Four-wire control set-up untangles a tricky task
One console, one computer
and four wires – Standens
latest Can-Bus potato
harvester control system is
claimed to be simplicity
itself. Andy Moore reports
STANDEN Engineerings two-row trailed potato harvester is now available with a full Can-Bus control system.
Three years in the development, the system enables the driver to control and monitor over 52 harvester settings using a console, computer and a four-wire feed from the tractor cab.
"The previous control system employed over 50 wires stretching 15m from the tractor cab to the harvester," says Standens Robin Caborn. "With such a tangle of wires, the system was becoming unmanageable and could compromise the machines reliability."
The Can-Bus four-wire control system comprises power and earth wires together with high and low signal wires connected to one in-cab console.
Designed by Standen, the system uses software written by Bucher Hydraulic – Standens main hydraulic valve supplier.
"The key advantage of this Can-Bus design is having an easier and simpler means of operating the machine and greater control over its harvesting functions," explains Mr Caborn.
Installing the console in the cab takes a matter of seconds, he claims, and there is no longer the hassle of connecting and unplugging a myriad of wires.
"The main brain of the console includes a 56-channel and 32 LED indicator output module which operates up to 24 hydraulic valves using a computer.
"An Opus light display is integrated in the console, which enables the operator to view and set oil flow rates so that running speeds and settings can be adjusted."
At the touch of a button, speeds of components such as webs, elevators and cleaner units can be adjusted to suit soil/crop type and ground conditions.
Depth of the digging unit can now be adjusted and automatically levelled from the cab, while hydraulic pressures can also be checked on the move.
Another boon for the system is the ability to memorise harvester settings so they can be reset each time the machine starts a new bout to keep harvesting consistent.
"Tweaking harvester settings on the move gives the operator far more control over the harvested sample," adds Mr Caborn who adds that the system has the potential to increase harvester output and, ultimately, improve the quality of crop harvested.
Another benefit of Can-Bus is the ability to find machine faults using a step-through diagnostic menu on the display screen.
As a result, Standen says machine downtime through breakdowns is kept to a minimum because faults can easily be identified by the operator or a service engineer over the phone.
In the future, Mr Caborn says trouble-shooting could be done remotely by the service engineer using a laptop computer and modem.
Standen field tested a prototype system on a Vision machine during the 2000 harvest, and a further four systems were evaluated on harvesters last year.
According to Mr Caborn there has been no negative feedback from the operators and the systems software only needed a degree of fine tuning.
lSatisfied the Can-Bus system is now ready for commercial sale, Standen Engineering has launched a new Vision harvester – the XS – designed to fully exploit the virtues of the Can-Bus system.
New features include greater agitation, separate hydraulic drive for the second web and a new star cleaner module fitted in front of the roller table.
Available for immediate sale, the new Vision XS, says the manufacturer, adds up to a package for the potato grower wanting increased separation and higher outputs.
Price of the new Vision XS model has yet to be announced. *
• Less wiring.
• Greater control over functions.
• Ability to control crop sample.
• Potential to increase outputs.