WECO Electronic Fruit & Vegetable Sorter Case Study

The Problem

Woodside Electronics Corporation (WECO) manufactures and services electronic fruit and vegetable sorters used by food processors to improve worker productivity. Thousands of WECO machines are deployed throughout the world, many of which are leased. Software upgrades for each harvest season are included with each lease, which means updates occur frequently. And as most machines are not connected to the Internet, the updates must be done manually.

In order to update equipment software, WECO technicians attached their laptops to each machine and uploaded the new software. The manual updates often took a significant amount of time and led to problems as a result of improper data entry.

The laptops were also not ideal for the rugged environments in which WECO’s products operate. In one year, WECO lost and/or damaged 15 laptops while conducting software updates. Additionally, many WECO machines are located in countries where language and PC computer knowledge issues with local service personnel existed.

A Solution

WECO turned to ATEK Access Technologies for its Datakey Serial Memory tokens and panel-mount receptacles. The rugged, portable memory system provides WECO with an easier and more efficient way to administer software updates.

“We decided to use removable storage to easily administer software updates in the field,” said Don Cadwell, Director of Engineering for WECO. “We looked at using USB flash drives and CompactFlash cards, but the environment conditions proved challenging. Some locations face near freezing conditions, while others in the central valley of California deal with dust, dirt and temperatures topping 100 degrees. The Datakey solution was the only product available that we felt could survive the challenging environments in which our equipment is located.”

Additionally, the Datakey memory tokens are fully integrated into the WECO operator interface. This makes it easier to use in countries with language barriers and varying levels of service personnel computer knowledge.

“The service technician simply plugs in the Datakey memory token which contains the software updates and presses a button on the touch screen,” Cadwell said. “The rest is automatic.”

WECO customers also use the memory tokens for storing software settings. Since a lot of WECO’s machines are leased, customers aren’t guaranteed to get the same machine back each year for the harvest.

“This is especially useful for our customers with several machines because they can use the same memory token on multiple machines,” said Cadwell.

The Datakey memory token also provides a way to reliably store days of crop yield data gathered by harvester mounted sorters. WECO customers who use a cellular or radio data link use the memory token for backup storage when the link is not operational. They can store more than 80 hours of harvest data.

Case Study Results

WECO says it has realized labor savings and improved customer service since implementing the Datakey memory tokens.

“The ability to store machine configuration data on the Datakey memory token provides our production personnel a simple way to initialize new machines without having to manually enter configuration and settings data,” said Cadwell. “This not only saves time, but also removes the possibility of mistakes being made during data entry.”

WECO has also improved its offering to customers by allowing them to save their preferred settings and access them on multiple machines. Some customers have as many as 20 parallel processing lines utilizing the WECO sorting systems. Once one line is set up, the memory token enables them to quickly and easily transfer those settings to multiple machines without the possibility of data entry mistakes.

“We’ve been using the memory tokens for four harvesting seasons, and I haven’t heard of a single socket or memory token failure in the field,” said Cadwell.

Leave a Reply

Specialty Crops Stories
DronesWhen High Value Crops Meet Inaccessible Areas: How Drones and Multispectral Imagery are Giving Farmers an Edge
April 12, 2018
Avocados are one of the few crops in Chile that can economically be commercially cultivated on hills. On one hand Read More
Almond-trees-blooming
Sensors/IoTWhy Virtual Sensors Could Save California’s At-Risk Almond Yields
April 12, 2018
To say that the Golden State can lay claim to the title of king of almonds might be an understatement. Read More
Lettuce-field
Specialty CropsTaylor Farms, Plug and Play Partner to Further Innovation in Food Industry
April 11, 2018
Taylor Farms, a leading producer of value-added healthy fresh foods, and Plug and Play, the world’s largest global innovation platform Read More
CROO Robotics’ automated strawberry harvester
Robotics/Labor SaversSpecialty Crops: Get in Gear Now for Agriculture’s Robotic Revolution
April 11, 2018
While the immigration debate rages on in Washington, DC, with little chance for reform in sight, the uncertain labor picture Read More
Trending Articles
Farm-Storm-Clouds-Photo-Eden-Hills
Data ManagementThe Precipitation Problem in Agriculture
April 17, 2018
Precipitation is arguably the most important agricultural weather parameter, yet it is the most difficult variable to precisely measure. For Read More
SDSU-drone
Business ManagementInside the Key Strategies For Selling Precision Ag Services
April 13, 2018
In its earliest manifestation, the motive for developing precision agriculture service was entirely pure. Agronomists knew that crops were responding Read More
CROO Robotics’ automated strawberry harvester
Robotics/Labor SaversSpecialty Crops: Get in Gear Now for Agriculture’s Robotic Revolution
April 11, 2018
While the immigration debate rages on in Washington, DC, with little chance for reform in sight, the uncertain labor picture Read More
InSiteDCM
Business ManagementDelivering on Ag Data Value
April 3, 2018
Bruce Baier is another deeply experienced precision agriculture manager who survived the early years of ag technology while riding the Read More
University-of-Georgia-photo-credit-USDA
Business Management25 Best Colleges for Precision Agriculture
March 21, 2018
Choosing the right college is a process. It’s one that I’m just now embarking on with my teenage daughter. Long Read More
Farmer-tablet
Decision Support SoftwareOpinion: The Missing Link in Precision Agriculture
March 15, 2018
The agtech boom over the last two years is indeed astonishing. Farmers are becoming more open to new, emerging technologies Read More
Latest News
Sentera-FieldAgent
Industry NewsSentera, The Climate Corp. Partner to Enhance Agronomic…
April 24, 2018
Climate FieldView customers can now enjoy seamless integration of Sentera FieldAgent on-field sensor and analytics products with FieldView, as well Read More
Field Sprayer
Sensors/IoTHere’s What’s Working with the Internet of Things ̷…
April 24, 2018
With the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT), we are now seeing farmers use more wireless technologies to increase Read More
Case-Header-2
Industry NewsAustralian Company Offers On Combine Analysis Technolog…
April 24, 2018
Next Instruments is an Australian manufacturer of instrumentation for the grains and food industries. Over the last 5 years Next Read More
corn field
Industry NewsNutrient Ag Solutions Launching New Digital Farming Pla…
April 24, 2018
Nutrien’s retail division – soon to be rebranded as Nutrien Ag Solutions – has announced the launch of a new Read More
Industry NewsClimate Corp Announces 5 New FieldView Integrations
April 23, 2018
The Climate Corporation announced the addition of five industry-leading partners to The Climate Corporation’s Climate FieldView digital agriculture platform. The Read More
Laura_Crook_WinterWheat_Blackgrass_PrecisionAg
Industry NewsKansas Software Outfit Ag Developer Announces agX Integ…
April 23, 2018
Ag Developer, a Kansas based software development company, is simplifying grower/advisor communications by connecting to the agX Platform, according to Read More
field_in_back_1000_wd-featured-image
Industry NewsAyrstone Introduces High-Speed WiFi System for Farms
April 20, 2018
WiFi has become a necessity, and a proliferation of new WiFi devices have come to market for urban homes and Read More
Indian-Agriculture
AsiaIndian IoT Platform for Pre and Post Harvest Raises See…
April 19, 2018
Indian startup AgNext has raised an undisclosed seed round led by India-focused Agtech VC Omnivore Partners along with Singaporean angel Read More
Bayer-Forward-Farming
Industry NewsMaryland Farm Opens as Hub of Learning about Sustainabl…
April 19, 2018
Fourth-generation Maryland farmer Trey Hill measures the success of his operation not just by how many bushels of corn, soybeans, Read More
THRIVE
Industry NewsAgritech Startup Backers Announce New Corporate Partner…
April 18, 2018
Entering its fourth year, the THRIVE Venture & Innovation platform announced today the nine finalists and investment in its spring Read More
computer-in-field
EventsFinding Our Way in the Business of Precision Agricultur…
April 17, 2018
Service providers are the essential link between precision agriculture products and practices and the farmers who are increasingly relying on Read More
Farm-Storm-Clouds-Photo-Eden-Hills
Data ManagementThe Precipitation Problem in Agriculture
April 17, 2018
Precipitation is arguably the most important agricultural weather parameter, yet it is the most difficult variable to precisely measure. For Read More
Digital-Farming
Business Management7 Factors That Could Make or Break Digital Farming
April 13, 2018
Digital farming is the new technology genie – a genie that is now out of the bottle and cannot be Read More
SDSU-drone
Business ManagementInside the Key Strategies For Selling Precision Ag Serv…
April 13, 2018
In its earliest manifestation, the motive for developing precision agriculture service was entirely pure. Agronomists knew that crops were responding Read More
Facebook-phone
Data ManagementWhat Lessons Can the Ag Industry Learn from the Faceboo…
April 12, 2018
Today, a seemingly endless amount of ag data flows from growers’ fields into a host of technology platforms. It is Read More
DronesWhen High Value Crops Meet Inaccessible Areas: How Dron…
April 12, 2018
Avocados are one of the few crops in Chile that can economically be commercially cultivated on hills. On one hand Read More
Almond-trees-blooming
Sensors/IoTWhy Virtual Sensors Could Save California’s At-Ri…
April 12, 2018
To say that the Golden State can lay claim to the title of king of almonds might be an understatement. Read More
AgJunction, InfoAg 2014, Autosteer, GPS
Industry NewsAgJunction Launches Online Store, Low Cost Guidance Sys…
April 12, 2018
AgJunction today announced the opening of the HandsFreeFarm.com online store to bring low-cost, simple-to-use precision agriculture solutions direct to all Read More