Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Saturday 25 March 2017

Pulling out all the stops to capture more customers

As the ploughing season approaches, the world's leading plant manufacturers have gone to town to promote and sell their stock after a rocky few years of client purse-tightening

Bruce Lett

We are again at the beginning of the busiest period in the farming calendar -- albeit delayed by the weather. Ploughing is well under way for this year's cereal planting. Grass growth has been setback by the cold but, weather permitting, silage is not too far away.

At the tail-end of last year, all the major manufacturers geared their new machinery launches to coincide with Europe's biggest machinery event, Agritechnica, which was held near to the northern German city of Hannover.

While the industry has been somewhat depressed with a significant drop in worldwide sales, manufacturers are meeting these new challenges head on by downsizing, resizing and adapting in whatever way is required to keep moving forward.

IResearch and development is key to this, and manufacturers recognise that developing new and better products is crucial to survival and to maintaining and gaining market share.

Momentum

Within the machinery industry as a whole things are gaining momentum with significant launches, particularly from Irish machinery manufacturers.

McHale and Dromone continue to develop their products with clever and innovative additions to their ranges. Dutch companyLely is full of surprises and has developed a new line-up of silage bale wrappers to complement the existing Attis HR 16 model.

IJohn Deere has focused its attention on protecting the customer's investment, offering service and warranty packages, and Deere has also just joined the CESAR security anti-theft scheme, another company offering a 'chipping' facility for modern, electronically controlled engines.McHale has introduced its latest innovation in wrapping, the McHale 991 High Speed.


The Mayo company already manufactures a wide range or wrappers from three-point linkage to a square bale type.

The twin satellite design, used by McHale, Kverneland, Goweil and just about every wrapper manufacturer, is regarded as the industry norm for high-output wrapper design. This twin satellite arm design features a twin-arm loaded with a roll of plastic wrap on each which applies wrap to the bale as it rotates around it. The application of two layers of film effectively halves the wrapping time of silage or haylage bales.

Even though McHale has its own version of the satellite wrapper, it has cleverly adapted its 991 turntable machine to facilitate applying two layers of plastic film simultaneously from separate static dispensers. This method allows the application of twice the amount of wrap while keeping the rotational speed of the wrapping table down. To increase turntable speed would be potentially hazardous if a bale was thrown off the table. Higher turntable speeds risk trapping air pockets in the bale, which can promote the growth of mould and is potentially lethal to animals. The plastic film can also tear at higher application speeds.

Dispensers

To facilitate the application of two layers of film simultaneously, and provide the correct overlap, the belt speed of the conveyor on the wrapping table is increased to provide the desired result. The engineering behind the positioning of the plastic film dispensers aids this overlap and allows the plastic to be retained and cut by one knife and retainer mechanism at the start and end of each wrapping process.

Technical specifications of the 991 model include 750mm film dispensers with McHale's Quick Fit lock and load system, a bale damper system for unloading the bales softly and other features you would expect on today's wrappers.

Operation of the McHale 991 High Speed is fully automatic in the field, but the operator can also override and select the auto bale load function, auto bale tip function, the number of film layers to be applied to the bale and single-roll wrapping mode, which allows the unit to wrap with just one roll of film -- for example, on smaller jobs where only one roll is supplied by the customer. Film-break sensors also detect if one of the films breaks, and the wrapper will automatically go back into single wrapping mode to finish that job.

McHale's sales manager John Biggins explained the reason behind the development and introduction of the 991 High Speed.

"Over the past number of years contractors have been asking for a higher output bale wrapper," Biggins said. "This demand has come about due to baler output increasing and also the move by some contractors to wrap bales with six layers instead of four."

On examining the wrappers' output, Biggins said: "We have tested the 991 High Speed against the 991BE, a machine which is recognised in the market place as having an output of 60 bales an hour. For the test we made sure that oil flow and table rotations were the same.

Machine

"What we found was the 991 High Speed could wrap three bales while the 991BE could wrap two. Therefore, it is fair to say that the 991 High Speed has 50pc more output, or can wrap three bales while a similar single dispenser machine wraps two."

Going by McHale's calculations, the 991 High Speed should be, in theory, capable of wrapping 100 bales an hour in ideal circumstances. This places it in line with the capacity of its own HS2000 twin satellite arm wrapper -- quite a feat for the 991 -- and will certainly raise a few questions about a retro fit kit for regular 991s to bring them up to speed.

McHale says the 991 High Speed will be available through its dealer network for this year's silage season.

Making a surprising, yet significant, entry into the bale wrapper market is Dutch machinery manufacturer, Lely. Though not completely new to the wrapper market, the Attis wrapper concept was designed and incorporated into the Welger Double Action combination baler-wrapper at the time of the original Lely Welger tie-up. The Attis twin satellite wrapper was available as a stand alone machine but never made it here in that guise.

The recent buyout of Welger by Vermeer and Lely seems to have invigorated the Lely organisation. A few months ago we saw the introduction of the Tornado combination wrapping unit on a Lely Welger variable chamber baler. Now we see an entire line up of wrappers to complement the original Attis unit.

While still at the development stage, Lely, it seems, will be introducing both satellite (eg, McHale HS2000) and fixed (eg, McHale 991) trailed wrapping units.

The entry level model in the new range is the trailed turntable Lely Attis PT 130. This basic model features cable controls with an electronic bale revolution counter and loading arm. It has a low height and extendable R/H wheel to stabilise the unit. The operator manually controls all the functions of the wrapper in the cab.

Next is the more sophisticated Attis PT 160, again a trailed turntable unit but more like contractor specification units, with standard, semi-automatic or optional, fully automatic wrapping, a bale lowering system and so on.

Finally, Lely also plans to introduce a twin satellite arm bale wrapper, the Lely Attis PS 160, which features a patented hydraulic drawbar and can, during wrapping, operate both in the offset position and in line with the tractor. In both positions it is possible to take along a second bale. Interestingly, all machines use RDS monitoring and control systems instead of Lely's E-Link handset.

Stocks

There aren't any pictures available of the new machines at present, just engineering images which can be seen on the website. Lely Ireland says that we can expect the new wrappers to be launched in time for the 2011 season, so we may see them at the Farm Machinery Show next year.

We will also see Deutz-Fahr and Kuhn grass products run side by side this year as stocks of the green product deplete and Kuhn's buyout of Deutz-Fahr/Vicon takes effect. While many of the models have been familiar in Deutz-Fahr or Vicon livery, the Kuhn SW 4004 large square bale wrapper is completely new, according to Kuhn, and it made its debut at the Agritechnica event last year.

This is a self-loading, large square bale wrapper and Kuhn says it is capable of wrapping square bales of 120cm wide x 140cm high x 200cm long, including double bales. Kuhn also says it can handle round bales as well, up to a maximum diameter of 150cm.

A hydraulic sliding, bridge-like frame opens to house the bales and Kuhn says it makes it extremely stable. Closing the frame back in allows for a road transport width of just 2.5m.

Kuhn offers two different types of control terminal, but the SW 4004 is an ISOBUS-compatible unit, so ISOBUS-compatible tractors do not need a separate terminal for the wrapper.

Kuhn's IntelliWrap allows the operator to input the required amount of film layers and the system then automatically matches this request to the various bale dimensions.

Mowers

Claas has added two new triple mower conditioners to its range for this year, the Disco 8400 C Contour and Disco 9100 C Contour. These are both butterfly-type triple mowers and their addition to the range gives customers the option of five-conditioner and two non- conditioner triple/butterfly models to choose from, with working widths of 8.1-9.1m.

On both the new 8.1m Disco 8400 C Contour and 8.9m Disco 9100 C Contour mower conditioners, the mounting system for the outer two, rear-mounted units is designed so that the mowers are positioned as close to the tractor as possible to reduce axle loading. Both units are centrally suspended and incorporate the Class active-float hydro- pneumatic suspension system. Depending on ground conditions, this system allows the operator to adjust the suspension pressure from the cab to help ensure a clean cut and minimise the risk of crop soil contamination.

On the outer mowing units there is an automatic break-back unit with a 15° mounting on the pivot arm. When one of the outer mowers hits an obstruction the whole unit swings back and lifts to reduce damage from the collision.

Both mowers use the Class P-Cut cutter bar, which, Claas says, is designed to achieve an extremely even and clean cut. Drive to the discs is through a smooth running, low-gear transmission using large diameter gearwheels, with an individual drive system for each cutting disc. The cutting discs are set lower in the cutter bar to aid a cleaner cut and to improve crop flow. Each is mounted in a new, high-strength sealed, double-tapered roller-bearing assembly.

Claas says that the P-Cut cutter bar is manufactured from high-strength steel and incorporates robust cutter bar skids underneath, with Hardox inserts between each skid. In addition, the design is such that grooves on the underside of the cutter bar funnel away any build ups of earth for a cleaner cut.

Each disc is protected by the unique 'Safetylink' drive protection system, where defined shear points prevent gear and cutter bar damage should an object be hit. A quick-knife release system enables damaged or worn blades to be quickly and easily replaced without the need for an array of tools to be used.

The conditioner used on all three mower units is fitted with rubber-mounted steel tines, while a full width spreader hood is optionally available, which allows the crop to be spread across the full width of the mower.

Diagnostics

Automotive Diagnostic Services' (ADS) Seamus Ryan is offering an alternative to those looking for extra power from their vehicles

Seamus (above) is an importer and distributor for the Italian Dipa Sport range of vehicle-related electronic products. This range also includes an add-on module, which can be programmed to provide extra power on vehicles equipped with common rail or electronically controlled diesel-fuel injection systems.

On common rail fuel injection systems, it is a matter of plugging the unit into the fuel rail pressure sensor and the vehicles pressure sensor plug on the module. An array of settings can be programmed, with a handheld unit into the box, to provide adjustment in three stages across the engine's rpm range.

"With cars and light commercial vehicles there is plenty of programming data available. You enter the figures from the guide into the module with the programmer and that's it. With tractors there isn't much data available for programming so a dynamometer is needed to do it right and within acceptable limits," he said.

"The tractor power is increased in increments using the programmer until the desired power increase is achieved without generating fault codes or having any bad effect on the tractor."

The tuning module (black box) is common across the board and only requires different wiring looms to suit different tractors and electronic injection systems. The hand-held unit for configuring the module plugs into the module for programming. An optional wireless remote allows the user to select two power settings, programmed and stored in the module, or to turn the boost facility off altogether. The two power settings perhaps apply more to a car than the tractor, but some may think the ability to switch the boost off is good.

On the price, Seamus said: "Most tractor dealers that we supply to are offering customers a package, fitting the module and setting it up on a dynamometer for €700 + VAT."

If there's any other tractor dealers interested in the products please contact Seamus on 051 424 799

Telehandlers

The full Massey Ferguson MF 8900 Xtra telehandler range now has a host of new cab features and an improved ergonomic layout, claims the company.

"Operators can often spend as much time in a telehandler as they do in a tractor cab, so it is important we offer the same levels of comfort and control," said Laurent Pernin, general marketing manager of MF Tractors.

"MF 8900 Xtra operators now benefit from a cab interior that creates a better working environment, with modern controls and materials along with a higher capacity air-conditioning and heating system."

The restyled cab features a new curved, pinnacle-style dash with a modern, auto-style instrument layout. There is also a chunkier steering wheel, new switch gear and a roller blind that replaces the sun visor. The stability indicator is now located on the right-hand side. Outside, new headlamps and round work lights provide enhanced illumination, says Massey.

There is also a new extreme-conditions cooling package option for the engine, which offers better cooling performance for continuous operation in arduous situations. Designed for working in hot and dusty situations, and when towing, the new radiator is 43mm wider and 47mm deeper than before, and MF says it offers up to 20pc better cooling capacity.

Irish Independent