Tank monitoring in agriculture

Protecting crops with the aid of IoT

Lifesize ventilators blowing hot air into the fields are preventing frost to get a grip on plants during cold winter nights. These ventilators are fueled by propane tanks. But without knowing the fill level of the tank permanently, there is a risk that on a crucial night the fan will run out of fuel and an entire season’s harvest is at stake.

 

In the Midwest of the USA you will find many remote areas and fantastic soil conditions for growing. The fields are spread over a large area, and usually not contiguous to each other. In addition, the farm is usually many kilometers/miles away from these fields.

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Without a connected tank, the farmer and his staff have to do their rounds at regular intervals to measure the fill level of the tanks. They obviously have market experience, and can already estimate something, but, for example, a leak will not be detected, and only identified when it is too late. A connected tank, of which you measure and know the filling level, for example, every 15 minutes, is fully protected against 'not being able to supply the ventilator with fuel'. You can see this as disaster prevention.


With machine learning on top of the recorded data, a disaster prediction can also be made. The consumption trends, and measured against the mirror of the weather forecast, can capture patterns, format trending and perform outlier detection. This way you predict possible future problems before you identify them.

Another optimisation that was achieved with this is in the filling process. Because you really have recent data for each tank, and not the fill level of the last time someone from the farm came by (perhaps 2 weeks ago) you can calculate the most optimal route to fill all tanks in need, avoiding a trip to a tank that actually still has enough in it. This saves time for your drivers, but you also put fewer trucks in traffic during the process.

Dennis Henderson explains: “As a supplier of T-Mobile in the US, we are committed to rolling out solutions in the IoT that use T-Mobile's connectivity network. With coverage in the region of these farms, and a platform like WMW, which can handle almost all devices and all networks, it was a breeze for us to rake together and offer a solution. The first rollouts are already very successful, but in the meantime other tanks from other sectors are being added. Here we see the full power of WMW, as it is extremely easy for them to make adjustments to an application so that it delivers exactly what the 'new' use case needs”.