Reliable data transmission from mobile hen houses
farmermobil GmbH relies on Welotec industrial routers of the TK600 series, the VPN Security Suite and Smart EMS for the automation and digitalisation of its mobile hen houses. The solution enables remote access to information from the barns by mobile devices via the mobile network – worldwide.
farmermobil is a manufacturer of mobile barns for laying hens and chicken rearing. Since 2014, farmermobil has been developing mobile hen coops for modern and future-oriented agriculture. In doing so, farmermobil not only attaches importance to sustainable agriculture, but also wants to design a labour-saving, species-appropriate and practicable mobile housing system for farmers.
The chicken mobiles from farmermobil are operated fully automatically using state-of-the-art control technology. This includes, for example, the electric egg collection belt, automated refilling of feed and water lines as well as automated outlet flaps. farmermobil is working on the planning and development of the required control system together with the company I&W Maschinensteuerungs GmbH , which is also located in Laer. Up to now, the built-in barn computer could send several predefined fault messages to stored telephone numbers in several languages. Depending on requirements, the mobile chicken coop could also be monitored and controlled via WLAN – but only within the vicinity of the mobile chicken coops. It was also possible to send warning messages via SMS over the mobile phone network.
First of all, a combined hardware and software solution was developed that continues to enable stable SMS transmission. The Welotec industrial router of the TK602L series is the central component for the communication within the barn units among each other as well as to the outside. In addition, an OPC UA interface between the router and the control system was developed and implemented together with I&W Maschinensteuerungs GmbH.
The second part of the solution is the remote connection to the HMI of the control system via any mobile end devices. This feature is accessed in the setup via the VPN Security Suite software solution developed by Welotec. This gives both the experts from farmermobil and the farmers remote access via the mobile network. The HMI of the control system can thus be monitored and operated from anywhere in the world.
The last part of the conceptual design focused on connecting the routers to the Welotec Smart EMS and Welotec VPN Security Suite software solutions. Smart EMS enables the rollout and management of the industrial routers. Router settings and firmware updates can thus be applied remotely to the device. The VPN Security Suite enables secure (tunneled and encrypted) access to the systems in the field. This enables the farmermobil experts to carry out maintenance work, troubleshoot and rectify faults directly from the control centre.
Bidirectional communication between PLC and router via OPC UA server
Welotec Industrial Router TK602L
The Welotec industrial router TK602L is equipped with natively implemented edge functions. The router is an economical variant for use in less complex edge infrastructures. The TK602L also offers the option of integrating its own source code in python, as well as establishing a direct connection to an MQTT broker or to a cloud architecture. The low supply voltage of the industrial router (12 -48 V DC with reverse polarity protection) makes self-sufficient use in the field possible. Another advantage of the router is the possibility of reading out the LTE module and providing the data for communication with down leaf devices, i.e. the devices that are used behind the industrial router.
Welotec VPN Security Suite and Welotec SMART EMS
The VPN and management solutions from Welotec enable an automated remote maintenance and rollout process in the setup. Welotec Smart EMS serves as the central management component of the industrial router. This allows configurations to be rolled out or changed and firmware updates to be centrally managed and remotely installed. As a VPN concentrator with integrated firewall, the Welotec VPN Security Suite supports the creation of automated VPN infrastructures.