Supporting the Agricultural sector for a sustainable future
Deriving maximum yield from crop production is a primary objective for an agriculture sector charged with feeding a growing global population, while also operating as sustainably and resourcefully as possible.
Robust, accurate, flexible, and connected process control solutions play a key role when it comes to supporting innovative approaches required for a successful food producing future.
Norgren’s process control technologies are supporting two important projects in Singapore and the USA. They highlight alternative approaches to how we tackle food security challenges and farm more effectively through the better use of resources.
Mike Audy, Regional Sales Leader, Americas, Process Control, Norgren, explains how the company is adding value to drive success.
Better Control For Operational Efficiencies
Singapore-based, Agri-Tech, Singrow is at the forefront of unearthing answers to continued food security issues and effective and sustainable crop production. And its unique genome and precision agriculture platform is effectively cultivating, growing, and distributing produce such as climate resilient strawberries under controlled conditions.
Norgren has collaborated with Singrow to help it realize operational efficiencies such as significant energy savings and partner and drive sustainable operations that optimize the use of precious resources such as water and power.
As a result of our innovative control technology, visualization tools and system connectivity that oversees the irrigation, lighting, and ventilation functions, Singrow is benefitting from a substantial 40% reduction in energy savings.
Norgren’s control technologies include digital multimedia valve technology, intelligent temperature, and light intensity sensors, as well as data acquisition. The solutions provide Singrow with visualization and connected system control management, and informed feedback, so critical processes such as energy use and water consumption are continually monitored, controlled, and resources optimized within the growing chambers.
Buschjost solenoid valves are used to start and stop the irrigation pump as part of the watering and nutrient delivery process. As Singrow’s strawberry crops need constant access to water and nutrients, the accurate and reliable valve control ensures only the specified volume of water and nutrients is supplied and its provision is automated for use at specific times across a 24-hour period.
With light needed to encourage and support crop growth, the control system also automates the delivery of light into the growing areas and ensures the light source is switched off when not required.
Ventilation control also forms part of Norgren’s intelligence-based system. It provides overall control of temperature and air flows into the critical growing areas, always ensuring a standardized flow rate and adjusting the temperature to account for heating or cooling needs.
Automated connectivity control ensures the availability of real-time, intelligence-based data acquisition to inform Singrow’s decision-making.
The portfolio of sensors in the system regularly acquire data for heat levels, light intensity and the light RGB ratio. This is then used to provide access to highly accurate measurements around temperature, power consumption, water volume use and the nutrient levels in the crop soils. The constant data feedback loop enables the optimum conditions for a successful and productive yield to costs ratio to be achieved.
Raven – Helping To Maximize Crop Yields.
Norgren has worked with Raven for the past decade. The company designs, develops, and manufactures precision-based agricultural spraying systems as part of its portfolio of solutions that deliver advanced farming through technology and innovation.
Raven’s systems offer a variety of technologies that enable farmers to maximize yields and a return on investment by, for example, reducing expensive fertilizer or pesticide overspray to cut costs and better protect the environment.
A recently launched spraying system, the ‘Hawkeye 2’ is using Norgren valve technology to provide accurate, reliable, and robust control for the nozzle bodies that dispense the media onto fields.
There can be between 70-140 nozzle bodles on a single spraying boom and each nozzle incorporates a Norgren solenoid valve. The valve delivers control to the pulse width modulation solution which acts to ensure a fast pulsing and even flow of different fertilizers, pesticides, and other media so it is accurately distributed onto the crops, when and where it is required.
The media used in Agricultural spraying systems are expensive to purchase, and any reduction of waste, as only essential crop areas are treated, provides an economic benefit to farmers and lower levels of unneeded chemicals entering the ground.
The valve control extends to modulating individual nozzle flow rates to take account of tractor turning maneuvers when one end of the spraying boom needs to dispense media more quickly than the other end.
Having to work in harsh environments, subject to strong vibrations from the tractor and landscape and handling a variety of challenging media, means the proven reliability of the Norgren valve provides tangible operational benefits to farmers who need to trust the spraying system will avoid unwanted, inconvenient, and expensive spraying stoppages.
Connected to Raven’s proprietary PCB and electronics technology, the Norgren valves can also communicate with other parts of the spraying system. It turns the nozzle sprayers on or can shut off the flow as per operational need, so the farmer has the reassurance the use of expensive fertilizers and pesticides is continually optimized.
Our work with Singrow and Raven are examples where innovative and connected control solutions are delivering tangible sustainability benefits, as well as helping clients with informed decision-making and operational efficiencies. The consumption of resources, energy and chemicals is reduced, costs saved and, efforts to augment food production for the benefit of all, supported.