User experience fosters brand success

A smart agricultural equipment manufacturer depends on Avnet and key technology providers for a customized equipment control solution so it can focus on software and equipment development. Custom ruggedized embedded computing and touch displays deliver innovative human-machine interaction (HMI) on tractors and other agricultural equipment, while delivering long life in a punishing environment.

Challenge: Reliable, long-term availability of system components

The word “rugged” may as well have been invented to describe the requirements of working in agriculture, where heat, dust, liquids, vibration and mud are everyday elements. On today’s farms, high tech is a key complement to the traditional farmer’s grit. In this case, a producer of precision agriculture solutions needs systems built specifically for control of farm equipment that can stand up to that harsh environment over an extended lifecycle.

Tractor working in field

A key product differentiator in this market segment is usability, provided by a high-quality user interface to support capabilities such as automated guidance and control, data processing and communication among farm machinery. Yet, in order to focus on those requirements, a solution provider in this market needs a partner that can reliably supply the fully custom HMI systems and other technologies that go into their solutions—plus the related integration expertise.

Solution: Advanced industrial automation for rural use

For this customer, Avnet provides a fully custom, ruggedized solution that supports the superior end-user experience it seeks to deliver to equipment operators. Based on embedded system technologies, the solution uses a ruggedized panel PC that includes a specialized die-cast aluminum cooler and custom housing, as well as a custom board that incorporates all electronics on a single printed circuit board.

Reliable long-term availability of the components that underlie the solution ensure that it will remain viable in production over the long term, optimizing the company’s investment in design and development, while limiting service costs.

Results: Powering best-in-class solutions for smart agriculture

By maintaining dependable, long-term availability of solution components, Avnet frees its customer to focus on innovation around its core expertise. The custom technologies that enable the solution are available on timelines and at price points that are comparable to industry standards for off-the-shelf parts, enhancing competitiveness.

The resulting solution provides a superior end-customer experience, regarded by many as the best-in-class user interface for tractor control in smart agriculture. The ability to provide that added customer value sets the stage for the provider to enhance market segment share and pursue increased profitability.

Summary of business challenges

  • Technology guidance: Systems expertise to complement customer’s domain expertise
  • Harsh operating environments: Rigorous demands for ruggedization in the field
  • Robust user experience: Advanced human-machine interface (HMI) requirements
  • Extended lifecycle: 10+ years availability plus several years additional maintenance period

Key capabilities of the solution

  • Full customization of ruggedized panel PC
  • Highly specialized die-cast aluminum cooler and housing
  • Provision of custom single-board solution with processor and all supporting electronics

Key technologies

  • Custom embedded board
  • Processors
  • Thin-film transistor (TFT) and plasma control technology (PCT) liquid crystal displays (LCDs)
 

 

Download this smart agriculture use case in PDF.

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