Drones may becoming more widely used for reasons of providing entertaining Facebook videos, but the real world of unmanned aerial vehicles is about to change with the news that Yamaha has recently received permission in the United States to fly the RMax. This is a helicopter-type drone designed to spray crops.
The European agricultural market is the next focus for Yamaha, as the company aims to boost drone manufacturing output from 320 this year to 500 by 2020.
Yamaha has been developing this helicopter drone for over 30 years. There are over 2,600 of them working, mainly in Japan, and now also in South Korea and Australia.
Over 2.4 million acres of Japanese crops are reported to be treated annually by the Yamaha RMax. It has proved ideal for spraying in difficult areas and a further help in reducing soil compaction.
The RMax costs about €70,000, weighs 64kg and can carry a load of 28kg, either as 16 litres of spray or 26 litres of fertilizer. Its 246cc two-cylinder petrol engine runs on a two-stroke oil mix. With over 3 metres in wingspan width, it is normally moved from farm to farm behind a 4x4 and trailer.
A tracked version of the innovative Teleskid has been introduced by JCB to handle loading and re-handling tasks in farming and forestry where conditions underfoot are delicate or especially demanding.
The Teleskid 3TS-8T is unique among compact tracked loaders in having a telescopic boom that adds to the machine’s capabilities and performance envelope.
It has all the benefits of the highly manoeuvrable large-platform compact tracked loader on which it is based, but also the advantages that come with a telescopic boom – such as being able to load into higher-sided bulk trailers and spreaders, to stack and retrieve bales and vegetable boxes from a greater height, and to handle and push loose materials into deeper stockpiles.
The concept of a skid-steering compact loader equipped with an extending boom is already proven on the wheeled Teleskid 3TS-8W, which has similar performance figures in terms of lift height and forward reach.
However, the tracked machine manages to lift more within safe limits by dint of its greater weight – 5.7t for the 3TS-8T versus 4.4t. The tracked loader’s boom is equipped with JCB Smoothride System suspension to also help retain loose materials – and provide a more comfortable ride – when travelling over a rough surface.