Skin temperature of piglets as a biosensor for controlling the heating system in creeps with low power consumption

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A new technology, which uses suckling piglets as biosensors for the control of heating systems in creeps, is shown to be feasible regarding the thermal point of view and efficient use of electricity. This study describes the design of an electronic control system for heating creeps by monitoring the skin temperature of piglets, and a comparative analysis of the developed Grid-Eye electronic system with the conventional control system by thermostat. The creeps were built with two different materials (conventional polyethylene and Tetra Brik long-life milk packaging). The variables evaluated were air temperature, relative air humidity, electricity consumption, piglet surface skin temperature and body mass gain. The results showed that the control system by monitoring skin temperature of piglets reduced the consumption of electric energy by 23.77 kWh in creeps made with recycled material when compared to conventional creeps with a heating control by the thermostat. The air temperature was higher (30.84 and 31.76 °C) in the recycled packaging creeps when compared to the air temperature in polyethylene creeps (30.31 and 30.57 °C), regardless of the heating control technology deployed. All combinations of materials (recycled packaging and polyethylene) and heating control (thermostat x Grid-Eye) were efficient in keeping the skin temperature of piglets in thermal comfort between 38 and 39 °C, and no differences in body mass gain were observed. The use of suckling piglets as a biosensor for the control of heating in creeps by monitoring the skin temperature reduced the consumption of electric energy in used recycled packaging creeps.




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Biosystems Engineering, v. 210, p. 104-114.

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