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Control Systems

Control systems are a critical part of any irrigation automation system, and there are a number of critical factors to consider when implementing control systems for irrigation applications:

  • The remote location of automated assets means that the field control systems must be high quality and able to operate without regular human supervision.

  • All modern automation control systems should allow for remote inspection via the internet for troubleshooting, updates and upgrades 

  • The equipment used in the control systems should utilise industry standard interfaces (communications, electrical and mechanical) to ensure compatibility with a ride rage of other industry standard equipment. This provides ongoing, long term flexibility for the asset owner when considering upgrade or replacement components. 

  • The initial implementation of the controls solution should consider how the solution will be supported and maintained. Systems with integration of modular components rather than highly embedded proprietary components should be promoted to ensure the system can be supported using local resources.

ICS have evaluated a wide range of components in remote irrigation applications over the past 5-10 years to determine which items provide the highest reliability for the lowest cost. All of our controls solutions utilise industry standard components from well known international suppliers such as Rockwell, Sick, IFM and others with no proprietary equipment to ensure the systems can be supported by local electricians or technicians instead of relying purely on remotely located experts. This combination provides a high quality, low cost of ownership solution that is both economically competitive to produce and install, but also technically and commercially sustainable over the long term. 

Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet of Things is changing the way control systems are implemented across a whole range of industries. An IoT system simply means that the major devices used in the field support ethernet connectivity so they can be accessed, inspected, configured, updated and upgraded over the internet. This has allowed systems to easily evolve and improve over time after they initial installed and commissioned, providing a much more flexible and sustainable solution, both technically and economically.   


Previously system changes needed to be implemented by an engineer or technician in the field site-by-site, now an engineer can perform the same task on multiple sites at a time from anywhere in the world, significantly reducing the cost of support, upgrades and, in general, owning automation equipment. This added flexibility and reduced cost is altering the way we think about the long term evolution of these systems

ICS has been designing and implementing IoT control system for canal automation and irrigation modernisation for more than 5 years because of the significant benefits it can provide for our clients, including:

  • Reduced cost of ownership

  • More flexible system performance as modifications, updates and upgrades are quickly and easily implemented.

  • Less down time due to availability of system experts to remotely assist local operators and technicians with troubleshooting and rectification

  • Access to more, and better quality data to improve things like maintenance schedules, component lifetimes, delivery efficiency and allow for more informed decision making.

  • No additional cost capital cost compared with non IoT solutions.

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