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IgG Sensing in Colostrum

Immunoglobulins, or IgG antibodies, play a vital role in the healthy development of newborn calves. We developed a novel on-farm IgG measurement concept that helps farmers detect low levels of antibodies in colostrum. Read more...

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Seed Singulating Stick Planter

Of the 160 Mio Ha of Maize grown each year world-wide, over 20 Mio Ha are painstakingly planted by hand. People at kofatec contributed to the development of a novel seed singulating stick planter that has the potential for revolutionizing food-security in the third-world. Read more...

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Seed Oriented Corn Planting

Specific orientations of the seeds at planting produce corn plants with leaves pointing into the space between the rows. Corn plots planted this way have been shown to produce up to 20% more yield. Data-based design by people at kofatec led to a first mechanization of the oriented planting problem in this on-going project. Read more...

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Precision Seed Singulators

Modern corn planting technology is all about precise in-row spacing, depth control and seed-soil contact for optimal emergence and maximum yield potential. We developed a novel method to analyze the performance of seed singulation systems. Read more...

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Analytics

Analytics

We analyze your data!

Bits & Bytes

Bits & Bytes

We write your software!

Nuts & Bolts

Nuts & Bolts

We design your machines!


About

About

At the core, we’re an interdisciplinary engineering company with key know-how in engineering analytics, software development, and data-based mechanical engineering. We like to take a stab at your problem, especially if “you’ve tried it all”. We come in with fresh eyes, and may already be able to give you new ideas by just asking you lots of questions about your issue.

“No way you have all that broad know-how in your small company” you might think. You’re right, we don’t. But what makes us stand out, is our extensive network to specialty engineering companies like us and many of the top research institutes around the globe. We have personal contacts to many of the leading experts in our fields of interest and simply “know who to ask”. We’re your Google for your engineering problems.

Many of our past projects have an agricultural background. That’s because we believe that a more efficient and flexible agriculture is key to feeding 9 billion people by 2050. Most people working at or with kofatec are either trained farmers, grew up on farms or work in agricultural research and want to contribute what small difference we can make to tackling one of the most pressing issues of our time. Besides that, we love the engineering challenge that biological problems with their inherently stochastic nature pose.


Contact

Contact

You like the kind of work we do? You are stuck “between farm and fork” with an engineering challenge? Don’t hesitate to contact us!

 

kofatec GmbH
Gondiswilerstrasse 12
CH-6146 Grossdietwil
Switzerland

+41 41 495 08 88


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Analytics

IgG Sensing in Colostrum

Right after giving birth, a cow’s first milk, the colostrum, contains large amounts of immunoglobulin, or antibodies. Through nursing, the calves effectively receive a copy of the mother’s immune system, giving them usually a formidably healthy start into life.

Unfortunately, about 30% of cows do not produce enough antibodies (less than 50 g/L) and many calves get sick during the first days or even die because of that. While accurate but expensive laboratory methods exist to determine IgG levels, on-farm methods so far have been mostly guess work.

We at kofatec engineered a novel and very accurate sensing concept based on differential spectrophotometry that, because of its simplicity, is perfectly suitable for on-farm diagnostics. Based on spectral data of colostrum, we first developed a sensor model and validated the technology in an experimental setup. For this innovative work, we were awarded 30kCHF in the context of the venturekick start-up competition.

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Nuts and Bolts

Seed Singulating Stick Planter

Yield of hand-planted maize in the third-world is in the order of about 700 to 2500 kg/ha – compared to about 9’000 to 11’000kg/ha in industrialized agricultural systems. So-called hill-planting, where three to five seeds are planted in one location together, is a major reason of for the low yields. Farmers use a wood stick with a steel tip to poke holes and plant the seeds.

In a pure “Nuts & Bolts” project people at kofatec collaborated with plant and soil scientists from Oklahoma State University and engineered a novel seed singulation concept (pat. pend.), able to singulate corn seeds from a bulk mix of various sizes.

The now called Greenseeder continues to evolve and is now distributed to third world farmers through distributors and given away by charities. Singulated planting has the potential for at least a 20% yield increase, thereby significantly contributing to food security of local communities in the third-world.

http://www.nue.okstate.edu/Hand_Planter.htm
http://smallfarmtoolbox.com/greenseeder

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Analytics Nuts and Bolts

Seed Oriented Corn Planting

The azimuthal direction of the leaves on a corn plant can be influenced by the orientation of the seed at planting. Leaves oriented into to the space between the rows minimize inter-plant competition and hand-planted plots with oriented seeds have shown to produce anywhere between 5 to 20% more yield. Additional benefits include faster canopy closure and reduced water loss to evaporation and enhanced weed suppression.

In the context of a project still on-going at Oklahoma State University, people at kofatec first conducted in-depth analyses of 3D-scans of corn seeds and developed a mechanization design based on orientation by pushing. This is a method that’s frequently encountered in industrial assembly automation.

The seed orienting planter technology was taken from initial concept, to simulations and performance predictions to bench and laboratory tests all the way to field tests with a prototype.

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Bits & Bytes

Precision Seed Singulators

Seed singulation systems are at the core of modern planting technology. Plant stand uniformity depends largely on the singulator’s ability to remove consistently one seed at a time from a bulk compartment and releasing it to the seed delivery system and into the ground.

In cooperation with agricultural engineers at Oklahoma State University, we developed a novel, video-based analysis method that characterizes the singulation performance to a novel degree of accuracy. High-speed video captures the seeds exiting the singulator from two angles simultaneously.

Image processing was applied to track each individual seed as it exited the singulator. 3D-mapping of the seed trajectory allowed the precise computation of the exit location and seed trajectory.

The condensed data provides unprecedented insight into the interface between singulation mechanism and the subsequent seed delivery system, revealing striking differences between the devices of various manufacturers.

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Analytics

Engineering Analytics

Number crunching and mathematical modeling is our home turf. We use state-of-the-art engineering tools and methods to tickle hidden information out of process data, 2D images, 3D laser scans, spectral signatures, or time-based signals. We’re cozy with statistics, particularly with directional statistics of circular data. Try us, we love data!

Because we’ve found at more than one occasion that the "hidden information" we were asked to identify was actually a measurement artefact, we routinely advise on data acquisition setups that ensure consistent and coherent data sets.

The quality of most data can be improved by filtering. Naturally, we know our way around IIR and Chebychev filters and can help you, for example, develop and tune your model-based in-process Kalman filter.

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Bits & Bytes

Bits & Bytes

We not only analyze but also synthesize! Based on our analytics we develop algorithms, simulations, and implement software solutions directly for you.

We uniquely combine quite an extensive history in robotics, automation and autonomous vehicles as well as business software development and therefore have a specific mindset in our software development approach that focuses heavily on reliability, simplicity, and ease of use.

Ask us about your need for low-level, bare-metal programming (C/C++), PLC programming (IEC 61131, CANBus, J1939), high-level database solutions (MSSQL, Stored Procedure, SSIS, SSAS, SSRS), scripts, and data handling automation. Because of our data acquisition know-how we’re very efficient at debugging systems, either by data analysis or plain oscilloscope.

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Nuts & Bolts

Nuts & Bolts

After all, we are mechanical engineers and love building stuff. We use CAD tools to develop concepts and sketches, do detailed designs and simulations. We know quite well what you can do with laser-cut sheet metal.

Because of our special interest in electronics and software, we are particularly interested in mechatronics, robotics, and automation projects.