Spring Plugfest 2016
By: Ben Craker A unique event in the ag industry returned to Lincoln, Nebraska; the annual spring “Plugfest” took place the week of May 9th, hosted by the Nebraska Tractor Test Laboratory. Plugfest is a twice a year meeting between member...
Spring Plugfest 2016By: Ben Craker A unique event in the ag industry returned to Lincoln, Nebraska; the annual spring “Plugfest” took place the week of May 9th, hosted by the Nebraska Tractor Test Laboratory. Plugfest is a twice a year meeting between member...
By: Ben Craker
A unique event in the ag industry returned to Lincoln, Nebraska; the annual spring “Plugfest” took place the week of May 9th, hosted by the Nebraska Tractor Test Laboratory. Plugfest is a twice a year meeting between member companies of the Agriculture Industry Electronics Foundation (AEF). The spring event is held every year in Lincoln and the fall Plugfest is hosted at different locations in Europe, planned for Bologna, Italy in September this year.
Plugfest is a chance for manufacturers of agricultural machines, terminals and software programs to get together and test the compatibility of each other’s products under the ISO11783 standard. This spring’s event saw close to 150 participants from 40 different companies participate. During the week more than 1000 tests were conducted at 33 different stations. The tests preformed the compatibility of various different ISO functionalities including UT (Universal Terminal) which corresponds to the ability of an implement to display its operational screens on the terminal, or TC-SC (Section Control) which is the ability for the terminal to be able to automatically switch sections on the implement and off based on areas of the field that have already been covered or are outside the field boundary. This handy document gives a high level overview of each AEF ISOBUS Functionality. Many of the devices being tested at Plugfest are new software revisions or prototype hardware, and the event provides companies with the unique opportunity to test compatibility with a wide range of products to help with development and overall testing.
For products that are available on the market today, AEF hosts the ISOBUS Database website. This site provides a list of different products that have been conformance tested by an independent test lab so farmers and equipment dealers can check what functionalities will work between different terminal-implement combinations without having to actually have the two pieces of equipment physically connected. For example a farmer looking to upgrade to a new planter can log in and check to see what functionalities would be compatible between the new implement and their current tractor. As more and more manufacturers are participating in Plugfest and AEF, in general, there will be more and more equipment loaded into the site, there is already quite an impressive list of equipment for users to choose from.
Another exciting development this year was participation in a team from AgGateway’s ADAPT project participating in Plugfest. AgGateway is a separate industry organization focused on enabling eBusiness in agriculture that has a very close working relationship with AEF. The ADAPT project is focused on solving the issue of all the different file formats generated by various terminals and systems that farmers and ag service providers are forced to manage. As part of the ADAPT open source project, the team was in Lincoln testing an “ISO Plugin.” This plugin will enable the ADAPT framework to be compatible with ISO compliant task files.
It truly was an exciting time for the precision ag industry at this year’s Plugfest. The growing adoption and advancement of the ISO11783 standard being led by AEF is helping farmers get to plug-and-play functionality between tractors, terminals and implements and the work of AgGateway’s ADAPT project showed real progress in being able to solve the issues in data management caused by different, often incompatible task file formats.
Ben Craker is a Manager of Partnerships and Standards for AGCO’s Advanced Technology Solutions group. Connect with Ben on Twitter @crakerb.