There was a need in the agricultural industry for more automation in combines. While attempts have been made to automate combines, the sensors used for detecting the necessary conditions (such as load on the machine and cleanliness of the crop), have been inadequate for the job. Our engineers set out to design an advanced sensor that could detect and monitor the amount and quality of material moving through the combine at any time. The result was our Grain Quality Sensor.
The invention describes a method and system for the automatic adjustment of a combine, or for providing directives to an operator to do the same. Some of the aspects of the system include:
Material flow sensor – Comprising of an acoustic chamber, pneumatic impulse line, microphone, and an electronics module, this sensor captures sound waves created by material flow and analyzes the information.
Grain quality sensor – Comprising of a lens, filter, photosite array, illumination source, and an electronics module, this sensor directs light onto a crop sample, measures the wavelengths of received light, and analyzes the information.
Crop quality sensor – Comprising of an illumination source, imaging device, processor, and software, this sensor uses software to discern between whole and broken kernels.
Crop mass predictive sensor – Comprising of an imaging device, LIDAR, first radar that is absorbed by plant mass, and second radar that passes through plant mass without being absorbed, this sensor is focused on estimating the mass of crop material that is about to enter the combine.
Mobile device – Used as a user interface, the device can receive messages from and transmit messages to the control system of the agricultural machine.
As mentioned, the technology was designed to automatically adjust a combine, but can also send recommended control settings to the display, whereby the operator uses the information to change the settings on the harvesting machine’s internal elements for optimal performance.
See the full description here: U.S. Patent No. 10,085,379 Grain Quality Sensor.