A self-adjusting tractor tyre

Agricultural machinery company STEYR, in co-operation with Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research, is developing an ‘intelligent’ tractor wheel equipped with an ultrasonic sensor that ensures optimised tyre pressure at all times and hence reduces compaction.

A self-adjusting tractor tyre
A collaborative effort by the German government and agriculture and research companies is making use of ultrasonic sound sensors to develop a system that will automatically adjust tyre pressure to ensure optimal inflation.
Photo: CNH Industrial/Steyr
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A group of companies is working in collaboration with Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research’s SoilAssist project to develop what its engineers have called an ‘intelligent’ wheel for tractors.

CNH Industrial’s Austrian-built tractor range, STEYR, together with Grasdorf GmbH (a tyre and wheel specialist), TerraCare (a specialist in tyre pressure control systems), and the Thünen-Institute (a German research institute), hope to deliver a wheel that contributes to soil protection by making use of an ultrasonic sensor that measures the distance between the rim and the ground to automatically adjust tyre pressure.

In a statement by STEYR, the project partners explain that by measuring the distance between rim and ground, the maximum permissible deflection of the tyre, the respective tyre inflation pressure, and thus the contact area with the ground, can all be optimised, thus providing maximum protection for the soil.

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In addition, damage to the tyre caused by excessive deflection and subsequent overheating is avoided, benefitting the durability of the tyres.

Lower driver workload 
“During the project, co-operation partners want to work on a tractor-wheel combination that independently recognises working and load situations, automatically selecting and adjusting the optimum inflation pressure,” the statement says.

Taking such decisions off the driver by automatic procedures is expected to lead to a substantial improvement towards sustainable soil conservation, along with minimum slip and fuel consumption.

“Together with our co-operation partners, we want to continue working on this venture and focus on finding solutions towards sustainable land-use management and soil protection,” Hans-Werner Eder, product marketing manager of STEYR, said in the statement.