Control and business processes – from the field into the cloud

Last year, GEA Farm Technologies won a silver medal for product innovation from the German Farming Society for its superordinate farm management information system. GEA's dairy farm enterprise software DairyNet is integrated into the manufacturer-independent business management software 365FarmNet. The company of the same name offers software-based services for livestock and crop farming in the 365FarmNet cloud.

emlix supports GEA in this complex project on multiple levels – but always from the perspective of the mode of function of the overall solution. Individual part-projects are located at the local control and regulation level. This typically applies to processes which would be far too slow if they were rooted via the cloud. For a robot-controlled milking machine, for example, the CAN performance for the automatic locating of the milk cups on the teats had to be improved.

Hidden behind this joint venture is nothing less than an IoT solution for agricultural businesses. Operating data from milking robots and carousels, selection gates and automatic feeding stations is aggregated and made available to the farmer, as is the data from all the animals kept by the business, their behaviour and their health status. A continual bidirectional exchange between the enterprise level and the field level takes place. According to requirements, data aggregation and evaluation can take place either locally or in the secured 365FarmNet cloud. The farmer uses the system via a unified, web-based user interface.

The significantly more complex part-projects, however, are at the level of process control and operation, at which the compatibility with 365FarmNet must be ensured as well as the backwards compatibility with "old" systems existing in the field. Here also, diverse processes must be managed both locally and in the 365FarmNet cloud.

In order to realize complex process control at these levels, among others Java SE and EE are utilized as well as Jetty and JBoss. At the regulation level REST services are used.

Beyond this, emlix is involved with the optimization of the central operating computer. The indispensable data and manipulation security is realized using a hardened, maintainable Linux operating system platform.

The emlix part-project leaders regularly take part in the sprint meetings of the GEA team, which is organized according to the SCRUM procedure. They are also involved in conceptional and software architecture decision-making.