Companies Team for Higher-Tech Planting

Dawn Equipment Co. and 640 Labs, Inc., to collaborate on smart planter technology.

Published on: Dec 11, 2013

Improving planter performance is big business and a new collaboration between Dawn Equipment, Sycamore, Ill., and 640 Labs, a Chicago-based ag analytics firm will offer new tech for planters. With 640 Labs Dawn will have access to the 640 Drive data acquisition device, which will provide ground hardness data and machine control features to enhance Dawn hydraulic actuation products.

Dawn user data will be maintained in a private cloud requiring third party access only through owner permission. With the system the Dawn RFX/RFX+ actuation products, used in conjunction with the Dawn MiFX controller and patented ground hardness sensors will allow for real-time adjustment of down pressure on each row unit.

KEY PART: The Dawn RFX+ planter down pressure product line is a key part of a new system developed by Dawn Equipment with its new partner 640 Labs.
KEY PART: The Dawn RFX+ planter down pressure product line is a key part of a new system developed by Dawn Equipment with its new partner 640 Labs.

With that information, the user would get more consistent depth no matter the soil type. The Dawn product will be available in a range of configurations from three control sections up to row-by-row control, exclusively for John Deere XP planter units.

The Dawn RFX product line integrates accumulators directly into the actuator allowing storage of hydraulic energy. This approach reduces wear on the planter row unit and can cut hydraulic and electric power consumption. That eliminates the need for added electrical generation equipment no matter the planter size - including the largest John Deere DB models.

The MiFX controller plus the RFX+ hydraulic control module would be installed on any row with a ground hardness sensor. The controller uses the existing gauge wheel load sensor included in the John Deere Active Down Pressure kit. Farmers can add ground hardness sensors to any other rows and each MiFX controller has a user-assignable identity that associates it with the appropriate RFX+ integrated control module.

Planter control functions such as the target planter down pressure and zero load calibration setting are configured on the Dawn MiFX iOS app and transmitted via CANBUS to the MiFX controllers. The 640 Drive collects all planter settings, ground hardness sensor readings and GPS information real-time, transmitting it via Bluetooth to an iPad running the Dawn MiFX app. The app allows the farmer to visualize ground hardness data in real time over a satellite map of their field on the iPad. The MiFX control system is typically capable of 1-2 meter data resolution. If a mobile data network is available, ground hardness maps can be automatically uploaded to the 640 Labs Dashboard, or data can be stored locally and uploaded at a later time. The app will be available on the Apple App store.

The 640 Drive Adaptor optimized for Dawn and bundled with the MiFX iOS app sells for $1,000. The Dawn RFX/MiFX system, set up for a 16-row 1770NT planter with a 3-section installation will have an average per-row cost of $595, row-by-row control raises the price to $985 per row. Learn more at www.dawnequipment.com.