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MES for Indoor Farming

POSTED 12/15/2023

Summary

DMC developed an MES application to schedule, track, and collect data for a vertical farming company's seeding and grow locations.

Solution

DMC's client operated an indoor farming system with a solid base of machine-level automation. However, they needed an automated, easy to use solution to help them coordinate, schedule, collect data from their multiple grow locations, as well as their seeding and harvesting equipment.

DMC used Inductive Automation’s powerful Ignition platform, including purpose-built MES software modules from Sepasoft, to develop a custom MES application that added key automated features to the client’s production workflow and helped to better integrate their various software systems.

DMC created an algorithm that performs multiple sortation and grouping steps to optimize the order in which the client’s crops are planted. This routine increases the efficiency of the harvest by grouping crops together. It also organizes transplant operation by considering future transplants and harvests when deciding where crops should be planted, setting the customer up for future efficiency gains. DMC developed several web API integrations with an ERP system to coordinate production information with the customer’s enterprise needs.

To collect inventory data, DMC connected the MES application to an InfluxDB timeseries database - a type of NoSQL database.  RFID scan data was retrieved from InfluxDB and used to track individual parts as they moved through the transplant and harvest process. This provided the client with finely detailed information about the locations of parts in the facility. In some cases, DMC connected the application directly to the RFID scanners and weigh scales to measure part-by-part crop yields.

By integrating with the ERP and InfluxDB database, the customer received detailed information to help with their decision making. This allowed them to optimize the use of their equipment and increase product throughput.

Customer Benefits

Technologies

  • Ignition by Inductive Automation
  • OEE/Downtime modules from Sepasoft
  • MySQL database
  • InfluxDB database
  • Rockwell CompactLogic PLC
  • RFID Readers with TCP Communication

Learn more about DMC’s MES Programming services and contact us for your next project.