The needs for connected silos and storage systems
Nowadays, connected objects have become part of our daily and professional life for some of us. The agriculture sector and the entire food industry are no exception to the rule, as we can see the growing use of many sensors and probes designed to collect essential data for the operation and management of businesses.
Storage tools and equipment are also concerned by this automation and networking of information, with the emergence of connected silos, whose need is felt at every level of the chain: agricultural production and livestock, product processing and distribution.
We therefore offer you an overview of the advantages and benefits offered by connected silos according to the needs of agricultural professionals, including the shipping and transportation of products via connected IBC.
An even more connected agriculture
Agriculture is a sector that, in France, is increasingly using the services of connected solutions, or IoT (Internet of Things). The implementation of a connected system in a farm is based on the installation of multiple sensors and probes in order to autonomously collect accurate information and data. These data transmitted to the farmer and processed in correlation with predictive models, provide valuable assistance for decision support and inventory management.
Connected silos for farmers naturally find their place within what can now be called connected agriculture. In concrete terms, having silos and storage solutions equipped with sensors allows to know in real-time the storage volume and the stock level in a silo or tank. This automated control followed by computer processing of the collected data enables farmers to get rid of tedious and non-productive tasks, such as the visual control of the filling level and order management, whether for grains, granules, water or fuel for farm engines.
Connected silos and livestock breeding
For breeders, the issue of silos filling level management is even more important as it mainly concerns animal feed, cereals or granules. It is obviously essential for a breeder to avoid any stock shortage and to anticipate his feed requirements as well as possible in order to limit the recourse to emergency orders from his suppliers, in particular on weekends or public holidays.
The connected silo solution for breeders thus brings multiple advantages that impact the whole logistics chain of a farm’s management:
- No more manual or visual control of the storage level in silos, resulting in time savings and improved safety, as they are no longer obliged to climb on the silos to check that their filling level;
- Never running out of grain or granules for livestock;
- Optimizing order dates and quantities to get the best possible price;
- Real-time silo management, with the possibility of receiving alerts and automating orders;
- Quick access to the history and traceability of feed orders.
There are many types of sensors to connect storage silos, each type having its own characteristics and installation constraints. Some companies in this innovative and competitive sector make it easier for their customers by offering sensor systems that can be easily deployed on existing silos and installations.
This limits installation constraints and does not require the replacement of a silo or silo park. In addition, a connected silo solution is accompanied by intelligent processing of the data collected in the silos, allowing the data analysis computer platform to learn and provide the user with increasingly accurate information over time.
The most complete systems also provide the user with a customizable dashboard, displaying in real-time the level of storage in a silo, a service available on a computer, but also on a smartphone or tablet.
Cooperatives: customers in request for connected silos
Agricultural cooperatives operate according to the principle of farmers and breeders who are members of their structure. These members are therefore expecting the greatest possible service.
Therefore, connected silos for cooperatives bring a significant step forward in logistics and supply chain management. Indeed, the automation of the precise measurement of silo filling levels, combined with a computer model for anticipating needs, has a positive effect on order management and delivery rounds for grain or feed.
Improving customer service and facilitating the link with its members are all the more important for a cooperative as they guarantee continuity of supply, which is essential for the smooth running of agricultural businesses.
The risk of stock reduction or stock shortages is much easier to control by benefiting from a service of connected silos, both those installed within the cooperative and those present on customers’ farms. Indeed, the networking of the data collected by the sensors allows the automatic and immediate transmission of information, releasing human stakeholders from time-consuming formalities that are not very rewarding.
Connected silo simplifies supply
Feed suppliers are also potential candidates for the installation and use of connected silos. For a company whose customers are livestock farmers, it is essential to always be able to ensure continuity in the delivery of grain or pellets. Otherwise, one or more livestock farmers will be put in a difficult situation in case of urgent need.
Connected silos for feed suppliers are therefore particularly indicated to help manage the various aspects of this profession. Besides the sensors installed on each silo to know the filling level, the computer system that provides automated forecasts takes on its full importance here, providing services that materialize at several points:
• anticipation of customer needs;
• Automation of orders and improvement of customer service;
• better management of its own storage silos, allowing the optimization of its purchases;
• optimizing delivery rounds and reducing transport costs.
Generally speaking, connected silos, like all connected objects and systems used in agriculture and food processing, are moving in the direction of better use of land and non-renewable resources. Any initiative aimed at implementing a responsible and environmentally friendly strategy is part of the technological evolution that is required for agriculture in France, especially when it comes to innovations that can be profitable over a period of less than 5 years, which is the case of connected silos.
Recent health crises and the highlighting of the fragility of international trade in the event of a major incident demonstrate the importance of maintaining the link between the agricultural sector and local consumers, who are in demand for a production strategy that is more resource-efficient and has less impact on soil and air quality.