Controlled Environment Application for Insect Farming

The customer is one of Asia's first commercial-scale, insect farming businesses which uses black soldier fly larvae to convert urban organic waste into high value insect protein. Process requires carefully monitoring some of the parameters that influence the process of breeding. The process is done inside a poly house to regulate these parameters.

Current Setup:

The customer was working on a manual check for parameters like temperature and humidity and to manually regulate the parameters with heaters, fans and humidifiers.

Requirements :

The requirement was to automate the process of data collection and to have an auditable log for future reference. As a part of phase 2, the idea was to automate controlling of the equipment using smart plugs based on certain trigger points.

Proposal :

Thingstel proposed the use of devices to monitor temperature and humidity along with light intensity sensor and to track it in real time. The data collected would be stored in cloud based Databases for future retrieval. The visualization of the data would be provided for real time access through a front-end mobile application.

The proposal also included a notification module to alter users on occurrences of certain events (threshold values of parameters being monitored). Alters would be sent over mails and SMS's. Apart from this the proposal was to have a reporting module to collect data from the Databases and to send it to the customer over 24 hour interval.

Thingstel proposed the use of a battery powered LoRa deice to collect all parameters and push it to the cloud through a centralized gateway system. The gateway will use GSM modem for internet connectivity.

Development :

Thingstel successfully completed development and deployment of the solution on site at one of the locations integrating the devices to the backend cloud. Data collected from the machines were stored in data lakes on the cloud for easy access and retrieval.

Key Benefits :

The solution provided the customer with the following benefits on use as compared to the ones that do not have the solution deployed.

  • Complete Archiving of Process data for Anytime Anywhere access
  • Monitor parameter thresholds to avoid breakdown and thus increase productivity
  • Report over mail on regular basis
  • Control equipment to regulate parameter values in the poly house

Conclusion :

The customer is happy with the deployments and the benefits enjoyed and are now looking to start Phase 2 of the development cycle to include more data parameters and provide visualization on the platform provided. Improvements to Information Center, Documentation Centre and Production/Maintenance Centre being thought of.

Return On Investment :

Since the deployment the company has been able to monitor the parameters and track it with an auditable log. This way the process can be tracked over time and to understand how the values are impacting the overall process.

Further the solution enables the customer to understand the effect of equipment like heaters, fans and humidifiers on the parameters in real time and to adjust the regulation accordingly.

The historical data available through the Documentation Centre is being used by the Engineering team to better the process and for complete transparency.

There has been significant increase in the breeding process of the insects as the customer is now able to get 5 times the eggs previously obtained through informed decision making.