John Deere develop electric cable-powered tractor
John Deere has developed an electric cable powered tractor, producing up to 400hp. Peter Thomas Keaveney reports.

John Deere has developed an electric cable powered tractor, producing up to 400hp

GridCON, a joint project between John Deere and the University of Kaiserslautern, was aimed at using a farm’s own energy.

The GridCON tractor is very different to John Deere’s first fully electric tractor, which they presented in 2016.

It is the first vehicle to be fully electric, permanently cable powered and capable of fully autonomous operation in the field

The new tractor has no cab and no rows of batteries underneath the bonnet.

It is the first vehicle to be fully electric, permanently cable powered and capable of fully autonomous operation in the field.

Based on a John Deere 6210R tractor, GridCON uses a cable connection from the field border to the machine, which transfers power continuously at over 300kW. A 100kW electric motor powers the IVT transmission, and there is an additional outlet for implements powered by a 200kW electric motor.

A drum fixed to the front of the tractor carries up to 1,000m of cable, which can be extended.

The machine employs a cooling infrastructure for off-board electrical use, while total efficiency of the drivetrain is in the region of 85%

In the field, the cable is fed out and reeled in while guided by a robot arm. A guidance system is used to prevent the tractor running into or over the cable.

When working, the tractor follows pre-set rows autonomously at operating speeds of up to 20km/h (12mph). The tractor can also be guided manually using a remote control.

A power supply of 2.5kV AC is required, and the GridCON tractor uses a 700V DC bus for electric power distribution both on-board and for implements.

The machine employs a cooling infrastructure for off-board electrical use, while total efficiency of the drivetrain is in the region of 85%.

Total empty weight of the working prototype GridCON tractor including cable drum and robot arm is about 8.5t, similar to that of a conventional John Deere 6195R tractor but with twice as much power.

John Deere explained that research engineers are aiming to reduce the weight further by at least 1t. Besides the power-to-weight ratio, the concept is noiseless and emission-free.

John Deere also noted that in comparison to battery-powered tractors, the GridCON tractor delivers around 50% lower operating costs.

Continued growth for Lemken
German farm implement manufacturer Lemken has seen an increase in both turnover and employment figures for 2018 despite difficult conditions.

German farm implement manufacturer Lemken saw an increase in both turnover and employment figures for 2018, despite difficult conditions.

Its total turnover of €380m corresponded to a growth rate of 6%, while exports outside of Germany remained at an unchanged 77%.

According to Lemken, the dry conditions of 2018 saw order numbers decrease.

Russia took title of second-largest export market, although not meeting its full expectations

Anthony van der Ley, managing director, noted that the turbulent weather had a massive impact on the company’s schedules and planning, leaving suppliers under pressure.

Germany remains the tillage equipment manufacturer’s strongest market, while France, Spain and Italy generated top sales figures for Lemken.

Russia took title of second-largest export market, although not meeting its full expectations.

Lemkens’s Indian production site, in its sixth year, saw a noticeable increase in its two- to three-furrow plough sales.

Overall, Lemken’s plough and disc harrow sector achieved positive growth.

Lemken has invested €8.5m in factory expansion and modernisation, improving factory logistics in particular.

2018 not only saw an increase in turnover, but likewise in staff growth employing an additional 165 people, raising the brand’s total employment figure to 1,635 people.

According to the German manufacturer, the year ahead looks positive, with order numbers on track so far.

Komatsu WA100M-8 wheel loader hits Irish market
Komatsu has recently launched its latest version WA100M-8 compact wheel loader on the Irish market. Peter Thomas Keaveney reports.

Komatsu recently launched its latest WA100M-8 compact wheel loader on the Irish market.

The wheel loader is powered by a 94hp (70 kW) common rail direct injection EU Stage IV engine. It has an operating weight of 7,200kg. The higher-specification high-flow optional version has a maximum flow rate of 120l/min at 210 bar.

Komatsu WA100M-8 wheel loader hits Irish market

The new loader is equipped with a fully automatic hydrostatic transmission that sends power to all four wheels. The machine has an increased travel speed of up to 40km/h.

The 40km/h transmission has three speed ranges: creep 0-10km/h, 0-15km/h and 0-40km/h. It also comes with an electronic controlled suspension system as an optional extra. The loader is sitting on planetary rigid axles with automatic limited slip differentials in both axles, with 100% locking differentials as an option. It has a 110l fuel tank.

Samco adds Trimble GPS option
Samco has recently added the Trimble GPS as an option to its maize planter. Peter Thomas Keaveney reports.

The well-known Samco System was first developed in 1996.

The company developed a maize drill to sow seed, lay degradable film over the seedbed and spray pre-emergence herbicide to control weed growth, all in one pass.

The Samco machine comes in two working widths, either as 3.2m or 4.6m. The narrower model comes with two sections, while the wider version has three sections.

The sprayer has an output of 250l per hectare with the spray pressure controlled by the forward speed of the machine.

Up to now Samco, has been using the Spray Lite System on its sprayer, manufactured by the German Müller Corporation.

Now, the system is available with the Trimble GPS pressure system installed, controlling sprayer output in relation to forward speed, guiding the driver through a visual guidance in-cab monitor.

This will help to ensure accurate herbicide placement and better field coverage.