Eclipse Glasses and Ag Tech

Whether you want to stare at a solar eclipse or connect your planter to your tractor, there is likely an International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standard that helps ensure you are using the correct product configurations and hardware to get the results you desire.

August 22, 2017 by Fuse

Eclipse Glasses and Ag Tech

Whether you want to stare at a solar eclipse or connect your planter to your tractor, there is likely an International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standard that helps ensure you are using the correct product configurations and hardware to get the results you desire.

Featured image credit: NASA.gov

The kids safely enjoying the eclipse through their ISO-certified glasses.

The recent news in the U.S. regarding glasses for people to use to watch the eclipse yesterday brings up a good point. There were concerns if the different glasses were suitable for viewing the eclipse. “What glasses are safe for the solar eclipse?” was a top eclipse question on Google. The rule of thumb was if the ISO globe logo was on the glasses they were safe to use. But, what does that logo really mean? What are ISO standards, and what purpose do they serve?

Many people may not be aware of all the ISO standards that are available. Most of the time when we talk about precision farming, we refer to the ISO11783 standard used to enable multiple brands of tractors and implements to “talk” to each other and share data with Financial Management Information Systems (FMIS) electronically. But there are many, many more ISO standards that relate to different industries and applications.

ISO certified glasses

No safety concerns here. We were ISO-compliant with our solar eclipse glasses.

For example the glasses used for viewing an eclipse with the ISO logo meet the ISO12312-2 standard for products intended for direct observation of the sun. A group of experts from different companies, universities, and areas of expertise, likely from all over the globe, collaborated to define the requirements for eyewear to be safe to view the sun. Now, when eclipses and other events happen when people want to stare at the sun, they can refer to a standard that an ISO committee looks after to know that, if the glasses meet the requirements, they will be safe. This is why the advice in the news was to find a pair of glasses with the ISO logo on them, indicating the glasses met this standard.

Similarly a group of experts worked to define the ISO11783 standard that defines how different tractors, implements and FMISs will communicate and share information electronically. AGCO is a big supporter of this effort and most AGCO tractors and implements have some level of compatibility to the standard. AGCO has engineers that work within the ISO technical committee 23, subcommittee 19 that is responsible for the standard.

AGCO also has people involved in the Agricultural Industry Electronics Foundation (AEF) as well. The AEF provides implementation guidelines for the standard. Since the process for multiple agricultural machines to communicate with each other is quite complicated, there can occasionally be different interpretations of the standard. This is where AEF developed conformance tests for the ISO standard. They broke the standard (which has 14 different parts) down into functionality groups. For example an implement that passes the TC-SC conformance test meets the minimum requirements to enable section control on the implement. A tractor that passes the TC-SC conformance test meets the requirements on the terminal/tractor side of the relationship to enable section control. Now farmers, equipment dealers, and other people interested in tractor-implement compatibility can use the AEF Database to compare different machines, even with different software revisions to see what functionalities will work for the different combinations that interest them.

So, whether you want to stare at the sun or connect you planter to your tractor, there is likely an ISO standard that could help ensure you are using the correct product configurations and hardware to get the results you desire.

For more information about AGCO’s approach to data standards and our open approach, visit https://www.agcotechnologies.com/service-providers/.

Written by Ben Craker
Ben Craker is a Product Manager for Data, Partnerships and Standards for AGCO’s Global Fuse precision farming group. Connect with Ben on Twitter @crakerb.

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