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Multi-Parameter Monitoring and Control System for Grain Silo Plants (CTC+)

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - CTCPlus (Multi-Parameter Monitoring and Control System for Grain Silo Plants (CTC+))

Okres sprawozdawczy: 2016-08-01 do 2017-07-31

The quality of the grain is dependent on a number of factors, among which are humidity levels, the state of maturity of the product and the presence of insects. The grain enters a silo at a determined moisture, and in principle at an adequate level of maturity given that it is stored just after harvest. The decomposition of the grain that occurs in the interior of the silo is as a result of two key factors: a high level of humidity and a high level of temperature. These factors allow micro-organisms to develop rapidly and they degrade the product prematurely.

Quality problems with grain stores are as much to do with the quantity of fermented product, which can lead to product rejection, as they are with the moisture content of a product that is in good conditions, whereby buyers will penalise suppliers for higher amounts of water (generally the acceptable moisture threshold is 12%). If in times past these were not such detectable problems, nowadays buyers possess high precision internal quality control methods, and as such they have the means of not paying for non-conforming product. Bad quality product is no longer acceptable in the market, and clients have a wide choice of alternative grain suppliers from which they can purchase the product they need in the event that they are not happy with a delivery.

Finally, it is also worthy of mention that current systems for controlling the fill level in cereal/grain silos are based on technologies that are not very stable (for example ultrasound sensors or radars are affected by the high levels of dust in the silo), and in many cases lead to errors in measurement that can have serious repercussions for stock control and can lead to incorrect amounts of product being supplied to clients. Moreover these technologies (ultrasound, radar, optical…) require an ad hoc installation, which increases the investment cost.

With a view to having a near market-ready project CTC+ intelligent multi-parameter monitoring and control system for grain silo plants specific objectives of the project are:

1. To develop the overall system specifications and to establish the KPIs for validating the system.

2. To develop a low power system for grain silo level determination with a precision of ±20cm.

3. To develop a CO2 measurement system as an early warning indicator of fermentation in the grain.

4. To integrate the fill level and CO2 measurement sensors into the node with the current temperature and humidity measurement sensors and to implement the telecommunications for data transmission.

5. To develop the software algorithms for optimum storage conditions for cereal conservation for implementation into the control system.

6. To develop a cloud-enabled central control platform for the remote monitoring, control and management of silo installations.

7. To develop the Artificial Neural Networks data mining tools for analysing historical data for improved predictive capability.

8. To integrate the complete system and to perform functionality tests in a pilot facility.

9. To install and field trial the system in four grain silo plants to verify the stable, repeatable and reliable functioning of the system and to validate the impacts of the system for grain conservation vs. conventionally controlled silos.

10. To gear up to the market.
Gescaser has been engaged with four representative test sites among his current data base for in-depth consultations. According to in-depth consultations with end-users and tacking into consideration regulatory and standards constraints versus market requirements, system specifications have been determined.

Following the system specifications fill level detection and CO2 sensors with ATEX compliance have been developed including hardware and implementation of the communications to transfer data into a central control platform.

The architecture of the cloud platform has been determined and worked in parallel for a back-end platform, a graphical user interface, an App and a data mining tools.

On site tests have been started on fill level detection and are already being displayed on an Alpha platform.

In order to ensure commercial exploitation of the project results a new website and leaflet have been designed and published at the same time that a press release was published by the Catalonia Trade & Investment public agency. Attending to different international exhibitions has been also a task to provide results visibility of the project.
Our main national and international competitors have been compared with the CTC+ solution. CTC+ will offer the most complete market solution available, with highly unique features like the ability to give an exact precise and reliable fill level reading, the CO2 gas measurement, temperature, moisture and fermentation monitoring all in once.

Impact is to reach the global market of users. We will reach them through our existing client base and our existing network of distributors- all our clients are potential candidates to upgrade to the more complete CTC+ solution- we will reach them through a targeted communication campaign to our existing clients (electronic mailing, paper mailing and personal/face-to-face communication communication). We will design a promotion for upgrading to CTC+ for our existing clients and distributors. In addition, we will target new clients through marketing campaigns planned with our distributors. New distributorship will also be targeted for countries that are currently not present in.
Cloud solution
Software grain logistics solution