What are the advantages of silo monitoring via sensors?
Connected agriculture is developing at high speed, with the help of drones, weather stations, GPS box-type tools and a multitude of technological devices. This trend can also be seen when it comes to managing the stock level and condition of foodstuffs stored by farmers, cooperatives and other players in the food industry.
With the connected IBC tanks and silos, monitoring, measuring and protecting stocks becomes much easier, and all this remotely. Here are some concrete examples of the benefits of using sensors in this sector, which has real needs in terms of logistics processes and security in particular.
Get more accurate stock information
Several imperatives are linked to the storage of grain, and the problem of stock levels in the silos is a major one.
Indeed, the most traditional way to measure the level of grain in a silo is to climb the ladder for a visual check, which is not very accurate. With the use of weighing tools, it is possible to improve the quality of the controls, but these systems are very expensive and their installation must often be done before the silo is assembled.
Sensors are therefore an all-in-one monitoring solution! There are different connected products of this type: the ultrasonic vibration version, the optical system sensor and the grain pressure silo deformation detector. They all provide reliable, low-cost information on the filling status of a silo.
Optimize storage and delivery
The reason why controlling stock levels is so important is that it helps to meet the challenge of silo logistics management. Having always sufficient stock of grain in the silos and adapting its production level, without having to refuse skips, because the filling rate is maximum: this is the problem that needs to be solved.
The installation of sensors is then of great help, because they transmit the storage information that will help make the right decisions at the right time. Accuracy and access to data at any time allow orders to be anticipated. This avoids stock-outs, urgent deliveries or complicated deliveries on Sundays or public holidays. This not only gives you peace of mind, but also reduces logistics costs.
Perform remote control of silos
Another undeniable advantage of the electronic and connected sensor is that it can transmit all the essential data to the farmer without him having to travel. This mainly concerns stock levels, but some sensors also measure the temperature and moisture content of the grain, for example.
Connecting its silos to avoid manual controls saves a considerable amount of time. All data is available from home, using web platforms or applications.
In addition, remote control enhances the level of security and protection for silo users. Indeed, it is not uncommon to see serious accidents when farmers have to climb on the silos to check by eye the amount of product remaining, the temperature inside the silo or the possible infiltration of water.
Benefit from real-time measurement
While visual monitoring can rarely be done on a daily basis, sensor monitoring increases the frequency of readings.
Depending on the type of sensor and its adjustment, it is possible to obtain several readings per day. Reliable information is then available which allows a quick reaction before the stock level is too low to feed the animals, for example.
In addition, sensors and their applications provide warning systems. It is not necessary to constantly check the status of the stock: an alert will be sent following the detection of a certain threshold, which will have been previously adjusted. The detection of a sudden rise in temperature can also be the cause of an alert message, if the equipment has this monitoring functionality.
Connect sensors to a control automation solution
To reduce costs and save precious time, the sensors are designed to automate the ordering process by connecting the silos.
Indeed, the sensor and its computer system allow not only to know the stock status, but also to place an optimized order in a few clicks. This is made possible by the integration of the data into the ERP software, which is then linked to other applications.
The web application, or its mobile version, which retransmits information from the sensor, can for example inform the user when the silo stock level allows to order a full truck, to optimize costs. With a simple click, the order of grain or any other type of product can be carried out. With this automated process, it is a real time-saver for the supplier and for the person placing the order, who can then concentrate on tasks with higher added value.
Establish a delivery schedule
The installation of a connected box to know the stock level is also particularly interesting to better meet its delivery times. This is due in particular to the anticipation possibilities offered by certain silo filling level detection systems.
In fact, in addition to continuous monitoring, the connected sensor system makes it possible to predict the amount of grain in the silos over the next few days. It is determined, in particular, according to the programmed grain inputs and outputs and the usual consumption of each customer or member: Machine Learning is at the service of agriculture and the food industry. Thanks to this, everyone is able to know when deliveries should be made, which makes it possible to set up an optimal delivery schedule.
Offer a superior quality service
For members of agricultural cooperatives, suppliers and customers of silo management companies, the installation of connected sensors improves customer service and the quality of the relationship between the various stakeholders.
Beyond the practical aspect and the financial gains, this type of solution aims to respond precisely to the needs of the various stakeholders, to offer them better and more serene working conditions. Shortages and the pressure generated by urgent deliveries that are difficult to organize become non-existent, improving everyone’s level of satisfaction.
The use of sensors: saving time, making daily life easier and reducing costs
The advantages of monitoring its silos with connected equipment are therefore numerous and benefit all players in the primary sector and the food industry:
- more accurate stock measurement, in real-time and remotely accessible ;
- increased security ;
- optimized and automated ordering and delivery process;
- easy to install and use, with customized settings of the filling thresholds that trigger an alert ;
- low investment, up to a few hundred euros per silo equipped with an electronic box and its detection sensor.
With the help of sensors, farmers and suppliers can reduce the time spent managing logistics and concentrate on other tasks. Productivity is improved and some direct costs are significantly reduced, for example through early deliveries and optimized loading.
It is therefore clear that interesting solutions exist for remote silo monitoring without the need for huge investments. It is now up to players in the agricultural world and feed and food companies to take the innovation train to improve the quality of working conditions on a daily basis.