Potential life saver one of seven winning farm machinery ideas

TRAGIC farm accidents can be prevented by fitting a new radio alarm system to tractors and similar heavy machinery.

The system, called Kinderfinder, is one of seven gold medal innovations at next week’s Agritechnica in Germany, the world’s largest agricultural machinery and innovations exhibition.

Kinderfinder was designed in response to the large number of fatal accidents and injuries on farms, many involving children.

It uses innovative Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology. Receiver aerials are installed at the front and rear of self-propelled agricultural machines. A control box within hearing distance of the driver alarms if a person or animal fitted with an appropriate RFID-coded radio chip comes within a preset range (up to a maximum of 100 metres) of a machine.

The coded radio chip can be in a wrist band, a chain, or integrated in garments.

The device has potential in other areas such as the construction industry, or workshops and warehouses.

New technology is employed in a number of the gold medal winning innovations.

A new camera system for Amazone fertiliser spreaders records the spreading pattern during work and compares the image with the correct spreading pattern which is stored in the machine’s on-board computer.

This Argus camera system can be used to set the system automatically, and is claimed to be a world innovation bringing hitherto unreached improvements in operating comfort and work quality.

Normally, spreader setting values are found in spreading tables or are determined in practice with costly mobile test rigs.

It is claimed the camera system avoids incorrect fertiliser application, bringing crucial economic and ecological advantages.

New Holland has got an Agritechnica gold medal for its Grain Cam sensor which measures the broken grain component and non-grain constituents in the grain elevator of combine harvesters.

More broken grain results when combine harvesters are set for high throughput.

Wrong setting at the other end of the scale leads to a lot of non-grain constituents contaminating the yield.

Previously, the operator relied on visual inspection to determine the match between work performance and work quality.

Now, the Grain Cam sensor fulfils this function.

Krone has won an Agritechnica gold medal for its optimised round baler, designed to combine the advantages of fixed chamber and variable chamber balers.

Like a variable chamber baler, it can produce bales of different diameters, while structured simply, for low cost and ease of service, as in the case of a fixed chamber baler.

Higher bale densities than in fixed chamber balers are achieved, even for large bale diameters.

With the E-Premium Series, John Deere is first to introduce an electrical power network in tractors, and it has won an Agritechnica gold medal.

A generator flanged directly on the crankshaft produces up to 20 kW of electric power at an engine speed of 1800 rpm. This drives the fan, air compressor and air conditioning. It also supplies the 12-volt on-board network.

When the tractor is standing, electrical devices can be operated via a plug socket with 230 volts, or via a three-phase socket with 230 to 400 volt (5 kW).

The electrically driven air compressor and air conditioning achieve fast pressure increase at low engine speed. The fan speed can be adapted very precisely according to cooling requirement, and can be simply reversed for cooling system cleaning.

According to the Agritechnica experts, John Deere is laying the foundation for high-precision, efficient electrical drives in mounted and trailed units, as well as in traction drive.

The world’s first fully electrical mounted agricultural machine with 400 volt technology is the AXIS EDR two-disc fertiliser spreader from Rauch.

Three-phase current from the tractor can be used to power the spreader discs and agitator.

It has won a gold medal for operating comfort, and environmental friendliness due to reduced fuel consumption and accurate fertiliser spreading, for high operating reliability and industrial safety. Additional customer benefits are claimed in cleaning, calibrating and emptying.

Single seed placement at working speeds of up to 15 kilometres per hour is claimed for Amazone’s EDX precision seed drill with Xpress grain singling.

One of the reasons it got an Agritechnica gold medal was the doubling of the working rate without any notable changes in the seed placement quality.

The design includes a newly developed flexible plastic catching roller which catches the grain gently and free of damage and presses it firmly into the seed furrow.

Held in Hanover, Germany every two years, Agritechnica is organised by the German Agricultural Society (DLG) and attracts more than 250,000 visitors from all over the globe.

Farmers and the trade view Agritechnica as a place where major agricultural developments make their debut. In addition to a full range of machinery exhibits, this year’s event has particular focus on the rapidly developing areas of bio-energy, climate change, soil conservation, robotics and the second-hand machinery trade.

From 331 innovations submitted, winners of seven gold medals and 33 silver medals were selected by impartial experts appointed by the DLG.

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