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Case story

Driverless tractor provides everyday farmers with more free time

The Dutch company Farmertronics has created an autonomous tractor that eases the work of modern farmers. This innovative machine is fully electric and features LINAK actuators.

Driverless tractor by Farmertronics

Farmertronics was founded in 2012 by Thieu Berkers. Growing up on the farm where his father worked with a horse, and later with a tractor, Thieu found, based on his high-tech background, that the natural next step in farming should be an autonomous tractor.

Literally starting from scratch, he and his team created a high-tech unmanned tractor, called the eTrac. Not only is it environmentally friendly; it also creates free time for the everyday farmer to spend with his family or on new projects. Just imagine the possibilities.

"The eTrac is inspired by my father. There is a strong connection to my youth and also a strong connection to the future. I figured farming can be done much smarter than with a regular tractor," says Thieu Berkers.

 

Benefits of the autonomous tractor

Based on the same philosophy as a regular tractor, the innovative electric eTrac enables farmers to work remote and save costs in the process.

-Every single component was extensively researched to make sure the tractor was safe and enduring while at the same time being an environmentally-friendly product. The app included allows the farmer to receive notifications and assign the path the eTrac needs to follow, so the farmer can go elsewhere, worry-free.

Weighing only 1000 kg the eTrac is a lightweight tractor which helps prevent soil compaction. It is fully electric making it practically maintenance-free, and by collecting data and giving feedback to the farmer, the farmer gets a precise overview of the harvest further making it a more cost-efficient solution.

Thieu Berkers adds: "You save personnel costs since there’s no driver, and it can go on day and night. Of course, the farmer has to make an investment. However, the payback is only four years. It’s another way of farming. It is more remote as the farmer can check everything from the smartphone or tablet."

 

Actuator with CAN bus interface for lifting function

Looking for a solution to lift the mowing deck which could easily connect and communicate with other components, Farmertronics chose a LINAK® electric actuator with a CAN bus interface. All the other units on the tractor were already connected through CAN bus, which made it essential that the lifting solution was also CAN bus based. Since it is also a real-time network it makes the system very flexible, so it can easily adapt to changes implemented remotely.

"I chose LINAK because the solution fit really well with our application. Also, LINAK was already successful in agriculture. It’s also a matter of feeling. I can’t exactly say what the difference was, but at a certain moment it was clear to me to go with LINAK," Thieu Berkers explains.

 
 

Future steps

Just like any regular tractor, the future-orientated eTrac consists of a base to which agricultural equipment can be attached. Farmertronics is constantly adding new functionalities to it to create more options and to make the tractor even more reliable and precise. In this digitalized world the range of future options is endless, but Farmertronics will start with a sprayer, adding 3D sensors and developing a seeder.

You can read more about Farmtronics at www.farmertronics.com

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Files

CANopen user manual

This user manual describes the capabilities of LINAK TECHLINE® CANopen components and the requirements for controlling these. It specifies the technologies involved, the environmental data specification and the functional description.

Move for the future

Learn more about the future world of movement with IC actuators.

Trends in the agricultural machinery of the future

Electric linear actuators play a significant part in the development of the agricultural machinery of tomorrow. Learn more in this whitepaper about trends in agricultural machinery and the electrification of agriculture.

TECHLINE product overview

Explore the wide variety of tough and powerful TECHLINE products. Built to last, built for hard work and built for work in harsh environments.

LINAK test brochure

Each and every component in an actuator is subjected to a comprehensive battery of tests at the LINAK test center. Learn more in this folder.

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