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Leveraging Technology for 21st Century Maple Production

Smart IoT Sensors and Monitoring System for Maple Sugaring

 

Challenges

A major distributor of maple sugaring equipment sought to offer its clients productivity solutions. Maple production draws on centuries-old artisanal processes but is constantly evolving to meet growing global demand and protect itself from the unpredictability of seasons.

The first step in making maple products is collecting the sap and conveying it to storage tanks in preparation for its transformation. Using vacuum tubes already makes the process easier, but leaks or breaks can occur and lead to losses of raw material. An automated solution to monitor the condition of the tubing would reduce the need for manual checks that are both time-consuming and effort-intensive. It should also be easy to install, autonomous, and robust, to minimize further intervention.

 

Solutions

Smart battery-powered sensors measure the vacuum pressure and ambient temperature at the end of the tubes, then transmit the data to a server for analysis to detect anomalies. The microprocessor of each sensor shuts off the radio signal and regularly goes to sleep to limit its energy consumption and minimize battery replacement.

A mesh networking strategy makes for dynamic topology and easy installation. Each sensor transmits its data to the nearest sensor; the last sensor contacts the wire network by radio using a gateway and completes data transmission to the central server. That makes the solution highly flexible, since gateways can cover different zones and the mesh network re-forms in the event of breakage or failure.

 

Results

A temporal database collects all readings and a web application presents the data in various ways –geographical maps, tables, and charts. Programmed alarms and automated industrial equipment ensure real-time responsiveness, even remotely. In the sugar bush, a field solution makes it possible to communicate and share data with the mesh network via Bluetooth, using a mobile application on technicians’ smart phones, for easy system troubleshooting.

The solution ensures the reliability of the sap supply system, even in application environments that can be vast and difficult terrain.

 

Project Services and Industries

Electronic Design

Internet of Things

Automation and Control

Agritech

Software Engineering

Systems Integration

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