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How to achieve Agriculture Efficiency and Sustainability

Kevin_Huang
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Spock

How to achieve Agriculture Efficiency and Sustainability

Food & Beverage supply chain complexity is one of the key concerns of Food & Beverage companies.

Digitizing this supply chain and connecting the different silos into a unified network sharing the same objectives is essential to improve visibility and reduce logistic costs from farm to fork.

 

 

farm to fork.pngTo achieve Agriculture Efficiency and Sustainability, it is essential to help farmers and agri-business improve productivity, better manage the use of resources, and achieve regulation compliance and traceability. Indeed, the pandemic exposed the fragility of a global agri-food system and accelerated the drive for a zero emissions future. The food system remains one of the primary drivers of climate change.

Regulations such as the European Green Deal and the Farm to Fork Strategy set out a vision to change the way food is produced and consumed, in a more sustainable manner by reducing food loss and waste while not increasing emissions associated with production. Regenerative farming/agriculture is one approach having the potential to reduce climate change instead of contributing to it. 

 

 

 

The main challenges of agriculture efficiency and sustainability are to:

  • Increase Productivity

  • Enhance Water and Energy Management

  • Comply with regulations and Traceability requirements 

 

Solutions such as our EcoStruxure platform and architecture support farmers and agri-business improving profitability and reducing risks while decreasing their environmental footprint and meeting their sustainability goals.

 

Automation Technologies & Software Solutions

 

Firstly, automation technologies and software solutions enable increased productivity and yield and improved quality. Solutions such as Aveva Historian, a high-performance process database capable of storing huge volumes of data generated from today’s industrial facilities, is available. Combining it with Modicon PLCs, AVEVA edge and HMI as well as connected products such as Altivar variable speed drives, connected breakers or sensing solutions helps increase productivity, yield and improve quality. 

This set of solutions offers numerous business values, from optimized production conditions through data analysis to increased operational efficiency and reduced costs through automation. It also gives access to remote capabilities like monitoring and alert notifications. In addition, these solutions also allow greater reliability and uptime to increase production and provide increased productivity and yield, enhanced product quality as well as improved animal welfare.

 

A real case to better understand the value of applying these solutions is Australian Vanilla Plantations. They used advanced research and automation to cultivate the highly prized beans. The company was looking to create and tightly control an artificial environment to maintain optimum growing conditions.

They chose to install an EcoStruxure Plant solution with the Modicon M172 PLC and Altivar Process variable speed drives. These products deliver the automation and efficiency essential for maintaining the ideal growing conditions for the vanilla orchid’s beans

 

The implementation of these solutions had many benefits, such as:

  • Increased efficiency and reduced operational costs due to the automation of processes such as ventilation, water misting, temperature control

  • Remote access capabilities which allow the team to receive alerts and monitor conditions when offsite

  • Improved reliability in a harsh environment

  • Optimized growing conditions through data analysis to constantly adjust and improve growing capabilities

The results were highly satisfactory with 20 times greater yield than a traditional plantation, leveraging automation technologies.

 

Energy Management & Sustainability Solutions

 

Additionally, Energy Management and Sustainability is another key element to achieve agriculture efficiency and sustainability. Offers that consist of digital solutions and associated services for optimized, reliable, and green energy systems using the grid or off-grid are available.

Other solutions like EcoStruxure Microgrid Advisor, to connect, monitor and control your facilities’ Distributed Energy Resources, and EcoStruxure Microgrid Operation to achieve efficient green power with islandable microgrids are efficient for off grid resources management.

Finally, connected products like PowerLink Intelligent Panelboard, Power Meters and Thermal sensors enable increased visibility and remote asset control.

 

These solutions provide many benefits such as: 

  • Increased visibility on energy usage

  • Improved energy efficiency

  • Support to achieve Zero emission of greenhouse gases

  • Proactive management of the Energy cost and usage

  • Microgrid-as-a-service business model to help save capital while also immediately benefiting from more efficient, sustainable, and economic energy consumption. 

  • Smart, reliable, flexible, and green energy systems enabling to cultivate crops in off grid areas

 

A real case to better understand the value of applying Energy Management and Sustainability solutions can be found at Agro-invest in Russia, the fastest growing modern greenhouse complex to grow fresh vegetables. The company operates on 80 hectares of modern greenhouses with over 25 varieties of vegetables every year and annual capacity of 35,000 tons.

 

greenhouse.png

 

They were looking to improve operational efficiency and reduce energy-related costs, ensure electrical network reliability, reduce downtime and optimize equipment utilization as well as reduce the cost of operations.

Agro-invest chose EcoStruxure Power Monitoring Expert as a solution with the integration of existing power meters, protection relays and manufacturing execution systems as well as a service expertise to develop Energy Efficiency improvement.

 

This solution allowed simple and fast delivery due to easy integration of existing devices and systems, a visible impact of temperature, occupancy, or production values on energy usage along with reaching energy saving targets thanks to a reliable, flexible and customized tool. The company achieved energy efficiency and greenhouse gases emission reduction and the full utilization of their electrical assets. The results were highly satisfactory, considering it allowed Agro-invest to reach a proactive management of the energy cost and usage.

 

Irrigation & Water management Solutions

 

Finally, water management for agriculture is a key topic to manage efficiently this scarce resource. Digital solutions with IoT integration are available for efficient Irrigation and Water Management, essential to achieve agriculture efficiency and sustainability.

To reach this goal, numerous solutions are available. For instance, Aveva Insight, a cloud based solution to turn industrial data into powerful, actionable insights software, combined with EcoStruxure Geo SCADA Expert and SCADAPack along with connected products like connected sensors XIoT.

 

This set of solutions offers many added values like a fully automatic system to provide water at affordable cost by pumping water for irrigation supply in off grid areas. It also allows remote control, monitoring and digitization of the maintenance of irrigation systems as well as the optimization of water pumping and field irrigation.

These solutions provide precise, reliable data about the installation in real time for greater machine availability and process reliability.  Overall, the response time to quality issues is improved thanks to secure production continuity, more efficient and effective water usage and management and a single integrated view of critical irrigation assets. This typically results in a 20% increase in productivity.

 

 

Lesieur SA, a dealer of agriculture material and machine including water pumping stations and irrigation systems for farmers in France benefited greatly from the integration of digital solutions with IoT to digitize irrigation systems. 

They were trying to find a digital solution for water pumping stations and irrigation systems that also enabled to connect unreachable assets in the field. They chose the Cloud connected sensor XIoT from telemecanique sensor as a solution.

The benefits were numerous from the quick and easy installation to the ease of use as well as the precise and reliable data provided about the installation in real time such as status of the solution so farmers can immediately place the irrigation solution to other field location. The solution enabled increased productivity and time saving, real time data and alarms sent to the cloud, all accessible on mobile devices and the possibility to configure data to suit users’ requirements. This resulted in greater machine availability and process reliability.

 

 

For more on Agriculture Efficiency and Sustainability or the Food and Beverage industry, join the discussion with experts in the dedicated Exchange Forum.