German agricultural manufacturer Fliegl’s latest innovation for UK farmers has won a top international award for its use of Bluetooth technology to promote food safety.
The beacon-based vehicle tracker aims to help make it easier for growers to improve traceability and move toward a fully digital harvest.
The product has this week been named overall winner at the Bluetooth Breakthrough Awards 2016, held by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) in Las Vegas.
Bluetooth transmitters are mounted on both combine harvesters and road-going trucks or trailers, allowing farmers to clearly identify each harvesting vehicle.
The chaser bin operating between them acts as an intermediate ‘node’, and is equipped with the Fliegl Weighing System (FWS).
The combination of the FWS with beacon-equipped vehicles enables the chaser bin to detect from which combine harvester it is being loaded, and into which truck it is loading.
So far such an association has not been 100% reliable and Fliegl believe its tracker will help fill a much needed gap in the market – ensuring the path from the field to the warehouse can be fully traced.
The system guarantees an iron-clad proof of origin and represents a big step in the general trend towards greater precision, digital harvest and digital cropping.
Fliegl’s UK headquarters is in Lincolnshire and the beacons are now available for the domestic market.
Commenting on the latest award, Franz Höpfinger, Fliegl Agrartechnik’s Development Manager, said: “We are very happy and proud of such outstanding success. Being the world’s number one out of more than 300 submitted Bluetooth innovations is great recognition for the research that is done at Fliegl. At the same time, receiving such an award motivates us to continue to be actively involved in the technological future.”
Errett Kroeter, Vice President of Marketing at Bluetooth SIG, said: “These products, applications, and prototypes represent the amazing relationships we can – and already do – create between people and technology. Just take our overall winner Fliegl for example. With a tiny Bluetooth beacon they created a product that can make our food supply much safer.”
It is the second accolade the Fliegl Tracker has picked up in recent months, having been awarded a silver medal by the German Agricultural Society (DLG) at Agritechnica 2015.
The beacons are small, lightweight, waterproof and virtually maintenance-free. They can be fitted to vehicles of all manufacturers and are battery operated, independent of onboard electronics.
Used in conjunction with the Fliegl Weighing System (FWS) the tracker can also improve harvest safety. For each truck or road-going trailer equipped with a beacon, a record can be created in the job computer that associates its respective payload.
The loading process can then be automatically carried out from the FWS transfer vehicle: only exact amounts are loaded and no truck or trailer is overloaded.
Via either a load-sensing control block or ISOBUS automation and the tractor control unit, discharge of grain from the chaser bin into the road-going trailer or truck ceases once the permissible weight has been loaded. Overloading of trucks is no longer a risk, complying with the law, maximising efficiency and saving resources.
The Bluetooth Breakthrough Awards 2016 were held by the Bluetooth SIG as part of its annual CES media and demo event, Discover Blue, recognising products that use Bluetooth technology to make lives better. As owner of the Bluetooth® trademark, the group monitors and promotes the development of Bluetooth standards around the world.