Remote pump controls beyond cellular reach


Radio remote | Broadcaster One uses digital radio signals to provide instructions and telematics data in the field

WOODSTOCK, Ont. — Liquid manure isn’t the nicest product with which to work and managing the pumps is time consuming.

That’s why John Van Lierop felt his customers would appreciate a reliable remote pump engine controller that works in places where cellular coverage wasn’t available or consistent.

“In this sort of work, you need something that you can count on, no matter what,” said Van Lierop of Sunova Worx in Lakeside, Ont.

To ensure that his new Broadcaster One would work in any location under any weather conditions, Van Lierop’s engineers developed the controller around 900 megahertz, digital radio signals.

“It’s a well proven system in industrial communications,” he said about the controller, which manages tractor or stationary engine and pumping technologies.

The Broadcaster One is an instant control system based in radio telemetry. Because the system doesn’t use a cellular system, there are no calling plan fees, monthly licences, data costs or connection and internet-based delays.

The system moves to a 20 second cool down and then shuts off if it is interrupted or the tractor, engine or pump show signs of failure or fluid loss.

“It fails safe, but its main feature is saving time for operators,” he said.

Running the system only when it is pumping reduces fuel use and machinery wear and ensures that that a proper shutdown protocol is followed during shutdown that allows the engine to cool off.

“And, at two in the morning when you are done for the night, you don’t have to go back out to shut it off. You can do that from the truck, the office or the barn,” he said.

The system starts and stops en-gine r.p.m. and measures power take-off speed, temperature, oil pressure, pump intake and output pressure.

As well, 12 inputs and outputs are available for custom functions: four high speed analog, four analogue and four digital slots.

The remote control can also run automated priming, valve controls, variable speed drive systems and electric pumps for irrigation system feeds and can manage boost pumps in long drag hose setups.

The limitation is that the radio system is functional to only three kilometres, with an additional two km available with an optional repeater station.

It took the company two and half years to develop the controller, and Lierop said it has found markets outside the manure pumping business, with buyers in Western Canada also using it for irrigation control.

Sunova Worx is also developing a cellular and WiFi, smartphone remote application and pump controller.

“That will extend its reach and use the same robust technology that we used in the rest of the system,” said Van Lierop.