British tractor and farm equipment manufacturer John Deere has turned to the Internet of Things (IoT) to boost the capabilities of its innovations.
The firm is in the process of developing new technologies and making use of existing solutions to aid its products for preparing, planting, feeding and harvesting.
As part of this, the company has started using Telit’s deviceWISE Industrial IoT (IioT) platform at its factory operations, to collect and analyse real-time assembly information to improve line efficiency, prevent unplanned downtime, and improve efficiency throughout the supply chain.
Connected tech galore
According to Network World, a number of technologies are being explored, including wireless communications, cloud solutions, IoT sensors and a steering-wheel replacement that can guide precision passes, according to director Ron Zink.
Upon making the announcement, he explained that his experience is valuable to businesses looking to combine systems and platforms. For example, he’s worked to help organisations use IoT to aid manufacturing processes.
Don’t be afraid to experiment
By implementing different technologies, Zinc believes companies can become systems integrators and find ways to use tools to help them do more with less money. In other words, you don’t have to be a corporate giant to benefit from IoT.
He goes as far as to say that companies ought to be experimenting with new devices, instead of ignoring the growing connected technology trend. Determining their value is a case of running early trials.
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Focus on IoT
When it comes to farm systems at John Deere, Zink – who previously spoke about IIoT at MWC – is focusing predominantly on IoT and working out how mobile technologies can create new opportunities. For example, the firm has designed an iPad app with multiple mapping layers to track field activity.
Using it, farmers can things like monitor the amount of seeds they’ve planted per acre and calculate how far apart they are from each other. Zinc says these type of features are introducing new possibilities.
Smart sensors at John Deere
It’s also designed an IoT sensor solution for row units that can work out the pressure being put on seeds as farmers plant them. Based on the results, they can then adjust pressure and spacing. All data is sent to the cloud.
“There’s a huge logistical plan thinking about how do you do both when you’re planting the field, bringing the seed in and the nutrients in to manage the planting operation,” he says.
“But then at harvest it’s even more complex. How do you bring grain or silage off the field and then what are you doing with it?
“It could go to a grain elevator to be stored or to a farm. John Deere has technology to track the vehicles, whether they are full, whether their engines are running etc so managers can figure out the best way to accomplish the harvest efficiently.”
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