In the time of autonomously driving cars, intelligent robotics and smart machines, the seed processing industry still has a very primitive level of control and measurement.
This achieved the requirement of seed quality in the past. However, the demands on seed quality are increasing, as is the complexity of the machines — thus we need a different level of control. Today, for example, the operators in the processing plant find the right adjustment of each machine according to the current processed seed, followed by further control and checks. Most of the machines do not have continuous regulation and the knowledge of the operator here is very essential. Therefore, you will sometimes find two different levels of quality from one seed lot in the same processing plant.
To eliminate the human factor and to react towards the changing of the input quality, a revolution in the seed industry is required. Our company started its contributions to this revolution with driving the innovation of seed processing machines. The goals of that innovation mission are not only to archive different levels of process quality, but also to build smart machines and smart facilities. We call this “Seed Industry 4.0”.
We move to Seed Industry 4.0 in two phases. In the first phase, the design of the new machines has been changed to include electrical control components connected to a programmable logic controller (PLC). The new control system allow us to integrate more sensors, develop complicated algorithms and save the many recipes for the different seed types.
A huge advantage in that system is attaining user-friendly operation by mirroring the touch panel through smartphones or tablets from each place in the processing plant. Additionally, that gives us the possibility to support the customer worldwide through direct internet connection to the machine. You will find this advanced control system in the new generation of gravity tables, the MultiCoater as well as in the Opto Selecto.
Our optical sorter OS900 includes intelligent software, called TechNSort, which makes the operator training process very easy. Nevertheless, teaching the machine “what a good seed looks like” leads to a continuous quality control and removing each foreign kernel.
The next phase of moving to Seed Industry 4.0 is the realization of real connectivity between the different processing machines to achieve a smart processing plant. For example, having live data about the changing of the calibre size allows the MultiCoater to react, equivalent to having full coverage by changing the quantity of the coating liquid.
Now and in the near future, you will find more smart machines and processing plants built by our company, which leads to a continuous high quality of the seeds. That is Seed Industry 4.0!