Eye-grabbing innovations from across the Atlantic
There really is nothing like Agritechnica. Hosted every other year by DLG (the German Agricultural Society) in Hanover, Germany, the global exhibit drew 450,000 visitors this past November. The exhibits are open for seven days and cover almost the equivalent of an average German farm—120 acres. At the 2013 show, 2,898 exhibitors from 47 countries gathered to showcase the latest in agricultural machinery and technologies. This global platform spotlights products that could be on your farm as early as next year as well as prototypes for a glimpse into the future. With help from our partners at profi, a German publishing company with international machinery publications, here are some highlights from the show floor.
Fendt unveiled the Fendt X Project, an effort to have a tractor that is capable of supplying electrical power to implements on the market by year 2020. A generator located between the tractor’s engine and transmission produces up to 130 kW of AC power that is then converted into 700 volts of DC by an inverter and sent along a so-called POWERbus. Losses are said to be minimal, and Fendt claims an efficiency of 96% from crankshaft to implement. Currently, Fendt’s prototype is a 700 Series tractor and is partnering with the following companies to develop electric implements: Amazone, Fella, Fliegl, Grimme, Krone, Lemken and others. All of the implement-mounted motors have their own small converters to change the power from DC to AC, allowing variable speed and torque.
Michelin invests 12,000 hours every year in testing more than 900 agricultural tires. Worldwide, the company has 6,600 researchers on three continents focused on tires. On display at Agritechnica was this prototype alternative tread design.
Mitas and its partner, Galileo Wheel Ltd., have created the PneuTrac tire, which runs at very low air pressures. Its collapsible sidewall allows the outer circumference to change shape for a 50% larger contact area than an average tire. The tire fits a conventional wheel rim and has been tested for 18" and 38" tires.
Kemper showcased a 20-row forage harvesting head. Guide wheels, two on each end, ensure the machine stays level across its 50' width. In initial testing, the company matched the head with Claas, Fendt, John Deere, Krone and New Holland silage choppers to confirm compatibility with the industry’s largest machines.
Recognized with a Silver Medal, John Deere’s Hitch Assist system is located on the tractor’s rear fender. From the ground, the operator can use the buttons on the fender to move the tractor forward and back. Currently displayed on compact utility tractors, the system has built-in safety features.
Dutch firm Peecon is testing a battery-powered twin auger feeder mixer. The Biga Volt holds 350 to 880 cu. ft. It uses technology similar to electric fork lifts. The batteries are located in the chassis and have enough power for two mixes before they need to be recharged. Wireless controls are also available.
For more interesting machines from Agritechnica, including reports from Farm Journal columnist Phil Needham, visit www.FarmJournal.com/Agritechnica