All about remote silo monitoring system
Remote monitoring of connected silos, like IBC tanks, is essential when you are a farmer. This is why the IoT, the Internet of Connected Objects, has become an important part of the monitoring network for agricultural facilities. It simply connects the silos to an application that can be downloaded to a smartphone, thanks to a sensor installed on the feet of the silos. This system therefore communicates all the information useful for managing stored products, from stock levels to the quantity of products available, including the triggering of a new delivery, etc.
After analyzing the data in the cloud, the application receives the information sent by the sensor, and the user can trigger, if necessary, a delivery of products via the latter, available on both Android cell phones and iPhone. Let’s see how remotely collected data can monitor much more than just silo inventory.
The functioning of connected silos: data, security and applications
Each sensor installed at the foot of a silo is composed of an electronic strain gauge, which converts analog data into digital data. The device contains all the necessary electronics for network communication, in addition to a battery power supply with an average life of 10 years. On the protection side, the sensor is protected by a weather- and impact-resistant foam, so that the farmer does not have to worry about possible damage due to a thunderstorm, for example.
During installation, the technician triggers the sending of data via the Internet to a platform available in the cloud, where all the information is then analyzed and sent to the user’s smartphone.
The data collected by the sensors installed on the silos
The sensor reacts to each movement of the silo, which means that when the product is removed from the silo, the sensor perceives a difference in weight which it then analyses and converts. Once the data is automatically sent to the platform, it is immediately processed by the platform and delivered to the user, so that the user can perform a safe level control of each silo.
The data and communications transmitted by the sensors are hosted in Europe and subject to the RGPD regulations applicable in France. Thus, the remote communication system, installed on the sensors, certifies a secure processing of the company’s information.
The use and applications of data in the daily life of the company
IoT information and data collected on the cell phone can be used to verify :
- the stocks of all the silos ;
- the level of stock present in each silo ;
- the nature of the product present in the silo ;
- the remaining tonnage ;
- medicines and food supplements added to commodities.
The user also has the possibility to place an order directly from the application, as soon as he receives a low stock alert.
One of the advantages of the remote silo monitoring system is undoubtedly the receipt of a low stock alert, in addition to the one in the application installed on the smartphone. When the latter is sent, simply validating the application’s request is enough to trigger the delivery. The application then asks for confirmation of the following points :
- the day of delivery ;
- the desired product ;
- the quantity needed to complete the silo ;
- the launch of an order for a full truck.
This virtually automated management saves the silo manager a lot of time and avoids a stock shortage that can have serious consequences for the operation. In addition, remote monitoring allows the identification of a silo whose stock is falling faster than normal.
The 4-day consumption forecast
The application also provides a 4-day silo consumption forecast, controlling and cross-referencing the previous consumption, silo by silo, according to the tonnage subtracted and the frequency of use of the products. This forecast also makes it possible to immediately trigger a delivery and avoid an unexpected stock shortage.
Monitor your silos remotely: the services of the connected solution for agricultural businesses
While it may seem that this small device installed at the foot of the silo only monitors inventory levels, this is not at all the case, since the connected data is also very useful to companies.
The application can thus be coupled with the company’s business management software (ERP), via the platform and APIs, allowing the company’s various departments to benefit from information on :
- inventory management ;
- orders placed ;
- invoices received ;
- the consumption of the products.
Accounting reconciliations are therefore facilitated by a real follow-up of the materials consumed, delivered and ordered.
It should be noted that the agricultural world is also opening up to new management methods through the implementation of KPIs, key performance indicators. These measure the overall efficiency of the company, such as inventory turnover, analysis of the average duration of a product in the silo, and other factors that appear on the agricultural company’s dashboard.
Customization of the silo monitoring system
As we have understood, silo monitoring is a triangle made up of :
- of a device, namely the sensor ;
- an essential platform for data reception;
- an application available on the cell phone.
This triangle of tools is therefore in permanent communication via the Internet network, and the platform accesses the application through a secure Internet connection, which gives the user his personal analyses. Since the application also integrates with the company’s ERP, the information system can be customized by adding the company’s logo and its graphic charter: colors, fonts, etc.
To conclude, monitoring its silos remotely is not just a simple verification of the level of products present in the silos, since the quality of the data collected now allows the use of IoT technology in the agricultural world on a daily basis.
Thanks to automated deliveries and the integration of accounting and management documents from the different departments of the company, the all-connected technology has a bright future ahead of it. With IoT, the agricultural world has finally found the precious help it sorely needs.