Continuous Level Sensors for Farming Silos
Farming is no different. While agriculture, of course, predates most (or, arguably, all) industries, this doesn’t mean it’s immune to modern technology. On the contrary, agriculture is seen as ideally suited to large-scale data collection and analysis. Agricultural processes and equipment are also undergoing radical changes in the face of advancing technology: the first self-driving tractors are already plowing the fields of San Francisco, and drone technology is being successfully employed for the monitoring of crop health.
But making use of modern technology in agriculture doesn’t necessarily require a large investment in complex technology such as drones, automated vehicles or big data analysis software. Instead, the strategic implementation of a few networked sensors can provide huge advantages to users simply by providing up-to-date information about stock levels, animal feed bins, and other agricultural containers.
Common issues with Visual Level Inspection
Primarily, it can be enormously time-consuming. Manual animal feed bin level monitoring, grain monitoring in silos and stock estimation of animal feed in stockpile spaces all take time and therefore have an associated labor cost.
Visual inspection is often inaccurate too. A lack of accurate and up-to-date information can have serious consequences when used for decision-making regarding stock replenishment. Realizing there is insufficient space for an incoming delivery or that you are unexpectedly unable to meet customer demand with existing stock are both problematic scenarios.
In addition to these issues; climbing up to the top of tall silos, hoppers, and bins to perform level inspections presents a very real risk of fall and injury to farmers. Out of 335,000 annual workplace deaths worldwide, over half occur in agriculture, making jobs in agriculture the most dangerous jobs in the world. Reducing the need for visual silo inspections will bring a much-needed improvement to workplace safety for farm workers.
Versatile Low-Cost Continuous Level Sensors for Level Monitoring
Implementing continuous level sensors to monitor stock levels can have huge benefits for farms of any size. Networking these continuous level sensors enables farmers to instantly check the stock levels in all containers simultaneously, eliminating any requirement for visual inspection. This does away with the inefficiencies associated with a visual inspection, leaving farmers and personnel free to focus on the many other important tasks in the running of a farm.
Terabee’s continuous level sensors use optical Time-of-Flight (ToF) technology to sense distance. ToF sensors emit a beam of invisible infrared light and measure the time taken for it to reflect from the surface of the stored material using precise timing circuitry. This enables the accurate calculation of stock levels in hoppers, bins, and silos of any size; even in dusty environments such as grain silos.
Benefits of Using Optical ToF LED Technology
• High-performance in a cost-effective format
• Long-range measurements (up to 60m) for taller containers
• Ideal solution for integration and design-in projects
• Low power consumption – great for battery devices
• Focused 2 degree Field-of-View suited to confined spaces or narrow containers
• Multi-sensor solutions for monitoring uneven surface distribution
• Higher performance alternative to ultrasound; and lower-cost alternative to laser and radar
Level Monitoring Solutions for Integration from Terabee
• For larger and taller silos, including animal feed bins - the long-range TeraRanger Evo 60m sensor is an ideal choice.
• For monitoring level in smaller tanks, including milk vats - Terabee advises its close-range TeraRanger Evo 3m distance sensors.
• For smaller tanks with possible uneven surface distribution - the TeraRanger Evo Mini with its 27-degree Field-of-View will do the job!
Self-powered, LoRaWAN level device
The system enables operators to optimize stock replenishment, cut operational costs and reduce dangerous silo audits.
For partners looking for innovation in IoT data monitoring and digital stock management, Terabee engages in PoC projects and pilot programs to allow access to the real potential and benefits of Time-of-Flight technology.