Everything that is conceived or developed at Fancom is geared to helping pig and poultry farmers create superior conditions in their barns. To do that you need to introduce a number of innovations and even more smart technologies to barn processes.It is no coincidence that Fancom's payoff is Forward Thinking. CQM has been involved with two projects: an innovative ventilation solution for energy-efficient barns and improving the weighing system to ensure the highly reliable weighing of poultry in barns. To learn more, we talked to Carel Weijand, Director of Operations and Management Team member at Fancom.
Carel Weijand is Director of Operations and Management Team member at Fancom. He talks enthusiastically about two projects we worked on together.
Tell us about Smart Farming: what does it involve and why is Fancom so focused on it?
“It’s a smart barn system that is all-encompassing. From one central point, you have insight into and control over all the barn’s processes. Ventilation and heating, feed and water distribution, lighting, animal weighing and egg counting: everything is regulated and monitored to perfection. Connectivity is the keyword in Smart Farming: how can all the elements communicate with each other, and how in the future can we even ensure that we make good predictions?”
What Smart Farming initiatives have Fancom and CQM worked on together?
“There is a controller in our smart barn system, from which all barn processes, such as the temperature in the barn or the switching on and off of the fans, can be viewed, controlled and adjusted. We also wanted to optimise how the fans work with each other in the barn and were looking for a suitable partner for this. We didn't want one that simply does what’s asked. We wanted to work with people who think ahead. We already had our concept and first steps for this idea. Now we wanted to see what further steps we could take.
CQM immediately convinced us they could do this. They came up with ideas for a plug-and-play system that lets you see in the barns themselves which fans are installed and how they can be used as efficiently as possible while maintaining the perfect air flows. So that we can ultimately ensure the barns are operated as energy-efficiently as possible, with a system that provides feedback and learns from its own actions. In the future, we want to expand this even further, for example with predictive maintenance, whereby the system automatically indicates when maintenance is needed. In other words, we sought a partner with whom we can do kick-ass innovation and who can help us live up to our Forward Thinking payoff. And we have found that partner in CQM.”
What benefits do these innovative solutions bring Fancom?
“We expect the innovative ventilation solution to reduce energy consumption in barns by some 20 percent, which will benefit our customers enormously. CQM also helped us optimize our poultry weighing system. This has always worked using an algorithm, but we took this opportunity to modify the algorithm using innovative mathematical models, so we can offer our customers even greater precision and thereby give them an edge within the industry. The incredible accuracy of the algorithm CQM have developed means our customers can adopt an optimal feeding strategy, and so find the ideal balance between animal growth rates and feed costs. Our customers can now operate more effectively as businesses and achieve leading market positions, as their barn processes no longer throw up surprises, there is less waste, and processes themselves are increasingly sustainable.”
Lastly, Lieneke van Boxel explains why these projects are so interesting for CQM.
“They have been interesting because they were, mathematically speaking, very challenging. We had to come up with solutions to address the uncertainty in the data. So we had the measurement results from the weighing scales, but no idea how many animals were on the scales at any given time. We came up with something clever to resolve that. Plus the animals grow, of course, and a barn is a dynamic environment, all of which means the algorithm also had to be robust. So it's really cool if you manage to create an algorithm that gives reliable results that are pretty accurate. What’s more, projects like these demonstrate perfectly how data can offer added value in such a wide range of sectors. If, on top of all that, we get to do this kind of project for a client whose payoff is Forward Thinking, then we’re going to go no-holds-barred to create something really smart!"
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