Farm Ireland

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Austria goes Potti' for new machines

Machinery giant unveils latest ranges at International Day as Irish distributors head to hills

Bruce Lett

Pottinger took the opportunity to launch several new products at its International Day. These included a new twin-rotor rake and seed drill, with some new products for the gradients found in the Alpine regions of its home country, Austria. These are the Pöttinger Novaalpin 306 front-mounted mower and the BOSS L25T silage-loader wagon.

Also seen for the first time in a live demonstration at the event was Pottinger's knife-sharpening system for the company's silage wagons.

A new addition to the range of Pottinger rakes is the TOP 852C s-line twin-rotor rake. The new model joins the existing 972 and 1252C models as the smallest of their heavy duty twin-rotor series. It has a variable working width of 7.75-8.55m, which is adjusted hydraulically with telescoping arms out to the rotors.

The rotor arms are positioned at an angle on the machine's main frame to sweep back and lift at the end of each windrow. Pottinger has designed this to give a better and higher row clearance at the headlands, limiting any fouling of headland rows. Clearance height on the headland lift is 600mm -- nearly two feet -- or 30pc higher than any other equipment currently available on the market, Pottinger claims.

Pottinger also uses what it calls a Multi-tast ground-hugging wheel to facilitate better ground contouring on rough or uneven land. This Multitast wheel runs just in front of the rotor tines to give a truer guide of the ground profile and better cleaning without tines digging into the ground.

Rotor diameter on the TOP 852C s-line is 3.7m (with 13 tine arms) but, with the sweeping back rotor arms, the folded transport height remains below 4m overall -- without having to remove the tine arms. The side guard also hydraulically pivots back for road transport. As an option, Pottinger offers the facility to lift just one rotor and remain working with the other.

Also new from the Austrian machinery giant is the range of VITASEM A-mounted seed drills for power harrow and drill one-pass combinations.

Available in widths from 2.5-4m, the new range of mechanical seed-metering drills was designed for piggy-back mounted-drilling behind a power harrow.

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The drill's mechanical metering mechanism is driven by an infinitely variable, grease submerged transmission and comes with multi-sowing wheels and inserts for reduced normal sowing.

There are two coulter options, Suffolk and disc. On the 3m machine there is the facility to cut off one half of the machine. Hopper capacity of the 3m machine is 510 litres.

Pottinger's electronic 'Compass' control system features a calibration facility, speed indicator, current and total hectare counter, tramline facility and wheel-slip monitor.

Chopping grass for silage is like using any knife-type mechanism -- the knife edge will eventually dull, which then requires more effort to cut. On silage harvesters where the knives are fixed to either drum or flywheel chopping units, it is relatively simple to sharpen the blades from a stationary stone -- ready again for powering through acres of grass. In balers and silage wagons, this is not such an easy task because it is the knives that are stationary. A feed rotor pushes the grass through a bank of these knives to chop the grass.

By the end of any day, the knives on a baler or silage wagon become blunt. Pottinger estimates that, as a consequence, the power requirement to drive the wagon increases by up to 15pc -- or even 20pc on stony ground. This will, of course, increase diesel consumption as the effort required to chop the grass is increased.

Sharpening would normally involve removing each individual knife or attempting to sharpen each one in situ.

Pottinger has come up with a system of sharpening the knives on their silage wagons without having to do any of this time-consuming and cumbersome work. And when you consider that their silage wagons may have up to 45 knives, this becomes an attractive option.

On their wagons, the sharpening unit is neatly stored behind the chopper unit. The sharpening process is triggered by the operator from the wagon's control unit in the tractor cab. In operation, the knife bank is hydraulically lowered, and the knife cleaner/guard hinged back exposing the knives. The sharpening unit then swings down into the work position.

A hydraulic motor drives the sharpening stone while another moves it the length of the knife to sharpen it. This second one drives a toothed gear in a track which has been cut with a profile, designed so that the stone follows the curve of the knife. Another motor moves the sharpening arm with the stone across the width of the sharpening unit, stopping at each knife to give it two strokes of the sharpening stone -- out and back.

Sensors on the unit align the stone with each individual knife. The entire process is automatic, once it has been activated from the tractor cab, and when all the knives are sharpened, the unit moves out of the way and the knife bank returns to the work position.

In total, the process takes about four minutes. The knife sharpening option is expected to be priced in the region of €5,000.

Irish Independent