Customers often ask us if it is possible to use our Recon Wireless Blockage Monitor to monitor just a couple of runs per manifold versus purchasing a sensor for every run on the air seeder. The answer is, yes…it is possible. While this may be a good opportunity to lower your costs, you are really missing out on much of the value our system provides. We’ve always said our system is so much “more than just a blockage monitor” and after 10 years as a leader in this industry, we have so many examples of major problems uncovered that we would like to point out so you can decide for yourself.
In 2011, we invented the industry’s most reliable and durable flow sensing technology on the market. While most sensing technology uses some kind of electronic sensor, we use acoustics. This allowed us to design a sensor free of ALL electronics and wiring connections. By removing most of the electronics and connection points in a typical system, we dramatically improved the overall reliability and performance.
Now, why is monitoring all runs important? To get the most accurate flow readings across the drill, we need as many data points as possible. This will allow us to display subtle differences in flow across the drill. As you spend some time watching the system in the field, you may notice changes in system performance over time. For example, while watching the flow variance percentages on each manifold, you may find that a section or two may slowly develop more of a negative flow variance. At the start of the day, it may have been near 0% variance, but later on it grew to -20% variance. In this example, the grower stopped to find out why this may be happening and discovered a primary hose had started to wear through and develop a hole where air and eventually seed/fertilizer was blowing out. Because he had our system, he was able to fix the problem (with some good old duct tape) and continued trouble free until he could replace the hoses.
Another key feature is our mass flow number. While the manifold flow variance readings can help give you an idea of changes to product flow for individual sections on the drill, the Mass Flow metric can help you determine possible changes in the whole system. One example that comes to mind is buildup on the meter. In this example the grower was seeding soybeans with a seed treatment that was still somewhat wet and sticky in the cart’s bin. As it metered out throughout the day, the seed coating started to build up on the meter. Over time, the buildup was so great that it started to affect the overall amount being metered into the air system ultimately leading to a reduced seeding rate. He was watching his mass flow number and noticed it was starting to fall throughout the day. He checked he did a calibration check (via bag weight) and found he was metering over 20% less than he intended.
These are things you likely can’t catch with just a standard blockage monitor. Over the past ten years, we have heard hundreds of examples. The more sensors you have, the more insight you can gain. Whether it’s seed or fertilizer, at today’s input prices…you just can’t afford to have mistakes. We’re confident that spending a few thousand dollars more by choosing to monitor all runs will be well worth your investment. Additionally, the incremental cost in going to an all-run Recon system will not be as high since you’ve already purchased the more expensive components for your system.
Don’t take our word for it, check out the video links below. We have bookmarked a few videos that will start at points where our customers talk about some of the examples we described above.