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All about connected silo sensors

All about connected silo sensors

There was a time when ploughs and oxen were replaced by tractors to improve farmers’ productivity. Today, technology is taking the automation of some of the redundant tasks in agriculture to the next level.

In addition to increasing productivity, technology through various sensors allows for ever more precise management of grain and other commodity stocks in the silos. These are therefore referred to as connected silos. To do this, the operation of a connected silo depends above all on the presence of sensors. The most important information about these sensors for connected silos is given below.

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What is a sensor for connected silos?

A sensor for connected silos can detect the remaining amount of food in a silo. Is this device accurate in evaluating the remaining quantity? How does it work?

The sensor is one of the essential elements of this device for automating the management of silo replenishment orders. In order to precisely quantify the remaining goods in the silo, the sensor will be able to measure the micro-deformations caused by the progressive filling or emptying of the silo. These micro-deformations can be perceived by the sensor at the ready micron. This sensor system works on both plastic and steel silos.

Thanks to the IoT technology for silos developed by Nanolike, the sensors will be able to send the collected data. This data collected and sent to the cloud via the Internet will be analyzed by Nanolike’s algorithms. This will then allow the silo filling rate to be estimated with reliable accuracy.

The sensor therefore contains a transmitter to send this data to the Nanolike company via a communication antenna and the Sigfox telecommunication network. These data will then be easily accessible via a mobile application with a reliable estimate of the weight of the remaining feed in the silo.

What does a sensor for connected silos consist of?

The sensor for connected silos developed by Nanolike consists of 2 parts :

  • a sensor;
  • an electronic part.

The transducer assembly itself includes a strain gauge and an electronic analog-to-digital converter.

The strain gauge represents the sensor in the truest sense of the word. It is this strain gauge that will allow perceiving the micro deformations. To do this, the strain gauge will measure the change in its electrical resistance. This process allows measuring the smallest deformations, which makes it possible to obtain such accuracy in the filling rate of a silo.

The electronic analog-to-digital converter will convert analog data into digital data. In other words, the data collected by the strain gauge is in analog form, i.e. in the form of uncoded signs. With the help of the electronic analog-to-digital converter, this analog data will be converted into digital data for easier reading.

As for the electronic box, it contains all the electronic communication elements as well as the power supply of the device. It is therefore from this electronic box that the data collected will be sent to Nanolike.

Where is the sensor installed?

One of the undeniable advantages of the sensor for connected silos compared to other measuring instruments is its ease of installation outside the silo. This installation is therefore non-intrusive and can be performed by Nanolike’s professional silo installers in about 15 minutes for a silo.

The other solutions proposed to farmers so far need to be put in place:

  • inside the silo itself, which can alter the quality of the feed contained in the silo;
  • under the feet of the silo, which requires an even more complex installation when the silo is already assembled.

The sensor for connected silos is attached to a silo base with screws. It is positioned at a human height to remain accessible if an intervention is necessary. This height is also sufficient to protect it from humidity and excessive dust on the ground.

The electronic box containing the data communication electronics and the power supply is placed above the sensor. It is directly connected to the sensor.

To reinforce the protection of the sensor against possible shocks or thermal variations, an insulating foam is installed all around the sensor and the electronic box.

A single sensor on one of the connected silo legs allows to calculate the filling rate of the silo.

Therefore, compared to other measuring instruments, the sensor for connected silos proves to be a low-cost and easy-to-install solution for the automation of inventory management.

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What is the sensor lifetime on a connected silo?

Choosing to automate the supply chain of its silos also means choosing a sustainable solution for a better return on investment. To meet this requirement, Nanolike has designed sensors for connected silos with an autonomy of up to 10 years.

In addition, a sensor for connected silos does not require any special maintenance. Thus, once the sensor is placed on one of the feet of the connected silo and protected by the insulating foam, no cleaning or physical calibration is required.

As a result, investing in sensors for connected silos optimizes both deliveries and the time spent monitoring stocks.

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