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A smart harvesting machine boosts productivity

24 March 2016

FireFly Equipment and National Instruments (NI) developed a smart machine that harvests turf 20 percent faster while using half the diesel fuel.

FireFly has successfully automated turf stacking, a process traditionally done by hand, thus, improving both productivity and reliability. (Credit: NI)

FireFly Equipment designed a new turf harvesting machine, the ProSlab 155, which combines mechanical, electrical and software systems based on NI’s LabVIEW RIO architecture.

The challenge was to create a high performance, automated turf harvester that reliably and efficiently palletises turf in various farming conditions, while increasing farm productivity, reducing machine operating costs and providing a secure internet gateway to remotely monitor and control the turf harvester.

Using NI’s LabVIEW software and CompactRIO hardware to design the ProSlab 155, the machine harvests turf 20 percent faster and uses half the diesel fuel than other turf harvesting machines. The CompactRIO’s modular I/O enables users to flexibly implement a wide array of sensor types and industrial connectivity. Its real-time controller and reconfigurable FPGA chassis provides a customisable platform to implement complex, highly synchronised control systems.  

These benefits translate into higher revenue and major cost savings for commercial farmers. Since launching ProSlab 155 in 2014, the company is now expanding its facilities to meet increasing market demand while continuing to invest in R&D to leverage the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). As the IIoT evolves, FireFly is now positioned to leverage the LabVIEW RIO architecture and deliver additional value to its customers.

For more information and to watch a video visit the NI website.

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