The Fritzmeier Umwelttechnik Compan and the Technical University of Munich/Weihenstephan have jointly developed a system that both measures the sub-field specific harvest potential and analyzes plant growth. The soil data is gathered with a GPS receiver. The growth status of the plants is determined with the aid of an optical sensor.
By using the ISARIA system, the farmer obtains the optimum yield and while saving costs, as he applies only as much fertilizer as needed for plant growth. One of the crucial building blocks of the system is an agricultural mechanism installed on the front hydraulics of the tractor. The Fritzmeier engineers, however, have deliberately chosen not to use a hydraulic system.
'Often there are no free hydraulic connections on the front of the tractors. For this reasons, we have implemented electric actuators'
, states Johan Janker, Development Engineer at Fritzmeier Umwelttechnik.
A power supply for the sensors is always available. Janker identifies operational readiness as a further advantage of the electric system. 'The equipment is primarily employed on a seasonal basis, as a result of which longer downtimes may occur.'
Hydraulic systems do not always perform the best under seasonal conditions. The LINAK electrical actuators are practically maintenance-free and always employable while being directly operated from the electronics in the ISARIA system. This is cost-efficient and easier for the system construction.
|LINAK actuators belonging to the LA36 series are far from overtaxed. Power of 4,000 Newtons is required to smoothly swing the sensors in and out. The LA36 linear actuator can provide up to 10,000 Newtons.
For Fritzmeier engineers, the robustness of the actuator is even more important than the power requirement.
'During climate tests, we ascertain if our actuators function under extreme temperatures and stand up against rapid temperature changes. In some tests, actuators must repeatedly withstand ambient temperatures from +100 °C to -30 °C and remain functional. Actuators are also exposed to a variety of chemicals', explains Søren Hother Rasmussen, Managing Director of LINAK GmbH.
Two LINAK LA36 actuators fold out the sensors.
Besides all the advantages in the area of integration and robustness, Janker identifies a further advantages: the self-locking capacity. When extended, the electric actuator does not require any additional energy. Due to its self-locking capability, the spindle retains its position.
Electric actuators, when compared to hydraulics, are easy to integrate into existing electronic systems. For example, if position feedback is required in a hydraulic system, additional modules must be used.
Johann Janker still sees great potential for the use of electric adjustment systems in the agricultural sector. 'Many hydraulic systems can already be replaced by electric systems. Control is simple, and integration is easy to implement. Electric systems are continuing to spread,'
forecasts Johann Janker.
The new ISARIA system from Fritzmeier Umwelttechnik required forward-looking engineering combining sensor technology and data process with mechanical operation and adjustment. Electric actuators offer many options in agricultural applications and are easily integrated into existing systems.
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