Handtmann e-solutions shaping the digital future in the agricultural and municipal sector

Handtmann e-solutions - Schematic sketch of the networked components

Handtmann e-solutions - Schematic sketch of the networked components

Handtmann e-solutions shaping the digital future in the agricultural and municipal sector

Handtmann e-solutions was awarded the contract to develop an IoT gateway and motor control unit and has now successfully delivered the first prototypes for field testing.

The customer is a leading provider in spreading and metering in both the agricultural and municipal sectors (gritting and salting), and this project and the components in it form the basis for its new machine generation.
Handtmann e-solutions handled the hardware and software development, and is also manufacturing these devices at its site in Ochsenhausen.

Extensive technology package

The IoT gateway is a WiFi-based interface between the machine and various control units such as smartphones or tablets. It takes over control of the unit, saves configuration data and allows journeys to be logged using GNSS and inertial sensors. It has other interfaces, for example for also reading in external navigation data, but primarily for actuating CAN/CANopen motor control units.

The CANopen motor control unit can service up to five motors, which can be operated with up to 30 A/12 V, and has outputs for lamps as well as signal inputs for more sensors. The motor control unit’s firmware is specially tailored to the application in order to optimally meet the application-specific requirements.

The development work included the implementation of a security and update concept, i.e. the entire system comprising the firmware for the motor control unit, the Linux operating system and the application for the IoT gateway can be updated over the air (OTA) in the field.

Customer support and service in all phases of the project

The challenges in this project not only included the harsh environmental conditions as regards moisture and contamination, but also the high shock resistance requirements for operation in the fields. Machines in the agricultural sector are getting bigger and bigger, and thus the reliable data transfer via WiFi from the attachment to the driver's cab, which can sometimes be some distance, is an important task. The high navigation accuracy results in more precise and appropriate metering of seeds and fertilisers and thus makes a contribution to sustainable agriculture.

All of this must now be qualified in comprehensive field tests. We are accompanying our customer throughout the entire phase of this field testing in order to put the product into series production once the field test results have been evaluated.