Connectivity combines mechatronics and digitalization at Agritechnica 2017

The Systems & Components special feature at Agritechnica 2017 will help outline a pathway to the increased use of digital technology in agriculture

Automation and unstoppable digitization dominate the rapid development in the agricultural market, and according to a survey by Bitkom Research1, every second person in the industry (53 percent) already uses digital solutions in their work. Four out of 10 (39 percent) farmers and contractors, for example, carry out soil preparation, sowing, crop spraying and harvesting with digitized agricultural machinery. However, according to a white paper by 365FarmNet2, most agricultural machinery in operation today is still analog, and because of its age does not utilize digital technology and networking.

Mechanics, electronics and computer technology, known together as mechatronics, are influencing the possibilities and opportunities of digital change, and is driving digital transformation. The rapid developments in these technologies is also a major factor for change within the agricultural sector.

Pioneer of digital transformation

“Connectivity is the prerequisite for achieving optimal performance from modern, highly complex systems built using mechanical, hydraulic and electronic components. That’s one reason that this year’s Systems & Components special feature at Agritechnica has the theme ‘Stay with us, stay connected’”, says Dr. Raffaele Talarico, project manager at event organizer DLG (German Agricultural Society). “We provide impetus and offer approaches for future developments in agricultural technology. At the same time, we are also showing solutions for the transfer of analogue agricultural technologies into the digital world.”

Bluetooth “Beacons”, GPS (Global Positioning Systems) and RFID (radio-frequency identification) systems, together with software products, already enable the digitization of older farm machines through standardization and cross-manufacturer compatibility. According to 365FarmNet, this digitization is a viable way for many farmers to engage with digital agriculture.

There is is more potential – from isolated installations of networked solutions – for achieving improved processes and work efficiency from agricultural technology. However, whatever solutions are implemented, they work best when there is a degree of standardization for component interfaces, data formats, management systems, telecommunication infrastructures, data collection and analysis, and when security regulations are compulsory.

Efficient developments, solutions and products will be presented by some 700 exhibitors at the Systems & Components special feature. Taking place within Agritechnica 2017 it plays host to systems, modules, components and accessories for agricultural machinery and related industries. This will be the third time the feature has been held at the world’s largest trade fair for agricultural technology, which will take place this year from 12 to 18 November (Preview Days on 12/13 November). Innovations and solutions in the areas of engines, hydraulics, axles, drive technology, cabins, electronics, spare parts and consumables will all be presented at Hanover’s exhibition grounds. A few of this year’s more innovative developments are noted below:

New-generation synchronizer

Oerlikon Graziano will present its newly developed, patent-pending synchronization technology for agricultural applications. According to the manufacturer, this innovation can also be used in related areas such as passenger and commercial vehicles, industry and construction. Designed for long-term use, the Compact Slotless Synchronizer (CSS) improves the overall performance and efficiency of power transmission. Its main benefits include optimized switching capability, increased power density and the use of innovative friction materials that have been developed specifically for high-performance applications. CSS is available as a prototype for test purposes, and serial production is scheduled for early 2019.

Reduced plow wear

Higher work rates during tillage can be achieved by reducing the time it takes to replace the wearing parts on plows, and by extending the life of these parts. In experiments carried out at the Department of Agriculture at Kiel’s University of Applied Sciences, Prof. Yves Reckleben tested a variety of materials on a five-furrow Lemken Juwel 8 plow. He found that using harder metals for the wear parts resulted in a significantly longer working life of up to 250%. The set-up time, meanwhile, was significantly shortened by reducing the number of screws used to fasten the wear parts to the plow body. Compared to the standard material, the new parts used had already resulted in a significant cost reduction after plowing 932 hectares of arable land.

Highest performance

Since the end of 2016, the PistenBully 100 snow vehicle from Kässbohrer Geländefahrzeug AG has been built incorporating modified driving gear (PGR-802T) from Comer Industries. The development team at Comer designed a two-stage planetary gear unit with a rotating housing. All applications were simulated by Comer at its in-house experimental laboratory, the Mechatronics Research Center. New calculation methods were introduced during the design process and confirmed by field tests. The result is a drive with very little support, but that achieves a high drive speed. It can transmit 6900Nm of torque at a speed of 230rpm, achieving high power density in a very narrow installation space – indeed 20% more thrust than previous units. The externally installed parking brake, meanwhile, allows a refined design and better heat dissipation. Insights gained from this cooperation between the two manufacturers will now also be incorporated into machines used in the agricultural sector.

Improved soil protection

Claas has been offering its proven TerraTrac tracked drive system for more than 20 years. With a tread width of up to 90cm, an enormous reduction in ground compaction of up to 66% is achieved compared to a wheeled machine. Even on hilly terrain and slopes, and in wet conditions, such as in rice harvests, improved traction is achieved. All the components in the TerraTrac, such as the wheel, impeller and support rollers, are separately spring-loaded. This reduces impact on the body and chassis, ensures driving comfort and, thanks to automatic leveling, ensures better cornering stability. The suspension system’s benefits include significantly lower drag, slip and fuel consumption, and particularly noteworthy is the long operating life of the tracks and the operator comfort at road speeds of 30 or 40 km/hr.

Further information on Systems & Components, and Agritechnica, can be found at:

About Systems & Components

The Systems & Components special feature was introduced for the first time at Agritechnica 2013. It offers an international professional platform for suppliers to present systems, modules and components for the agricultural machinery industry and related sectors.

Systems & Components Exhibitor Contact: 

Dr. Raffaele Talarico
Exhibitor support and professional program
Phone: +39 051 0068345

Media contact:
Malene Conlong
Tel: +49 69 24788237