There is much going on in the world of hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motion systems, from technology introductions and industry advancements to new trends and industry leaders. Each week the Power & Motion team collects the latest industry news to help keep our readers up to date on what's happening in the fluid power and electric motion control sectors as well as the industries they serve.
This week we are highlighting news from one of the largest international agricultural industry events, Agritechnica, which took place November 12-18 in Hanover, Germany. Agricultural equipment is the second largest customer market for the fluid power sector, and is a particularly strong market for hydraulics. Electronic solutions such as electric actuators are also making inroads in this sector as well, noted Tom Diedrichs, Product Manager Actuators at Ewellix, in an interview with Power & Motion, demonstrating the importance of this segment to the broader motion control industry.
Agritechnica 2023 brought over 2,800 exhibitors to the Hanover fair grounds. DLG, the organizers of the event, said 1,831 exhibitors from outside Germany registered for the event which is a new record in international participation. Attendance was expected to be high for this year's event as well.
And of course there were several new technologies debuted by both component manufacturers and OEMs aimed at making farmers more productive and efficient so they can continue feeding an ever-increasing global population. Following are highlights of some of the news which came out of this year's largetst agricultural industry event.
HydraForce Exhibits Compact Hydraulic Solutions
During Agritechnica, HydraForce showed it latest compact hydraulic solutions, many of which are designed to provide precise hydraulic control, machine intelligence, automation and energy efficiency.
Products on display included:
- Innercept Digital Proportional Control - a compact, proportional control valve with integrated LVDT (linear variable differential trnasformer) designed to provide exceptional linearity and repeatability. It can aid with the creation of more stable autonomous functions.
- HF-Impulse Configuration and Programming Software - a software development platform for the company's electronic controllers featuring easy-to-use diagram configurations, C++ Editor and Structured Text Editor.
- EDG-OBE, EDG Series - a pre-compensated proportional directional valve for small hydraulic-implemented systems. It is equipped with closed loop electronic or open loop analog piloting module for control and reliability.
- G3 Proportional Valves for powertrain, braking and pilot control - a valve which reduces non-energized leakage by 90% compared to standard products.
Liebherr Components Showcases Hydraulics, Sensors and Digital Solutions
Liebherr's components division highlighted a range of products, including its hydrogen engine prototype. Hydraulic components and digital technologies were on display as well.
During the event the company showed its DPVG 140 axial piston pump for closed circuits which has been upgraded to provide numerous benefits in agricultural equipment applications. The pump features a hydrostatic swash plate bearing which reduces material wear due to it minimizing friction compared to traditional bearings with rolling elements.
It offers a robust and reliable design, ensuring a long service life in harsh operating conditions. The DPVG 140 pump features a load-independent stability of the rotary group and is available in a version with an ELS controller with additional valves. This allows the pump to switch on and off from any operating state, enabling it to meet operational safety needs.
The pump can be used in traction, rotary, winch or drill drives, as well as shredder main drives.
Also exhibited by Liebherr were various digital technologies aimed at helping improve the productivity and safety of farming operations. The company displayed its latest digital assistance systems, including the 360-degree surround view LiXplore which provides machine operators with a bird's eye view of the environment around them.
Among its digital technology offerings is a special sensor Liebherr has developed to measure moisture in harvesting machines such as combine harvesters, forage harvesters or feed mixers and balers. The robustly designed P80-CAN sensor can determine the moisture content in, and thus quality of, a crop such as grain or corn. Machine parameters can be adjusted during harvesting based on the data collected by the sensor to adjust operation as necessary so only the optimal crop is harvested which can help to save on energy use.
TTControl Introduces Three New Control Technologies
TTControl, a joint venture company of HYDAC International and TTTech, introduced three new products at Agritechnica 2023 — a multi-interface and multi-screen computing platform, a model of the Vision 3 display series as well as a motorized ECU to control small brushed electric motors and linear actuators.
The new Fusion computing platform will help agricultural equipment manufacturers create smarter machines through inclusion of software control. Fusion is equipped with an artificial intelligence (AI) accelerator which enable edge AI applications such as precise spraying. Implementation of these types of technologies helps farmers more accurately place fertilizer or herbicide, ensuring it gets onto crops and less is wasted – benefitting the environment and their operational costs.
Cameras mounted onto the spraying implement capture data which is fed into Fusion; the computing platform collects this data as the implement moves through the field and processes it to make real-time decisions using a neural network that can be trained with deep learning to understand plant species, development states and different soil types.
TTControl's new Volution 144 electronic control unit (ECU) is robustly designed for use in harsh operating environments like agriculture. The company said it can be used as an independent power module with H-Bridge function to control small brushed electric motors as well as linear actuators up to 750 W. Featuring Infineon’s TriCore™Aurix™TC377 CPU, the ECU is able to meet the demanding performance requirements of off-highway and automotive safety applications.
Volution 144 can be used in situations where substantial forces are required to maintain tool positions or to overcome significant friction, whether it's related to fluids or airflows explained TTControl in its press release announcing the launch of the products at Agritechnica. Use cases include the control of motors for electric power steering, stationary braking systems, and electric active stabilizer motors.
Vision 307 is a new family of compact, rugged displays that will be part of TTControl's Vision 3 series. The display provides an improved user experience and data visualization. It features a 7-in. touchscreen which is sunlight readable. It enables various communication interfaces with machine systems as well as connection of up to four cameras for use with vision systems.
OEMs Introduce Latest Agrigultural Equipment
In addition to the many components and systems on display at Agritechnica, there were a large number of machine OEMs on site to showcase their latest equipment designs.
AGCO showcased various clean energy machine options as well as those utilizing automation, autonomy and AI. On display was the company's Fendt e100 V Varior, its first battery-electric Fendt tractor which will go into the market in 2024.
The company also launched the Valtra S series with SmartTurn technology; the tractor is equipped with autonomous field driving features to help farmers be more precise with their movements through a field while also helping to reduce their fatigue.
New Holland Agriculture revealed its new CR11 combine with various smart features aimed at helping reduce crop loss. The combine includes a larger and fully automated TwinClean double-cleaning shoe with automated cross-distribution control to improve the efficiency of grain collection and cleaning.
An IntelliSpread radar system automates spreading control to ensure full and even residue coverage behind the combine, regardless of wind effects, crop type or moisture conditions the company stated in its press release announcing the combine's launch. Intellispread uses radar sensors to detect residue spread width while closed-loop automatic control of the residue system parameters allows continuous adjustments to changing conditions.
The combine is also equipped with New Holland's IntelliSteer guidance system and an automated de-slug program which walks machine operators through the process of removing any blockage which may be hindering the combine's performance.
The CR11 combine is one of several brands under the CNH Industrial umbrella which received innovation awards during the event. The CR11 received the gold medal in the Agritechnica Innovation Awards while New Holland's T7 LNG tractor concept received a silver medal as did the T4 Electric Power tractor, an all-electric tractor with autonomous features introduced earlier this year.
Other CNH brands which received innovation awards include the Case IH Axial-Flow feedrate radar system which uses forward-looking radar sensors to scan and assess crop density before it enters the combine harvester rather than during the threshing process as is traditionally done. The Steyr Hybrid CVT tractor prototype received a silver award for its design which features a hybrid electric drive and employs supercapacitor technology to provide faster acceleration.