was used in its development and testing.

Interface supplies load cells, torque transducers, load pins, tension links, and data acquisition devices utilized in testing hardware components for automobiles, drones, rocket engines, medical devices, bridges, watercraft, and everything in-between including for horses.

The applications for our products grow broader every year, so much so that we are rarely surprised with the ingenuity and innovation abound. There are no limitations, including in the equipment utilized in core agriculture markets, which comprises of products used in the equine industry.

In one customer’s project, were able to provide valuable sensor technology for a test and measurement project for products used with horses. Included below is a brief preview of the two new applications notes we developed based on the specific requirements for this equine industry design.

A customer came to Interface needing to quantify the poll pressure on the bridle of a horse. We created a solution using both a Wireless Telemetry System (WTS) and a Bluetooth® Telemetry System (BTS) Equine Bridle Tension System, with two SMA Miniature S-Type Load Cells in both the line of the reins and that of the cheekpiece on one side of the horse to study the dynamic response of the cheekpiece tension to rein tension in the ridden horse. Utilizing the WTS or BTS, the valuable data can be displayed and recorded in real time.

Within the real experimental system these sensors were used to test the tension resulting from the rider’s hands, the horse’s mouth and the bit, the elasticity of the equine mouth provides a “floating” fulcrum and a potential source of time-lag and decoherence between the dynamic rein and cheekpiece tensions. Because the cheekpiece is directly attached to the headpiece, we we’re able to assume that forces seen in the cheekpiece are those that are applied to the poll of the horse.

Want to learn more about this agriculture industry solution?  Be sure to read the Equine Industry WTS and BTS Bridle Tension System application notes.