Good Fruit Grower

September 2016

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 31 of 55

32 SEPTEMBER 2016 Good Fruit Grower W afler Farms wanted to do more than just mechanize tasks on the farm. Paul Wafler also wanted to be able to mon- itor the progress and location of the farm's own Huron Fruit Systems plat- form in the orchard, as well as track yields and worker performance. He wants the orchards running like a production line; wherever there is a problem, he wants to be able to see it and correct it as quickly as possible. A $3,000 add-on monitoring system, built to Wafler's specifications by Agrinetix of Henrietta, New York, makes that possible. "It's not a surveillance system as much as it is a tool to improve worker performance and reduce culls and bruised apples," said Rick Howitt, Agrinetix' director of information systems. For Wafler, it's a system that allows him to both con- trol and track costs. "At any given time, I know where my workers are, what they are doing. It is all about maintain- ing a flow," he said. How it works Cameras mounted on the front and back of the platform and positioned to record activity on the entire platform shoot 20 seconds of video roughly every hour (the time intervals are configurable). The recorded video is transmitted to USB storage, via power over Ethernet cables, which carry both data and electrical power. The system's brain is a Raspberry Pi microprocessor, which is about the size of a cigarette pack and costs about $35. It has one gigabyte of memory, can save data via any size USB thumb drive and uses the Linux operating sys- tem. The whole system is housed in a weatherproof box. Another Wafler modification uses one of the video cameras to take a picture of the bins at unload as a quality control tool. "We added a switch that trips when the bins are full, taking one picture of all five before unloading as a check against quality," Howitt said. At the end of the day, supervisors deliver the video data on USB drives to the office, where a software pro- gram compiles those video snippets into a 6-minute video. Wafler set up 10 kiosks, one per mobile platform, in the area where workers gather in the mornings and evenings to review the previous day's videos. The video rendering software splits the kiosk television screens into three panels: The left panel shows the front platform view, the right panel shows the rear platform view and a third provides a list of the day's unloads as well as photos of each unload. The tech advantage Rick Howitt IFTA New York study tour Digital add-on uses a combination of GPS and video data to track performance of man and machine. by Dave Weinstock Healthcare WASHINGTON FARM BUREAU Paying too much for health coverage? Call the Washington Farm Bureau today to learn how we can lower your costs. Affordable group health coverage options for you, your family, and your employees Medical I Dental I Vision I Life 800-681-7177

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Good Fruit Grower - September 2016