22 May 1998

Now you only need two joysticks to lift spuds

HARVESTING potatoes can be as complex a task as harvesting grain, says Grimme – bearing in mind the vast number of settings both operations require to keep machinery working efficiently.

But unlike the combine which once set up for a particular crop usually leaves the operator to concentrate on driving, the potato harvester requires frequent attention to such matters as web speeds, lifting depth, discharge elevator and a host of other refinements.

Grimme believes it has cracked the problem by offering, as an option on its new range of GZ1700 harvesters, a computer controlled operating system which enables the operator to control up to 12 harvester functions using only two joysticks. Standard machines have a bewildering array of 10 joysticks.

Called the MCS 2000, the system comprises three components – the GMC 2000 main electronic controller, the GBT 2000 operating terminal and the GBX joystick control box.

The electronic controller is responsible for operating the functions available on the harvester and when linked to the operating terminal provides a diagnostic check on the harvesters electronic circuitry.

And once the joystick control box is connected the system is complete.

Immediate control

In use, the operator selects which functions he needs to have immediate control of – each of the two joysticks can operate two functions. When harvesting, for example, control of the discharge elevator and web speeds may be the priority, or, when turning on the headland control of the harvesters steering system.

In all, there are three levels of commands that can be selected to give a total of 12 function controls.

Ease of use is further compounded through the use of a Headland Management system which, through the use of just one button, can lift the shares, stop the discharge elevator and lift it clear of the trailer – each with time delays of up to 10sec.

If specified, the MCS 2000 system puts another £725 onto the price of the GZ harvester.

Simplified potato harvesting. Ten joysticks on Grimmes current control system for its new GZ range and, behind, the optional two-stick controller which performs the same number of functions.