Liquid Animal Feed Business Goes The Whole Hog With Powelectrics Connected Sensor Solution!

Posted on 10 Sep 2018

Powelectrics have been working with a European market leader in livestock nutrition, which sells many millions of tonnes of animal feed annually. The photo shows multiple 100 tonne tanks at a pig farm in Yorkshire. Powelectrics provided a ‘connected sensor’ solution to this farm after they suffered a bad overspill of whey, which wasted thousands of tonnes of food and resulted in a very smelly and expensive clean-up operation.

As the tanks are opaque and too tall to climb without specialist equipment, it was impossible for a delivery driver to know how much liquid animal feed was in each one. If the filling process was not closely attended, overspill could occur.

Overspill was one risk, but so was running out. No farmer wants hungry livestock. They were prone to calling our customer for expensive, unscheduled ‘emergency’ deliveries. These were sometimes true emergencies, but often the calls were precautionary ‘panic’ calls. They could have had several days product left in the tanks, resulting in an expensive return journey for a heavy, half-full tanker.

For this m2m solution, tanks were fitted with our SPS sensors. In the case of this pig farm the huge tanks had valves near the bottom, which were closed, a T-piece fitted, a sensor screwed in and the valve reopened. This farm has eight tanks, holding many types of feed, such as whey, yeast, seda, potato puree, abracarb and dairy cream. Each of our award-winning Metron2 telemetry devices has 4 channels, so only two were needed, representing an exceptionally cost-effective IoT solution in terms of both hardware and data.

Readings are taken every hour.The data is reported initially to MetronView, which is our stand-alone cloud-based datalogger with customisable dashboards and bespoke reporting. It is ideal for many applications, but it also has an API for simple integration to other software.

For this project, our customer uses Powelectrics Tank Monitoring System (MetronTMS), a Powelectrics portal designed specifically for customers who deliver/ collect bulk gases, liquids, powders or granules from tanks. As with MetronView, you can see data and receive alerts securely on a computer, tablet or smartphone, but MetronTMS offers additional functionality for order processing and logistics planning.

MetronTMS includes theft and leakage alerts and the facility to set thresholds on individual tanks to alert you when tanks are reaching amber and red alert levels and even predict when individual tanks will need filling, based on recent usage. Colour coded tank locations can be plotted on a map, by postcode, for simple logistics planning.

Data may also be used to verify delivery dates and quantities for invoice reconciliation and to identify unauthorised deliveries or collections from competitors. MetronTMS will also alert you if a device has not reported in.

Our customer has installed this Industry 4.0 solution at many of their customers’ sites. The result is that farmers can rest assured that their tanks will not overfill, thus eliminating inconvenient, odorous and expensive clean-ups. Neither will they run out, compromising the health of their animals. Our customer can plan logical, efficient deliveries, knowing how much space is available in each of the tanks en route and free from unscheduled ‘emergency’ orders.

Powelectrics telemetry is used in a wide range of Industry 4.0 remote level and condition monitoring applications. Remote monitoring devices are compatible with thousands of sensors offering a 4-20mA output.

Powelectrics act as a connection between the world of sensors and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) operating at the centre of the ‘connected sensor’ community. We offer 25 years’ experience in the world of sensors, our own award-winning telemetry devices, a standalone data platform and a wealth of experience integrating third party devices.

Please call us to discuss your application on +44 1827 310 666