Scotgrass 2010: Automation eases the burden on the driver

Tractor and implement manufacturers are working together to make use of the high levels of technological sophistication now found on modern machinery.

John Deere’s Tractor-Implement-Automation system links a tractor and round baler via Isobus and Canbus computer systems to significantly lessen the load on the operator.

When hitched up to one of the firm’s tractors with stepless AutoPowr transmission and electronically controlled spool-valves, the baler can automatically trigger a number of functions.

As the bale chamber fills, the control box brings the tractor to a standstill to allow the netwrap to be applied. Once this sequence is completed, the baler triggers the tractor hydraulics to open the tailgate and shut it once the bale has run clear.

The only input required from the driver is to knock the shuttle lever in and out of gear to get the tractor moving again.

Austrian firm Pottinger has been working with Deere for a number of years to develop its Isobus implement controllers. It follows, then, that Pottinger should be one of the first companies to develop a system that governs tractor speed according to the load exerted on the implement.

Driven by demand from countries where operator skill levels are not quite as high as in western Europe, the swath-scanner forage-wagon control system does exactly what its name suggests.

Ultrasonic sensors mounted underneath the tractor’s chin monitor the size and density of the swath while a torque-loading sensor on the forage-wagon’s chopper rotor monitors crop loading. The two signals feed in to the control box which then adjusts transmission gearing accordingly, matching forward speed to the crop.

The operator can choose between two modes – one sets out to maximise output while the other is an economy setting, providing a consistent loading to minimise fuel usage.

Pre-production units will be under evaluation across Europe this summer with full-line sales for next year. John Deere’s baler set-up is available immediately although it is not able to automatically alter forward speed. A load-sensing system is being developed to allow this.

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