Agritechnica, the world’s largest farm machinery show, is held every two years in Hannover, Germany, and part of the event includes a competition that allows manufacturers to vie for some prestigious engineering awards. Gold and silver medals are awarded for new advancements in equipment design that are truly significant. How significant is what determines whether the design warrants a gold or silver. Two months before the doors open to the show, organizers announce the winners.
The full list of winners has just been revealed ahead of this November’s event, and all three major brands, John Deere, CNH and AGCO, will get medals to take home with them when the official presentation ceremony is held in during show week.
Here’s a look at a few of the winning entries from the majors, who all won several medals.
First, John Deere stood alone in the Gold medal category this year with its eAutoPower step-less transmission, a development project the company has kept pretty quiet.
The new eAutoPower is designed for the 8R tractors and is the first electro-mechanical power split transmission for agricultural equipment. Unlike a conventional CVT, there is no hydraulic pump; instead, two electric motors are used as a continuously variable actuator. The electric motors also provide up to 100 kW of external electrical power.
In the associated image (see above), that extra power is used to drive the tridem axles on a liquid manure tanker. That system was developed in conjunction with a company called Joskin. Among other advantages, the external drive system on the tanker provides better traction, reduced slip and improved GPS track accuracy on side slopes.
On the tractor side, electrical integration in the drivetrain results in improved transmission efficiencies and reduced maintenance costs, according to the competition judges.
In the Silver medal category AGCO picked up a medal for the steering system used on the new IDEAL combines, the IDEALDrive (see photo at top of page). For the first time in a combine, a left-hand joystick replaces the conventional steering wheel.
All the functions of the steering column, from the steering to the turn signals, are integrated in it. Steering sensitivity varies depending on driving speed to improve safety when driving at up to 40 km/h.
Judges felt that in addition to the improved view out the windshield, the manoeuvrability and operating comfort during harvesting were much better,
Included in the several Silvers claimed by CNH was the New Holland T7 tractor-baler integration system that reduces vibration caused by the baler plunger. Due to the high inertial forces, big balers create an oscillation that subjects the tractor and operator to strong back-and-forth pitching movements. The Baler Control System significantly reduces that.
A “baling mode” can be selected on the New Holland T7 tractor series. This coordinates movement of the front axle suspension to compensate for the oscillation. The tractor and baler connection slightly decouples, which reduces the vibration load. No additional hardware is required for the system to function and it’s compatible with balers from any manufacturer.
The judges felt the vibration reduction greatly reduced operator fatigue.
Grainews will be reporting from Agritechnica once again this year. Be sure to watch for timely online reports as well as detailed reviews of some of the most interesting machines on exhibit in the print issue of the magazine.