Agritechnica gold medal winners

The German Agricultural Society organises Agritechnica, the world’s largest exhibition of agricultural machinery. This year, the society awarded four gold medals for innovation. Joe Spencer takes a look at the winners.

Agritechnica gold medal winners
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  1.  AirSep pneumatic impurities separator (Grimme Landmaschinenfabrik, Germany)

The AirSep (above right) combines a perforated conveyor base and an uplift airstream to create the first pneumatic separator device in which the direction of crop flow and, hence, the machine-specific potato throughput are retained without restrictions. During the passage through the separation area, the tubers ‘float’ above the vibrating conveyor base, while the heavier stones and clods of earth drop onto a removal belt.

The quality of separation can be adjusted from the tractor to suit the composition of the material being harvested. This is done by altering the air-flow rate and the inclination and frequency of the conveyor base. In addition to a high output and a reduction in manual post-sorting work, the AirSep means that areas can now be used for potato-growing that would otherwise require cost-intensive earth separation before planting.

  1.  The AXMAT (Rauch, Germany)

The AXMAT allows fertiliser distribution to be measured automatically online – a claimed world-first. It also enables a disc fertiliser spreader to be adjusted automatically to the type of fertiliser as well as the desired working width. The high distribution accuracy is achieved through microwave sensors and an adjustment system on the spreader. The spreading pattern is continuously monitored and the discharge point of the fertiliser to the distributor disc automatically readjusted as required.

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The novel automatic self-setting of the spreader to the required working width makes it possible to achieve higher precision without the need for a spreading test on the land. The self-monitoring spread fan also allows automatic online readjustment to the set working width in response to changing fertiliser batches or weather conditions.

  1. Turbofarmer 40.7 Hybrid Telehander (Merlo, Italy)

This is the first time that a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, with the option of switching the drive between electrical and diesel-electrical, has been available for agricultural use. In the electric mode, the 30kW/h lithium-ion battery supplies the power.

Being quiet and emission-free, the hybrid can be used indoors. In the hybrid mode, the diesel engine, operating at constant speed, supplies the power for the traction drive and charges the battery at the same time. During the low-load or idling phases in telehandler use, the drive can be powered electrically, reducing fuel costs and carbon dioxide emissions by up to 30%.

  1. Online training simulator (Claas, Germany)

In another first, the Class online simulator for operating harvesting machinery and tractors maps the complete working behaviour of a machine – under a wide variety of conditions – on a PC interface. This means that machinery operators can be trained to operate a harvesting machine or tractor independently, and outside operating times.

With the aid of evaluated telemetric and process data, virtual control devices and operating elements, the software simulates the real operating conditions and procedures of a machine. New drivers can be familiarised with the machine, while experienced drivers can refresh their skill through regular training.