Special Issue "Smart machines, Remote Sensing, Precision Farming, Processes, Mechatronic, Materials and Policies for Safety and Health Aspects"

A special issue of Agriculture (ISSN 2077-0472).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 October 2017)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Andrea Colantoni

Department of Agricultural and Forestry scieNcEs (DAFNE), University of Tuscia, Via S. Camillo de Lellis, SNC, 01100 Viterbo, Italy
E-Mail
Interests: agricultural mechanics and mechanization; renewable energy, safety and health
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Danilo Monarca

Department of Agricultural and Forestry scieNcEs (DAFNE), University of Tuscia, Via S. Camillo de Lellis, SNC, 01100 Viterbo, Italy
E-Mail
Interests: agricultural mechanics and mechanization; renewable energy, safety and health
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Massimo Cecchini

Department of Agricultural and Forestry scieNcEs (DAFNE), University of Tuscia, Via S. Camillo de Lellis, SNC, 01100 Viterbo, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: agricultural mechanics and mechanization; renewable energy, safety and health
Guest Editor
Dr. Laurendi Vincenzo

National Institute for Insurance against Accidents at Work (INAIL). Via Fontana Candida, 1- 00078 Monte Porzio Catone (RM), Italy
E-Mail
Interests: agricultural mechanics and mechanization; safety and health
Guest Editor
Dr. Villarini Mauro

DAFNE - Department of Agricultural and Forestry scieNcEs (DAFNE). via S. Camillo De Lellis snc -01100. Viterbo - Italy
E-Mail
Interests: renewable energy; Fire and Building Safety
Guest Editor
Dr. Filippo Gambella

Università degli Studi di Sassari, Department of Agraria, Sassari, Italy
E-Mail
Interests: agricultural mechanics and mechanization; renewable energy, safety and health

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The introduction of "smart machines" for agricultural operations will allow several advantages, such as an increase in their efficiencies, a reduction in environmental impacts and a reduction of work injuries. There are partially- and fully-automatic devices for most aspects of agricultural functions, from seeding and planting to harvesting, from spraying to livestock management, and so on. Moreover "precision farming", using sensors and robotic technologies are applied to existing systems. Work health and safety are also linked to the use of modern technologies, e.g., the protection of machinery operators from crush, entanglement, and shearing by means of mechatronic solutions. Another aspect is the use of robots and smart automation, which can also benefit from the gathering of operational data, such as machine condition and fleet monitoring, allowing preventive maintenance and improved fleet management. Considerable advances in sensing hardware, information technologies, smart systems, and software algorithms, have led to significant new developments in the areas of equipment health monitoring, fault diagnosis, and prognosis. These advances enable industries to undergo a fundamental shift towards condition-based maintenance to improve equipment availability and readiness at reduced operating costs throughout the system life-cycle. The emergence of sensor networks is also bringing the possibility of collective learning algorithms and decision-theoretic approaches to facilitate effective and scalable diagnostic/prognostic technology for widespread deployment of condition-based maintenance. The mentioned technological development is applicable to the relevant context of safety engineering. Furthermore, energy, safety and agriculture have an important role in reducing environmental emissions. All the systems aimed at the management of energy, safety, and environment are performed and optimized by means of innovative technologies, materials, processes, and methods.

The purpose of this Special Issue is to publish high-quality research papers, as well as review articles, addressing recent advances on systems, processes, and materials for work safety, health, and environment. Original, high-quality contributions that have not yet been published, or that are not currently under review by other journals or peer-reviewed conferences, are sought.

Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

Materials

  • Study of man–machine dialogue systems.
  • Analysis on towed or carried machines: Forestry chippers, manure spreaders, round balers and others.
  • Safety and Health management system design and engineering.
  • Safety and Health monitoring sensors and sensing.
  • Data-driven methods for anomaly detection, diagnosis and prognosis.
  • Precision farming
  • Mechatronic

Processes

  • Innovative methods.
  • Systems integration.
  • Automotive and agriculture machinery applications.
  • Agricultural automation.
  • Precision farming machinery.
  • Sensors.
  • Condition monitoring.
  • Material and methods on Precision Farming.

Systems

  • Engineering and optimization.
  • System engineering concepts.
  • Engineering of hybrid and integrated systems and their efficiency maximization, especially for safety and health purposes, aimed to injuries and accidents reduction.
  • Use of remote sensor and mechatronic systems applied in several aspects.

Dr. Andrea Colantoni
Dr. Monarca Danilo
Dr. Cecchini Massimo
Dr. Laurendi Vincenzo
Dr. Villarini Mauro
Dr. Filippo Gambella
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Agriculture is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 550 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Agriculture Engineering
  • Mechatronic
  • Sensors
  • Safety Engineering
  • Fire and Building Safety
  • Precision farming

Published Papers (9 papers)

View options order results:
result details:
Displaying articles 1-9
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Jump to: Review, Other

Open AccessArticle Analysis of Possible Noise Reduction Arrangements inside Olive Oil Mills: A Case Study
Agriculture 2017, 7(10), 88; doi:10.3390/agriculture7100088
Received: 9 August 2017 / Revised: 10 October 2017 / Accepted: 11 October 2017 / Published: 16 October 2017
PDF Full-text (2034 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Apulia (Southern Italy) is the leading Italian region for the production of olive oil (115 × 106 kg of oil/year), and the olive oil chain is really important from a business point of view. Currently, the extraction of olive oil is essentially
[...] Read more.
Apulia (Southern Italy) is the leading Italian region for the production of olive oil (115 × 106 kg of oil/year), and the olive oil chain is really important from a business point of view. Currently, the extraction of olive oil is essentially performed by using a mechanical pressing process (traditional olive oil mills), or by the centrifugation process (modern olive oil mills). The aim of this paper is to evaluate in detail the noise levels within a typical olive oil mill located in the northern part of the Apulia region during olive oil extraction. The feasibility of this study focusing on the assessment of workers’ exposure to noise was tested in compliance with the Italian-European Regulations and US standards and criteria. Several measurements of the noise emission produced by each machine belonging to the productive cycle were carried out during olive oil production. The results obtained were then used to evaluate possible improvements to carry out in order to achieve better working conditions. An effective reduction in noise could probably be achieved through a combination of different solutions, which obviously have to be assessed not only from a technical point of view but also an economic one. A significant reduction in noise levels could be achieved by increasing the area of the room allotted to the olive oil extraction cycle by removing all the unnecessary partition walls that might be present. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Monitoring and Precision Spraying for Orchid Plantation with Wireless WebCAMs
Agriculture 2017, 7(10), 87; doi:10.3390/agriculture7100087
Received: 7 September 2017 / Revised: 27 September 2017 / Accepted: 3 October 2017 / Published: 11 October 2017
PDF Full-text (4955 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Through processing images taken from wireless WebCAMs on the low altitude remote sensing (LARS) platform, this research monitored crop growth, pest, and disease information in a dendrobium orchid’s plantation. Vegetetative indices were derived for distinguishing different stages of crop growth, and the infestation
[...] Read more.
Through processing images taken from wireless WebCAMs on the low altitude remote sensing (LARS) platform, this research monitored crop growth, pest, and disease information in a dendrobium orchid’s plantation. Vegetetative indices were derived for distinguishing different stages of crop growth, and the infestation density of pests and diseases. Image data was processed through an algorithm created in MATLAB® (The MathWorks, Inc., Natick, USA). Corresponding to the orchid’s growth stage and its infestation density, varying levels of fertilizer and chemical injections were administered. The acquired LARS images from wireless WebCAMs were positioned using geo-referencing, and eventually processed to estimate vegetative-indices (Red = 650 nm and NIR = 800 nm band center). Good correlations and a clear cluster range were obtained in characteristic plots of the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and the green normalized difference vegetation index (GNDVI) against chlorophyll content. The coefficient of determination, the chlorophyll content values (μmol m−2) showed significant differences among clusters for healthy orchids (R2 = 0.985–0.992), and for infested orchids (R2 = 0.984–0.998). The WebCAM application, while being inexpensive, provided acceptable inputs for image processing. The LARS platform gave its best performance at an altitude of 1.2 m above canopy. The image processing software based on LARS images provided satisfactory results as compared with manual measurements. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Energy and Carbon Impact of Precision Livestock Farming Technologies Implementation in the Milk Chain: From Dairy Farm to Cheese Factory
Agriculture 2017, 7(10), 79; doi:10.3390/agriculture7100079
Received: 31 July 2017 / Revised: 7 September 2017 / Accepted: 19 September 2017 / Published: 21 September 2017
PDF Full-text (459 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Precision Livestock Farming (PLF) is being developed in livestock farms to relieve the human workload and to help farmers to optimize production and management procedure. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the consequences in energy intensity and the related carbon impact,
[...] Read more.
Precision Livestock Farming (PLF) is being developed in livestock farms to relieve the human workload and to help farmers to optimize production and management procedure. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the consequences in energy intensity and the related carbon impact, from dairy farm to cheese factory, due to the implementation of a real-time milk analysis and separation (AfiMilk MCS) in milking parlors. The research carried out involved three conventional dairy farms, the collection and delivery of milk from dairy farms to cheese factory and the processing line of a traditional soft cheese into a dairy factory. The AfiMilk MCS system installed in the milking parlors allowed to obtain a large number of information related to the quantity and quality of milk from each individual cow and to separate milk with two different composition (one with high coagulation properties and the other one with low coagulation properties), with different percentage of separation. Due to the presence of an additional milkline and the AfiMilk MCS components, the energy requirements and the related environmental impact at farm level were slightly higher, among 1.1% and 4.4%. The logistic of milk collection was also significantly reorganized in view of the collection of two separate type of milk, hence, it leads an increment of 44% of the energy requirements. The logistic of milk collection and delivery represents the process which the highest incidence in energy consumption occurred after the installation of the PLF technology. Thanks to the availability of milk with high coagulation properties, the dairy plant, produced traditional soft cheese avoiding the standardization of the formula, as a result, the energy uses decreased about 44%, while considering the whole chain, the emissions of carbon dioxide was reduced by 69%. In this study, the application of advance technologies in milking parlors modified not only the on-farm management but mainly the procedure carried out in cheese making plant. This aspect makes precision livestock farming implementation unimportant technology that may provide important benefits throughout the overall milk chain, avoiding about 2.65 MJ of primary energy every 100 kg of processed milk. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Adoption of Web-Based Spatial Tools by Agricultural Producers: Conversations with Seven Northeastern Ontario Farmers Using the GeoVisage Decision Support System
Agriculture 2017, 7(8), 69; doi:10.3390/agriculture7080069
Received: 9 June 2017 / Revised: 2 August 2017 / Accepted: 2 August 2017 / Published: 8 August 2017
PDF Full-text (7409 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper reports on the findings of a multi-site qualitative case study research project designed to document the utility and perceived usefulness of weather station and imagery data associated with the online resource GeoVisage among northeastern Ontario farmers. Interviews were conducted onsite at
[...] Read more.
This paper reports on the findings of a multi-site qualitative case study research project designed to document the utility and perceived usefulness of weather station and imagery data associated with the online resource GeoVisage among northeastern Ontario farmers. Interviews were conducted onsite at five participating farms (three dairy, one cash crop, and one public access fruit/vegetable) in 2014–2016, and these conversations were transcribed and returned to participants for member checking. Interview data was then entered into Atlas.ti software for the purpose of qualitative thematic analysis. Fifteen codes emerged from the data and findings center around three overarching themes: common uses of weather station data (e.g., air/soil temperature, rainfall); the use of GeoVisage Imagery data/tools (e.g., acreage calculations, remotely sensed imagery); and future recommendations for the online resource (e.g., communication, secure crop imagery, mobile access). Overall, weather station data and tools freely accessible through the GeoVisage site were viewed as representing a timely, positive, and important addition to contemporary agricultural decision-making in northeastern Ontario farming. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Safety-Critical Manuals for Agricultural Tractor Drivers: A Method to Improve Their Usability
Agriculture 2017, 7(8), 67; doi:10.3390/agriculture7080067
Received: 4 July 2017 / Revised: 30 July 2017 / Accepted: 31 July 2017 / Published: 4 August 2017
PDF Full-text (5643 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This work sets out the planning phases adopted for the first time to put together a manual on injury and accident prevention in the use of farm tractors. The goal is to convey information more effectively than at present, while taking the end
[...] Read more.
This work sets out the planning phases adopted for the first time to put together a manual on injury and accident prevention in the use of farm tractors. The goal is to convey information more effectively than at present, while taking the end users’ opinions into consideration. The manual was devised, created, and tested based on a human-centred design (HCD) process, which identified the operators’ requirements using a participatory ergonomics (PE) strategy. The main topics of the manual were outlined by engaging the users in a qualitative research activity (i.e., focus groups and workshops with final users), and the contents were prioritized and labelled by way of a noun prioritization activity. The users were involved right up to the choice of graphics and print layout in order to orient the publication to the farming context. The research activity highlighted a divergence between the operators’ requirements and the topics currently dealt with in the sector publications. The project resulted in the publication of the “Safe Tractor” manual, which features some innovations. The experience highlighted the need to adopt HCD processes to create innovative editorial products, which can help speed up the dissemination of safety culture in the primary sector. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Precision Farming in Hilly Areas: The Use of Network RTK in GNSS Technology
Agriculture 2017, 7(7), 60; doi:10.3390/agriculture7070060
Received: 21 June 2017 / Revised: 14 July 2017 / Accepted: 19 July 2017 / Published: 20 July 2017
PDF Full-text (3177 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The number of GNSS satellites has greatly increased over the last few decades, which has led to increased interest in developing self-propelled vehicles. Even agricultural vehicles have a great potential for use of these systems. In fact, it is possible to improve the
[...] Read more.
The number of GNSS satellites has greatly increased over the last few decades, which has led to increased interest in developing self-propelled vehicles. Even agricultural vehicles have a great potential for use of these systems. In fact, it is possible to improve the efficiency of machining in terms of their uniformity, reduction of fertilizers, pesticides, etc. with the aim of (i) reducing the timeframes of cultivation operations with significant economic benefits and, above all, (ii) decreasing environmental impact. These systems face some perplexity in hilly environments but, with specific devices, it is possible to overcome any signal deficiencies. In hilly areas then, the satellite-based system can also be used to safeguard operators’ safety from the risk of rollover. This paper reports the results obtained from a rural development program (RDP) in the Lazio Region 2007/2013 (measure project 1.2.4) for the introduction and diffusion of GNSS satellites systems in hilly areas. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Identification of Optimal Mechanization Processes for Harvesting Hazelnuts Based on Geospatial Technologies in Sicily (Southern Italy)
Agriculture 2017, 7(7), 56; doi:10.3390/agriculture7070056
Received: 19 June 2017 / Revised: 5 July 2017 / Accepted: 6 July 2017 / Published: 9 July 2017
PDF Full-text (2295 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Sicily is a region located in the southern Italy. Its typical Mediterranean landscape is appreciated due to its high biodiversity. Specifically, hazelnut plantations have adapted in a definite area in Sicily (the Nebroidi park) due to specific morphological and climatic characteristics. However, many
[...] Read more.
Sicily is a region located in the southern Italy. Its typical Mediterranean landscape is appreciated due to its high biodiversity. Specifically, hazelnut plantations have adapted in a definite area in Sicily (the Nebroidi park) due to specific morphological and climatic characteristics. However, many of these plantations are not used today due to adverse conditions, both to collect hazelnuts and to reach hazel groves. Though a geospatial analysis, the present paper aims to identify which hazelnut contexts can be actively used for agricultural, economic (e.g., introduction of a circular economy) and energetic purposes (to establish a potential agro-energetic district). The examination revealed the most suitable areas giving several criteria (e.g., slope, road system), ensuring an effective cultivation and consequent harvesting of hazelnuts and (ii) providing security for the operators since many of hazelnut plants are placed in very sloped contexts that are difficult to reach by traditional machines. In this sense, this paper also suggests optimal mechanization processes for harvesting hazelnuts in this part of Sicily. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Review

Jump to: Research, Other

Open AccessReview Whole-Body Vibration in Farming: Background Document for Creating a Simplified Procedure to Determine Agricultural Tractor Vibration Comfort
Agriculture 2017, 7(10), 84; doi:10.3390/agriculture7100084
Received: 19 July 2017 / Revised: 25 September 2017 / Accepted: 26 September 2017 / Published: 29 September 2017
PDF Full-text (3280 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Operator exposure to high levels of whole-body vibration (WBV) presents risks to health and safety and it is reported to worsen or even cause back injuries. Work activities resulting in operator exposure to whole-body vibration have a common onset in off-road work such
[...] Read more.
Operator exposure to high levels of whole-body vibration (WBV) presents risks to health and safety and it is reported to worsen or even cause back injuries. Work activities resulting in operator exposure to whole-body vibration have a common onset in off-road work such as farming. Despite the wide variability of agricultural surface profiles, studies have shown that with changing soil profile and tractor speed, the accelerations resulting from ground input present similar spectral trends. While on the one hand such studies confirmed that tractor WBV emission levels are very dependent upon the nature of the operation performed, on the other, irrespective of the wide range of conditions characterizing agricultural operations, they led researchers to set up a possible and realistic simplification and standardization of tractor driver comfort testing activities. The studies presented herewith indicate the usefulness, and the possibility, of developing simplified procedures to determine agricultural tractor vibration comfort. The results obtained could be used effectively to compare tractors of the same category or a given tractor when equipped with different seats, suspension, tyres, etc. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Other

Jump to: Research, Review

Open AccessTechnical Note Innovative Solution for Reducing the Run-Down Time of the Chipper Disc Using a Brake Clamp Device
Agriculture 2017, 7(8), 71; doi:10.3390/agriculture7080071
Received: 18 July 2017 / Revised: 2 August 2017 / Accepted: 17 August 2017 / Published: 20 August 2017
PDF Full-text (2813 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Wood-chippers are widely used machines in the forestry, urban and agricultural sectors. The use of these machines implies various risks for workers, primarily the risk of contact with moving and cutting parts. These machine parts have a high moment of inertia that can
[...] Read more.
Wood-chippers are widely used machines in the forestry, urban and agricultural sectors. The use of these machines implies various risks for workers, primarily the risk of contact with moving and cutting parts. These machine parts have a high moment of inertia that can lead to entrainment with the cutting components. This risk is particularly high in the case of manually fed chippers. Following cases of injury with wood-chippers and the improvement of the technical standard (ComitéEuropéen de Normalisation-European Norm) EN 13525: 2005 + A2: 2009, this technical note presents the prototype of an innovative system to reduce risks related to the involved moving parts, based on the “brake caliper” system and electromagnetic clutch for the declutching of the power take-off (PTO). The prototype has demonstrated its potential for reducing the run-down time of the chipper disc (95%) and for reducing the worker’s risk of entanglement and entrainment in the machine’s feed mouth. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Journal Contact

MDPI AG
Agriculture Editorial Office
St. Alban-Anlage 66, 4052 Basel, Switzerland
E-Mail: 
Tel. +41 61 683 77 34
Fax: +41 61 302 89 18
Editorial Board
Contact Details Submit to Agriculture Edit a special issue Review for Agriculture
logo
loading...
Back to Top