Milesight Smart Greenhouse Automation 

Inadequate food supply due to high population growth is becoming a global threat, especially in regions where food production by conventional means is not sufficient. Agricultural production in greenhouses with highly controlled environmental conditions can contribute to a stable supply of agricultural commodities regardless of the weather.  

Most modern greenhouses are equipped with motors on all sides to control the sidewalls plastics that regulate the ventilation and internal heat. The shading mechanism is also supported in the summer due to the direct sunlight. Recirculating fans are widely used in modern greenhouses as well to ensure ventilation, which prevents scorching, and decreases the risk of pests and diseases of the plants.  

All these features ensure that the climate inside the greenhouse remains at the optimal level for maximum yield.  

In this case study, with the help of the agriculture starter kit, Milesight addresses the challenges of environmental monitoring and system automation inside of sawtooth greenhouses and fully utilises the data to improve operations and drive overall business success. 

 

Challenges & Requirements 

Greenhouses are climate-controlled structures with walls and roofs specially designed for the off-season growing of plants. 

Manually operated systems: The ventilation system composed of motors and fans often lack automation, which increases the workload of employees as they are bound to visit the greenhouse to manually control them. 

Manual data collection: Temperature and humidity must be constantly monitored to ensure the good yield of plants. Manual data collection can be time-consuming and lead to human error. 

Increased manpower expenses: Operating greenhouses on a large scale requires tremendous amounts of manpower. This leads to a decrease in efficiency as the process becomes highly laborious and expensive. 

Risk of contamination: The new solution must be non-invasive i.e. wireless so as to maintain the ongoing greenhouse in production. 

Automating mechanism: The environmental monitoring and the ventilation system work independently. Thus, in the new solution, the client wants the motors and fans to be controlled automatically according to the exact climate parameters. 

Well deployed automation allows less maintenance, a wireless deployment, with bidirectional communication and data collection. The LoRaWAN® based solution from Milesight has been utilised by Link Valleys Ltd, which met all the above needs and more. 

 

The Project 

The LoRaWAN® based sensors, controllers and gateway helped to solve many of the existing practical problems. The sensors used here are soil moisture and electrical conductivity sensor and CO2, barometric pressure, temperature, and humidity sensor. 

From the data received, the UG65 gateway automatically controls climate parameters efficiently inside the greenhouse by activating motors, cooling fans, and sliding plastics respectively according to the required conditions of the plants to achieve maximum growth and yield. For example, if the greenhouse temperature is above 30 degrees Celsius and the luminosity of the sun is above 50,000 lux, then a command will be triggered to close the internal shading of the greenhouse for more scientific environmental monitoring. 

 

Agriculture Starter Kit 

The following Milesight IoT devices were deployed at the greenhouse: 

UG65 LoRaWAN® Gateway indoor version 

EM500-CO2 for environmental monitoring 

EM500-LGT sensor for lightness detection 

EM500-SMTC sensor for soil status monitoring 

Controller UC1114 with 2 digital input and 2 relay output interfaces 

Milesight IoT Cloud application platform for data analysis and reports 

 

The Prototype 

The prototype our customer used comprised of several sensors, gateways, and controllers. Soil moisture sensors (EM500-SMT) were installed on a pole, and their probes were inserted into the soil via a 5-meter cable. The carbon dioxide, temperature, and humidity sensors (EM500-CO2) were installed on the same pole to monitor the air quality. Every 10 minutes, these sensors send their data to the indoor gateway UG65 to analyse the results. The gateway forwards the command to the UC1114 controllers where motors and fans are remotely connected via digital input and replay output ports. Inside the greenhouse, if the temperature and humidity values are above the reference value, to maintain the threshold levels, the sidewall plastics will be opened and fans will be switched on. 

 

Milesight Smart Greenhouse Automation 

 

 Data Management 

For the installation process, not many tools were required. The gateway and the sensors were set up prior to the installation date to ensure that everything works to be more efficient. 

Upon confirmation of the order, the sensors were installed at the appropriate places in the greenhouse to ensure that the data was as accurate as possible and to avoid any false values that might occur. 

Regular updates can be viewed from the cloud application or mobile app (Milesight IoT Cloud), and the controllers can be directly activated over the internet with the click of a button on the dashboard. This is done with the aid of the Milesight IoT Cloud application. 

Milesight cloud makes it easy to make graphs which are very useful in terms of comparison of data. For example, for the soil sensor, if the electronic conductivity starts to drop below 1500, this means that the irrigation has a problem. There might be a small power cut that might reset the current program of the irrigation or a blown fuse of the pump that might have caused this problem. 

Until now, the client is mostly satisfied with the system. Having the ability to realize the environmental monitoring on the phone is a major advantage in terms of knowing the plant health using the soil sensor which provides critical information on the root health and in terms of diagnostic of problems. 

                                           

Benefits 

The result of this project is an easier and more efficient means of managing plant growth and enhancing food production. With the aid of the LoRaWAN® solution, anyone can access a high yield of farming and be self-sustainable in the aspect of food production. 

Non-invasive solution: A farm with greenhouses located on a large property, where the LoRaWAN® solution would be perfect for its big range covering and data sharing in the same environmental monitoring network. 

High flexibility and low maintenance: The battery-powered sensors have done away with a lot of the repetitive manual work with high accuracy, and they can be added or moved anytime anywhere with no worries about cable and electricity. 

Minimum human interference: The plants are kept at optimum temperature, humidity, light, and soil moisture levels with little or no input from the user, which reduced the amount of labour on the farm. 

 

Testimonial 

“We were first pleased with the quality of the devices and upon installation, we had a minor sync problem which was resolved the following day by the support team,” said Rughooputh Deepak, Managing Director. “ Till now, the system worked flawlessly and the automation of the greenhouse was successful. We are both satisfied with the product quality, price, and support that we get from Milesight.” 

 

 

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