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About diesel efficiency and Isobus

One hot topic of the Agritechnica 2013 was diesel efficiency. This trade show, is the world’s leading trade fair for agricultural machinery and equipment. Over 2700 exhibitors from 47 countries present their latest developments.

The topic of diesel efficiency has become an increasing focus for farmers during recent decades. Reason therefore was being able to get timely and high quality performance of work with modern agricultural machinery and equipment done. The discussion on diesel efficiency was triggered by increasing fuel costs as well as the environmental policy specifications for reducing exhaust gases that have been addressing mobile machinery since the adoption of the EU Directive 97/68/EC in 1997. Since then, technical implementation of the emission reduction required by law and additional optimizing of engine management to reduce consumption have been increased by manufacturers of engines, tractors and self-propelled harvesting machinery.

Research shows that optimizing the internal combustion engine will not lead itself to substantial increases in diesel efficiency. It's necessary to examine different stages, such as e.g. process optimizing of the complete drive train, optimizing the working processes within a machine, the overall machine, the machine system, and the complete agricultural production process. This fundamental idea has been implemented with the help of agricultural machinery developments that have won gold medals at Agritechnica this year. This event took place in Hanover (Germany); the organizer is the DLG (German Agricultural Society).

All of the following developments have been made possible by an embedded CAN network. For the communication between tractor and implements the Isobus application profile was standardized (ISO 11783 series). Mobile machines used in farming, are towed or connected to a truck via this Isobus integrated network.

One product for optimizing the process of a drive train, is the Hybrid Telescope from Merlo (Germany). According to the information supplied by the manufacturer, the electro-hybrid system implemented in this machine makes it possible to reduce the driving power of the diesel engine from ≥100 kW to 56 kW. Also, depending on the work cycle it increases the diesel efficiency by up to 30 %.

Another Gold Medal winner at Agritechnica 2013 is the Airsep system from Grimme (Germany). This development translates the optimizing of work processes within a machine into practice. The system introduced for separating impurities pneumatically during potato harvesting allows an increase in diesel efficiency by avoiding energy-consuming soil separation at boundary locations.

The Axmat development from Rauch (Germany) in cooperation with the measuring and instrumentation technology specialist MSO is an example of optimizing an overall machine. With the aid of a microwave sensor the system is able to identify and record the fertilizer distribution of a disc fertilizer spreader online and to regulate the setting parameters depending on the respective fertilizer variety and the working width. In this way the machine automatically ensures distribution of the mineral fertilizer.

Taking a look at possible future diesel-efficient technologies, four ideas in agricultural production can be formulated. Firstly, diesel efficiency is improved by the interaction of many individual measures - starting with the machine assembly and continuing right through to the production process. Secondly, optimizing the overall process of agricultural production brings big potential for savings by comparison with optimizing individual process stages. Thirdly, farmers' confidence in the security of their digital data is a prerequisite for extensive use of these data to achieve greater diesel efficiency. And last but not least, satellite-supported navigation systems in combination with electro-hybrid drive technologies allow broad application of modern, diesel-efficient processes in plant production.