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Download the PDF: Seed Hawk Story

Background
Seed Hawk manufactures market-leading, large, no-till, air-seeder systems in Western Canada with over 2,200 machines in the field since their founding. Seed Hawk has always been pushing the envelope of technology. Their previous partners would adapt “off the shelf” systems to control the machines, but Seed Hawk found themselves being limited on their ability to incorporate new features as a result. They found themselves in a position where their partner would not work with them to innovate as fast as they would like, and even more, would take the technology that was developed with them to their competitors. Seed Hawk wanted a new partner — one that would incorporate all of their ideas into a truly custom solution.

Challenge
Not only did Seed Hawk want a custom control system solution, they also wanted Appareo to help them design the entire electronics architecture. Appareo set off on a multi-million dollar, multi-year development project to design an entire electronics system for an air seeder, the control logic, and the user experience to accompany the system. It was a full rewrite of their current features and the implementation of their dream features. Every aspect of the system was designed and implemented from the ground up.

Solution
The Seed Hawk air seeder control system, named iCon™, is a custom solution that incorporates a distributed system of power modules that are commanded by the gateway to execute certain tasks, such as: turning electrical motors for the seed metering system, actuating hydraulic valves, controlling fan speeds, powering lights, and more. To accurately understand the amount of product being dispensed from massive grain carts, the system also incorporates load cells under each bin. The control system monitors and controls each of these aspects of the machine to create a nearly-autonomous air seeder system. While driving through the field, the system monitors GPS location and speed to determine if it is approaching an area it has already seeded, or areas that are not meant to be seeded. When it approaches a “no-seed” zone, it calculates how long it will take to get there and appropriately stops meter motors and lifts the appropriate sections out of the ground so it does not disturb previously seeded areas. All of the operational information is displayed to the user on an iPad wirelessly. The iPad allows the user to perform out-of-cab operations with ease, such as calibrations and look-ahead adjustments. A cloud based system to transfer prescription map files to and from the machine was also implemented to create a fully stand-alone system.

Results
Seed Hawk has seen incredible success with this system. After launch, they sold their entire allotment of iCon systems in just a few short weeks. Customers were incredibly eager to get their hands on the new system and it proved to be a big hit. The new system is so customized to the operation of a Seed Hawk machine that it creates a very easy-to-use air seeder. No more messing around with sub-menus that are meant for a different application altogether. The Seed Hawk iCon system has truly raised the bar for air seeder user experience and has set Seed Hawk on a path to growing market share.