Farm Ireland

Saturday 20 January 2018

German solution to aged-old round baler defect

Bruce Lett

The Krone Ultima is the German firm's solution to the age-old problem associated with the round baler and baling.

That is, you have to stop to tie or net the bale, open the tailgate and eject it, before continuing on down the swath of hay, silage or straw to make the next bale.

There is an awful lot of time lost in this stop-start process of producing round bales.

Over the years there has been more than one attempt by manufacturers at producing a non-stop baler that works.

The biggest problem is what to do or where to put crop while the bale is being netted and then ejected.

The Krone solution to this problem is borrowed from big square baler design and has been developed to accommodate the longer tying and ejection process of the round baler.

In a square baler, a plunger travels backwards and forwards in a chamber, compressing wads of material as they enter the chamber.

A pre-chamber stores and accumulates this material while the plunger is on its compression stroke and then it is loaded into the chamber when the plunger returns, allowing the baler to proceed unabated.

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The netting and bale ejection process is considerable longer in a round baler, so Krone had to develop a chamber that would accommodate quite a large amount of material.

The firm fitted its pre-compaction chamber, which is a driven by a conveyor top and bottom, between the bale chamber and pick-up/chopper-rotor.

This double conveyor feeds the material from the pick-up/chopper-rotor into the bale chamber.

When the bale is being netted and ejected, these conveyors stop and expand or open out wider to accommodate the incoming material without sending it into the bale chamber.

When the netted bale is ejected, the conveyors start up again and feed the accumulated crop into the chamber.

For good measure, Krone has also added a high-speed wrapper to its non-stop baler, making it what it claims is the world's first non-stop round baler/wrapper combination.

Up front, it uses the firm's new cam-less pick-up to feed a 26-knife chopper rotor.

The bale chamber itself is what the firm calls a semi-variable bale chamber and uses the quiet NovoGrip elevator system of rubber belts and slats instead of chains and slats to form the bale. The Krone Ultima can produce bales from 1.25 metres to 1.5 metres in diameter.

While the Ultima is not yet in production, four machines will be produced this year for further evaluation and development.

These will be working in both the northern and southern hemispheres to maximise development time and ultimately get the baler wrapper into production sooner.

It may be some time, though, before the Ultima makes it to our shores, but the heavy crops produced here in Ireland would certainly test the room available in the Ultima's Pre-Compaction chambers.

Indo Farming