21 December 2001

Black Box records all movements

A WORK recording, record-keeping unit which traces every move of tractors as they perform field operations, has been introduced by Pontypool-based Patchwork.

The "BlackBox" is the size of a hand-held calculator with, for navigation purposes, a small GPS antennae.

Powered by an electrical supply from a host tractors cigarette lighter socket, the unit can be transported from vehicle to vehicle with relative ease.

Included in the units many functions is the ability to provide traceability information on chemical and fertiliser applications, the production of field maps and measure areas, and provide statistics for jobs – start and finish time and date, farm location and field, and worked area.

For the tractor driver the unit allows built in parallel path guidance for field operations, area worked, rolling estimate of finish time and a cab printer to physically record work performed.

Among numerous other functions, there is the ability to download information to the office computer.

Price of the Patchwork BlackBox unit starts at £1200 with a printer costing a further £400. &#42