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Technical-scientific feasibility analysis of a sensing system for inputs in agricultural implements


It is well known that one of humanity's challenges for the coming years is to ensure food security for the growing world population. It is a huge challenge, as the availability of arable land does not accompany population growth, making it imperative to produce more food in the same land space. That is, increasing productivity is a priority in any place that engages in an agricultural activity. The agricultural market has been experiencing a real technological revolution. The most common movement has been the application in the agricultural area of technologies developed and consecrated in other areas. As an example, we can mention the technologies of motorization, automation, robotization, tracking, artificial vision and, more recently, data analysis and mining and big data. The demand captured by the company refers to the problem of sensing the flow of inputs in the field, more precisely when this sensing is necessary in an embedded way in agricultural implements. The agricultural implements execute the application of inputs in the soil in a continuous way, with speeds that vary from 5Km/h to 18km/h. There are several sources of problems that can cause failures in the application of inputs, from the absence of input in the storage tanks to the clogging of transport ducts (smooth and corrugated hoses, tubes etc.). The occurrence of failures in the application of inputs can cause catastrophic losses in agricultural production, which will usually be discovered only after the plants emerge, when little can be done to reduce the losses. Among the inputs used in agriculture, we can highlight those that are applied in the form of solid granulated flows, such as fine grains (wheat, rice, barley, rye, etc.), solid chemical fertilizers and soybeans (in some cases). Sensing these inputs, however, involves grand engineering challenges that are imposed by the agricultural environment. An ideal sensing system must be able to overcome the fragility of wire and cable solutions in the field, provide the robustness and ease of installation and use required in distant and remote areas of the agribusiness, adapt to the peculiarities of the solid input flows (grain fragility, fertilizer cementation, etc.), in addition to meeting the expected lifespan of products in the agricultural market, exceeding 10 years. In this scenario, the company intends to analyze the technical-scientific feasibility of a sensing system capable of meeting all the mentioned requirements. (AU)

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