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New design calls for innovative hydraulics

Nov. 12, 2010
An innovative forage harvester from CNH Case New Holland resulted from teamwork between engineers and a hydraulics supplier.

There’s really only one option when a machine series comes to the end of its life cycle, and the competition starts gaining market share. You must develop a brand new series with the latest technology, impressive user benefits, and an overall design that leaves other machines in the dust.

Case New Holland redesigned its FR9000 Series forage harvester (including hydraulics) from the ground up, reducing its fuel consumption, emissions, and giving it capabilities for the future.

CNH Case New Holland had just that in mind when Sauer-Danfoss helped them develop a new generation of forage harvesters. The product of the companies’ close cooperation is the FR9000 Series harvesters, comprising five models with engine power ratings from 424 to 824 hp.

Guy Osselaere, Hydraulic Competence Centre Manager at CNH for harvesting equipment in Europe, commented, “We have built a completely new machine with a new hydraulic system that lowers our costs while giving better performance and flexibility. Although the machines are bigger and had to be comfortable to operate, the hydraulic system still had to be compact, yet powerful.”

Fast, quiet and efficient
Since the launch, the market response has been overwhelming — not the least because the features incorporated in the FR9000 Series are based on a CNH survey of customer needs. Reduced noise on the road, better fuel economy, and an innovative hydraulically-driven crop flow system are among the major benefits that have captured the market’s attention.

Hydraulics all around
Propulsion for the FR9000 series harvesters is provided by a hydrostatic transmission powered by a 147 cm3 or 165 cm3 model H1 variable-displacement axial-piston piston pump with servo control from Sauer-Danfoss. The pump drives a Sauer-Danfoss Series 51 bent-axis piston motor, with a displacement of 160 cm3, yielding a top road speed of 40 kph (24.8mph). Because the H1 pump has a large displacement, it can produce ample flow at a relatively low engine speed. This, in turn, cuts engine noise — essential to meeting legal limits for noise emissions while travelling at the higher road speed.

“Speed is very important, particularly in those countries where farmers typically have small fields and depend on a lot of road travel,” Osselaere explained. “We are very impressed by the performance of H1 in this application. It is also shorter and more compact and has fewer parts [than the pump previously specified], which makes it more reliable.”

The Sauer Danfoss H1 pump used in the FR9000 Series harvester can deliver full performance at input speeds as low as 1200 rpm, which reduces engine noise, fuel consumption, and emissions.

With lower engine speed, the FR9000 Series consumes 25% less fuel and produces 25% fewer emissions overall, bringing the harvesters into line with international emission standards when travelling on the road.

Sauer-Danfoss also supplies its Series 90 axial-piston pumps and motors sized at 100 cm3 to power header and roll drives, which pull grass or corn into the machine and feed it to knives that chop it into 6- to 40-mm pieces. An integrated stop block in the Series 90 motor for the feeder drive can stop the motor within 70 msec. Not only does this protect the knives when metal is detected in the crop, it also prevents sharp objects from getting into animal feed.

Precision steering is provided by a Sauer-Danfoss OSPC 185 steering unit, 11 cm3 gear pump, and electrohydraulic proportional valve with PVEP actuator. The PVEP is an electrohydraulic actuator serving as a pilot stage. It is a true mechatronic module comprising a digital solenoid valve bridge, a contactless transducer, and control electronics in one package designed for the rigors of mobile equipment. It has two low frequency PWM inputs that determine the set point for controlling the valve’s main spool. Using this control into the valve makes the vehicle suitable for automatic row guidance.

Two-minute changeover
From the cutting drum to the blower that discharges the forage into a trailer, CNH has optimized the entire crop flow using its patented Variflow system. A distinctive attribute of Variflow is its time-saving capacity to switch from corn crushing to hay cutting within just two minutes. The harvester’s overall work functions make use of various orbital motors, a load-sensing 75 cm3 Sauer-Danfoss Series 45 axial-piston pump, and seven customized hydraulic integrated circuits (HICs).

Sauer-Danfoss worked with CNH to develop one of the first PVG hybrids for a reverse knife sharpening mechanism, pickup drive (each powered by a Group 3 gear motor), and high-flow implements. This integrated component brings together the power capability of the Sauer-Danfoss PVG valve within a compact HIC — a cost-effective, flexible solution with high flow and proportional control.

The forage is discharged from the harvester via a spout, where an orbital motor drives the spout’s rotational movement. On the end of the spout, a flipper ensures the forage is discharged accurately into the trailer, aided by a proprietary Sauer-Danfoss proportional directional valve.

Continuing cooperation
The Sauer-Danfoss hydraulics on the FR9000 series have been fully integrated with the CNH in-house control system. And Osselaere offered that the teamwork has not stopped with this series launch. “We are now working on a system using Sauer-Danfoss Plus+1 controls for a special machine version that integrates the harvester with the trailer. Today, on our CR9080 combine harvesters, we are also using the H1 165 cm3 pump for the benefits it provides in relation to reduced noise and fuel consumption.”

This article is based on material originally appearing in Issue #11 of “The Circuit,” a quarterly publication from Sauer-Danfoss. For more information, visit www.sauer-danfoss.com.

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