Precise monitoring of humidity, temperature and CO2
Automate hydroponic system and provide warnings to operators
Other Usage Categories:
% Increased Productivity – 16-35%
% Reduction in Cost of Labor – 12-28%
Increased Quality of Product
Temperature (Soil), Humidity (Soil), CO2 (Air)
Automated hydroponics, Mushroom Farming
Regulations Addressed by Solution:
Business Case / Problem:
Most mushroom farms grow their mushrooms indoors – humidity, temperature and CO2 in all areas of the farm must be precisely controlled to produce optimal growth
Manually controlling the environment can be very time consuming and most heating, A/C and humidity control systems have very imprecise automated control
Getting maximum productivity out of a mushroom farm requires day-by-day changes to optimal humidity, temperatures and CO2 depending on the growth stage – this requires an automated solution (or a cost-ineffective amount of manual labor)
Soil humidity, temperature and CO2 is tracked in real time via sensors placed into the mushroom growing system at key intervals
Factors of growth are controlled automatically based on data from sensors to follow an optimal “growth curve” for the mushrooms at their different stages of development
System Diagram & Hardware Used:
Hardware Manufacturer: N.Thing
(Gateway) 1x Tailor Gateway
(Sensor) 6x Tailor Humidity, Temperature & CO2(Wireless)
(Actuator) 4x Tailor Actuator (Wireless)
Other Possible Hardware Vendors:
Advantech B+B Smartworx
Installation Process Overview:
1. Hardware selection and review of the mushroom farm’s pre-existing systems. Specific hardware and connectivity used in the project is usually decided at this point.
2. Arrival of hardware and initial setup. Calibration of sensors/devices.
3. Placement of sensor devices out in the field into the hydroponic system. Initial tests of actuators and connection to pre-existing system are done at this time.
4. Thing+ site and dashboard is set up. User rights and roles are created while setting up the user/operator/administrator hierarchy. Operators are introduced to the dashboard at the site.
5. A Thing+ platform based monitoring dashboard is set up for operators and stakeholders to view and work with sensor data and to control actuators. Testing is performed directly on actuators from the dashboard.
6. Automatic warning / automation rules are set up in the system (automated detection of unexpected humidity/temperature swings) for notification to operators and for use in operating the actuators. Optimal growth curve for the temperature/humidity control system is set up and integrated using the actuators.
(Below picture shows an operator examining CO2 fluctuations on a day-by-day basis – this fluctuation is programmed to follow an optimal “growth curve”)
7. Final checks of the dashboard, rules and data analysis choices are done. Operators at the site are educated on how to monitor and use the system. In some cases, operators are also educated on how to add new rules if required for automation of the SMS/email/etc.. warnings.
Automation & Rules Guide :
Example Rule #1: Send SMS based on humidity problem Trigger: Humidity is above 90% for extended period Action: Send SMS message to operator including sensor & location
Example Rule #2: Send SMS & email to operator based on temperature too low or high
Trigger: Temperature is too high OR Temperature is too low
Action: Send warning SMS and email with data on location of temperature issue (could point to door being left open, A/C or heater working incorrectly, etc..)
Example Automation Method #1: Automate humidity, temperature and CO2
Data Input: Temperature, humidity and CO2 data directly from sensors, sorted into areas corresponding to areas of responsibility of heating, humidifying, etc.. equipment
Control Output: Utilizing current data from sensors, on/off and/or device strength control signals should be sent to heating/etc.. devices following a pre-set optimal growth curve.
Impact on Operations:
Operators should monitor data and react to automated warnings to ensure that mushrooms grow efficiently
After each batch of mushrooms is harvested, the optimal growth curve should be reset for the next batch.
Recommended Data Analysis Options:
Example Data Analysis #1
Data: Temperature across the farm
Frequency of Analysis: 30-90 days
Goal: Determine what parts of the farm are experiencing temperature fluctuations (could point to faulty heater/etc..)
Temperatures across the farm can be compared to determine temperature movement curves that are abnormal (or temperatures that are a problem for the crop)
Specific problem areas can be identified and action can be taken to replace the heater/A/C device, add insulation, etc…
Example Data Analysis #2
Data: Humidity Fluctuations
Frequency of Analysis: 30-90 days
Goal: To determine potential issues with humidity levels across the farm
Humidity sensors placed across the farm should be used to determine specific areas where humidity is being lost rapidly
Issues with too much, or too little humidity can point to problems with humidifier equipment, or even structural problems with the farm
A wifi connection at the site was assumed. If it does not exist, 2g, 3g or another WAN network connectivity may be used.
Support & Maintenance Requirements:
Sensors may need to be recalibrated once per year (depending on specific hardware used)
Humidity and Temperature sensors may need to be moved around based on changes to the growing environment
Providers/Installers of this Solution:
A weight system could be used to determine optimal times to harvest the mushrooms
An automated picking system could be added to harvest mushrooms with a lower manual labor requirement