Smart agriculture, or Farming 4.0, leverages technology and data analysis to track critical parameters related to crop health. This new approach to farming has the potential to deliver long-term cost savings, higher yields, minimal environmental impact, and increased productivity. However, achieving these smart-farming technology goals requires the right interconnects.
What is Smart Agriculture?
Smart farming is defined as using advanced technology — Internet of Things (IoT), the cloud, artificial intelligence, and big data — to empower farmers to monitor, track, analyze, and automate their operations more effectively. In the face of challenges such as population growth, climate change, and soil degradation, more farmers are turning to smart farming as an innovative way to boost global agricultural productivity. With the current global population at 8.1 billion and a projected surge to 9.7 billion by 2050, the demand for global agriculture production is projected to increase by 69%. This growth underscores the urgency for effective farming techniques to support the expanding population.
Smart agriculture combines sensor technology and data analysis to track soil quality, weather conditions, and crop health. Farmers can make data-driven decisions for planting, fertilization, irrigation, and harvesting using data analysis. As a result, farmers can increase agricultural precision, gaining control of individual field metrics such as seed count, fertilizer usage, pesticide quantity, and water consumption.
For indoor agriculture, smart sensors can enable automated climate control by monitoring and adjusting temperature, humidity, and lighting, among other environmental factors. In livestock operations, smart sensors can monitor animal health, noting activity levels and nutritional status.
In addition, smart agriculture allows farmers to adjust growing conditions remotely from any location using tablets or phones. This feature simplifies delivering optimal conditions for each step of a plant’s growth cycle, increasing accessibility. Smart agriculture technology is continuously evolving, having already significantly impacted diverse areas of farming.
Three Solutions for Smart Agriculture
To better understand the potential of smart agriculture and the specific needs related to interconnect solutions, let’s explore three product solutions that work exceptionally well for smart farming applications.
Amphenol Sine Systems: Ecomate Series
- Ecomate RM (Rugged Metal) Series: IP67-69K rated indoor/outdoor circular connectors with a maximum current rating of 300A, ideal for high-current applications where exposure to humidity, moisture, water, and chemicals is expected. Well-suited for harvesting equipment and greenhouses.
- Ecomate Aquarius Series: IP67/69K rated waterproof bayonet connectors based on MIL-DTL-26482; maximum 45 A / 500V; UV and corrosion resistance that is critical for farming applications that will be exposed to sunlight and potentially corrosive chemicals.
- Ecomate Plastic Series: IP67 rated, high-impact circular thermoplastic bayonet connectors that combine light weight and lower cost. These connectors work well for shock and impact-loading applications, such as agricultural drones and harvesting equipment.
Eaton Trim Trio
The Trim Trio connector series is engineered to provide outstanding performance in the harsh environments within agriculture.
- UTS: plastic sealed with a waterproof IP68/69K rating with a quick-mating ⅓ twist turn bayonet coupling system.
- UTG: lightweight with a plastic connector and metal locking for added protection from aggressive environments in fields.
- UTO: built using zinc and aluminum alloy for full EMI shielding; also uses a quick-mating ⅓ twist turn bayonet coupling system.
- UTL: power and control supply connectors.
These highly versatile connectors offer a high mating cycle and an extremely reliable quick-mating ⅓ twist-turn bayonet coupling system. They are available with three types of contacts (machined, stamped and formed, and high-speed) and are interchangeable and intermateable. These are suitable for applications where vibration, shock, and other issues may otherwise cause disconnections. The connectors also encompass EMI shielding in the UTO line and are ideal for transmitting critical data or control signals.
Amphenol Industrial SurLok Plus™
The Amphenol SurLok Plus™ field-installable over-molded compression lugs are an excellent option for power management and distribution interconnect solutions. The Surlok Plus™ represents a compact, quick-mating, robust product line with plug-and-play flexibility. They are IP67-rated, touch-proof, and feature Amphenol’s RADSOK® contact technology. Applications range from rugged outdoor farm equipment to indoor greenhouses. Their compact size also makes them suitable for drones.
The RADSOK® socket and contact construction results in an ideal pressure over a more significant portion of the mating surface. This creates low contact resistance, resulting in a higher current rating and ampacity in a smaller package than standard bolt-on compression lugs.
PEI-Genesis: Your Partner in Farming 4.0
If you need interconnect solutions that can handle the rugged environments of smart farming, PEI-Genesis is your source. Our global team of connector experts can help you navigate the product families available so you can find the right solution for your design. We can also customize a solution to fit your specific application needs.