Agritechnica Gives Innovation Awards

Dan Miller
By  Dan Miller , Progressive Farmer Senior Editor
John Deere won the only gold of the competition for its eAutoPower gearbox for its new 8R large tractors. The work represents the first electro-mechanical power split gearbox in agricultural technology. (Photo courtesy of Agritechnica)

The DLG (German Agricultural Society), organizer of Agritechnica, has announced the winners of the Agritechnica Innovation Awards from 291 innovations registered. Here's a description of the Gold Award given to John Deere and a summary of several Silver Awards given to Deere, AGCO and CNH. Take a look at the final entry listed here too, for one solution to mechanical weeding.

-- Agritechnica Gold Innovation Award 2019: eAutoPower gearbox e8WD for 8R large tractors, John Deere, joint development with JOSKIN S.A., Belgium.

The eAutoPower gearbox for the new 8R large tractors from John Deere represents the first electro-mechanical power split gearbox in agricultural technology. Two electric motors are used as a continuously variable actuator. The electric motors have been specified so that they supply the drive and provide up to 100 kW of electric power for external consumption.

-- Agritechnica Silver Innovation Award 2019: Fendt IDEALDrive; AGCO International.

While harvesting threshing crops, the steering wheel and the steering column impair the view of the harvested crop being pulled-in directly in front of the inclined conveyor. With the Fendt IDEALDrive, AGCO provides an unobstructed view of the area directly in front of the combine harvester by dispensing with the steering column and steering wheel. The driver's seat is equipped with a left-hand armrest with a joystick. All the functions of the steering column -- from the steering wheel to the turn signals -- are integrated in it. The IDEALDrive is the first self-propelled agricultural machine completely operated with a joystick.

-- Agritechnica Silver Innovation Award 2019: Automated Vehicle and Implement Guidance in Wine-Growing: Fendt; joint development with Braun Maschinenbau.

Operating farm machinery under vines requires a high level of concentration from the tractor driver. The tractor must be steered precisely, while at the same time monitoring and controlling the implements. The automated vehicle and implement guidance system jointly developed by Fendt and Braun considerably increases output in wine-growing tasks. Ground contour, vines, poles, etc. are recorded using laser technology. That information is passed on to the Fendt 200V Vario narrow-track tractor. A 3D position is determined with a gyroscope and the tractor assumes the track and implement guidance based on this information.

-- Agritechnica Silver Innovation Award 2019: Efficiency Package for Large Combine Harvesters; John Deere.

When developing its new dual-axial rotor combine harvester, John Deere revised the assemblies for threshing and separating, and all other performance-determining assemblies. The goal of the design was to obtain maximum performance stability, with unaltered machine settings wherever possible, under difficult harvesting conditions. This begins with an identical pivot point of inclined conveyors and feed drums in order to always keep the feed angle identical relative to the rotors. The overall design contains all currently known technical measures for maximizing the efficiency of a combine harvester.

-- Agritechnica Silver Innovation Award 2019: Intelligent vibration damping for large square balers; John Deere.

Due to high inertial and pressing forces, big balers induce vibrations that subject the tractor cab to unpleasantly strong pitching movements, which put a strain on the tractor driver. With intelligent vibration damping, these vibrations are almost completely eliminated on models of the 7R tractor series in conjunction with balers from John Deere. Based on the signals of the acceleration sensors in the GPS receiver and other signals within the tractor, the continuously adjustable drive is adjusted with the plunger frequency of the baler so that a periodic change of the speed setting compensates for the vibrations created.

-- Agritechnica Silver Innovation Award 2019: Proactive throughput controller; John Deere.

Throughput controllers on combine harvesters cannot react to changes in the harvested crop conditions until the material is already in the harvesting header, in the intake duct or in the threshing unit. With extreme changes in harvesting conditions, such as lying crops, partial gaps and weed areas, result in correspondingly high over- or under-loading, and combine driving speeds that change too drastically. The throughput controller is then often deactivated. John Deere solves this problem with the proactive throughput controller. 3D stereo cameras detect the crop situation in front of the combine just like a proactive driver. The system also uses the data of vegetation models, which consist of biomass maps generated via satellite or other technologies. As soon as the combine harvester begins harvesting, the system calculates regression models from the real-time and the geo-referenced vegetation data. The combine harvester merges all sensor values and then adjusts its driving speed and its settings to the harvest situation.

-- Agritechnica Silver Innovation Award 2019: Innovative driveline for HD big balers; CNH Industrial.

Big balers that produce high-density bales require a high-inertia flywheel and a powerful plunger to suit. Therefore, protective start-up systems are required to prevent the tractor from stalling or the PTO shaft from overstraining when the baler swings into action. CNH and Walterscheid developed a new driveline where the gearbox shifts up into the desired flywheel speeds. The feature is called "Power Shift Function," and it allows the developers to increase flywheel speeds and baling output. The shifts are made by internally cooled multi-plate clutches. A multi-plate brake with internal cooling, which is also integrated in the gearbox, slows down the plunger when this is in its optimum starting position. It also serves as an emergency brake that brings the plunger to a stop within eight seconds.

-- Agritechnica Silver Innovation Award 2019: Baler Control System for the T7 Tractor; CNH Industrial.

Large square balers enable high transport and storage density of plant material, and therefore have achieved major importance in agriculture. However, big balers induce vibrations that subject the tractor cab to unpleasantly strong pitching movements. To reduce this vibration load, a baling mode can be selected on the New Holland T7 tractor series. This modifies the coordination of the front axle suspension and increases the slope of the limiting curve on the engine map. This then avoids oscillation of the tractor-implement combination, the system decouples and a considerable reduction in the vibration load results.

-- Agritechnica Silver Innovation Award 2019: Naio Technologies.

The biggest challenge in mechanical weed control is the removal of weeds within the crop rows. In organic farming, these weeds are removed manually in a time-consuming process. The Dino robot, in combination with the precision weed controller, is the first autonomous machine for mechanical weed control in lettuce rows. The machine locates the lettuce and activates two electric knives that cut the weeds in the space between two lettuce heads. The controller also produces a digital map that is then used for harvesting. The Dino robot, in combination with the precision weed controller, is a low-weight option to tractor-mounted weed controllers, reducing compaction and ensuring extended reliability.

For the complete list of Gold and Silver award winners go to:…

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Dan Miller