A large multinational company delivering multiple products into agricultural applications worldwide
A monitoring device for agricultural buildings, in particular for animal sheds, connected wirelessly, reporting data back to a central farm location enabling better management of the building environment. There should be multiple sensing units in a single building.
- Sensors: Temperature, Humidity, Light Level, Ammonia, Carbon Dioxide, Oxygen
- Actuators: Ventilation, Fans, Heating
- Communications: Long range communications to the agricultural buildings, wireless communications to the monitoring stations
- Additional: Mains power is expected to be available in all buildings where these units are to be used so no requirement for extended battery life.
- ST Micro MCU with a LoRa radio device for long range connectivity
- Sensor for temperature & humidity via an I2C connected device
- Light level via a phototransistor and an analog input
- Gas sensors connected to additional analog inputs
- Actuators for ventilation
- Fans & heating all via GPIO outputs with relays
Firmware running on the monitor devices was developed to read the sensors and report the data over the LoRa connection to the Gateway. The firmware also accepts commands from the gateway to allow control of actuators.
An off the shelf gateway system is used as the receiving station for the LoRa communication from the monitor devices. The gateway was selected so as to be able to manage hundreds of active end points. The gateway can be accessed over wired or wireless ethernet to gather the monitor data feeds and control the actuators.
Software running on the gateway was developed to store sensor information locally, upload sensor information to monitoring stations when connected, and receive commands from monitoring stations to enable control of actuators.
Software was developed for a standard Windows PC to communicate over wired or wireless ethernet to the gateway to analyse and display sensor data and to provide a UI to control the actuators. An alerting facility is included such that alarm levels can be set in case sensor readings exceed acceptable values and a configurable rules engine allows automated control of the actuators based on sensor readings.
Provides a continuous monitoring capability for factors that are known to impact the health and well-being of animals housed in animal sheds enabling the shed environment to be managed for optimum values.
Alerts management of sheds in unusual conditions so remedial action can be taken quickly. Enables multiple buildings to be monitored across an extended distance due to the use of LoRa radio technology with all data being communicated back to one centralised location.
Removes the need for manual checking of environmental factors enabling better use of Farm manpower and so raising overall efficiency.