John Deere’s latest research and development work has been rewarded with one Silver and two Special Mention Awards at the SIMA 2017 in Paris at the end of February.
The Silver Award is for the Smart AutoLube system, which automatically greases all the lubrication points on the tractor along with its ISOBUS controlled implements. Special Mentions have also been given to the SESAM electric tractor and the ExactApply intelligent spray nozzle system.
The Smart AutoLube system is controlled by the tractor’s CommandCentre Display, where the driver can choose between auto, custom and manual modes. Greasing intervals and quantities depend on tractor usage and loads, as well as the implements used, and targeted lubrication of single maintenance points is possible. The system also warns if the lubricant level is too low.
All operations can be documented and checked via JDLink telematics. For a 6R Series tractor with 1000 operating hours annually, greasing time for the tractor and its implements can be reduced by 21 hours a year. The improved maintenance regime would also have a positive effect on the machine’s life expectancy, service costs and resale value.
SESAM (Sustainable Energy Supply for Agricultural Machinery) is the industry’s first fully battery-powered tractor. This prototype machine produces 130kW of continuous power and is based on the 6R Series tractor chassis, using an adapted DirectDrive stepless transmission, with a speed range from 3 to 50kph at full power. The tractor is emission-free and develops high torque at low speeds and a maximum output of around 400hp, with no energy losses when idling.
The SESAM tractor is a central component of John Deere’s vision of the energy autonomous farm of the future. Potential benefits include the use of farm-produced renewable energy and new farm business models that would allow farms to provide electric power grid services in rural areas, for example.
In standard mode, one of two maintenance free electric motors operates the drivetrain and the other is used for the pto and auxiliary systems. If required, both motors can be linked together in order to supply full power, either for driving on the road at from 3 to 50kph or for pto and hydraulic work.
The SESAM tractor runs at the lowest possible noise levels, which is a particular advantage when operating close to residential areas or when working at night. Currently, one battery charge lasts for up to four operating hours in typical mixed mode operations or for around 34 miles of road transport work, while charging time is about three hours. The battery is designed to last for 3100 charging cycles.
The ExactApply intelligent spray nozzle system significantly increases the flexibility and accuracy of spray applications. Uniquely featuring six nozzles on a rotating turret and two electrically-operated liquid valves, ExactApply can manually switch between two nozzles and independently control both the spray pressure and the flow rate at the nozzle.
The nozzles control the flow rate by using a pulse width modulation (PWM) system that offers three times the pulsing frequency of conventional systems, enabling a much wider range of variation in spraying speed and application rate. This allows the system to vary the forward speed from 10 to 30kph at a constant spraying pressure, or vary the output from 100 to 300 litres/ha at a constant spraying speed.
In addition, ExactApply is able to adjust the relationship between the nozzle flow rate and spraying pressure to apply a less drift-prone droplet spectrum than would otherwise be possible – ideal for buffer zones or changing weather conditions.
ExactApply also increases application accuracy when spraying in curves; the flow rate at each individual nozzle can be adjusted automatically to apply less spray liquid through the nozzles on the inside of the curve and more on the outside.
All the nozzles are also equipped with an individual LED light to improve night-time operations and a blockage detection system to indicate interruptions to the liquid flow. Combined with a warning message on the cab display, this makes checking nozzles significantly easier for the operator.