In anticipation of the Agritechnica 2017, Isobus services and products are increasingly launched. Additionally, the AEF organizes its autumn plugfest.
The Agritechnica tradeshow casts its shadow ahead. It will take place in Hanover (Germany) in November (12 to 18). Isobus will be an important topic. The CAN-based protocol uses J1939 communication mechanisms and is internationally standardized in the ISO 11783 series.
The nonprofit AEF association promotes Isobus solutions and organizes bi-annually interoperability tests, called plugfest. The autumn plugfest 2017 will take place in Stuttgart (Germany) from October 16 to 20. During the event, pre-tests on Isobus conformity are possible. CiA member Epec will participate with its recently introduced Isobus products – controllers and tools.
Since early 2017, the DLG Isobus certificates are no longer shown in the AEF database. However, the DLG-tested hardware can still be used as basis for AEF software certificates before January 2018. From then on, both hardware and software must pass the AEF test or they will not be listed in the database. It is also recommended to measure the CAN sample-point in percentage of the bit-length. The sample point position has significant impact on the bit error rate and consequently on the frame error rate of the entire system.
Since April, Sven Mindrup manages the Isobus Test Center. He completed his studies of general electrical engineering at the University of Osnabrück in 2014; he has been working as a test engineer for the Test Center since, mainly conducting AEF certifications and training customers in the usage of the conformance test tool. He actively participates in AEF's workgroups helping to further develop the AEF tests.
Several manufacturers want to list their recently certified Isobus products in the AEF database. This leads to some workload of the Isobus Test Center. It will perform the conformance testing on first-come-first-serve basis. Already in spring, AEF has certified the Isobus Universal Terminal by Claas. In July, the machine builder handed over a Class Arion 550 tractor with Isobus connectivity to the University Weihenstephan-Triesdorf. Competitor Case has also launched new tractors featuring Isobus support: The Puma series provides Isobus interfaces compliant to Class III allowing a bi-directional communication between tractor and implement. This enables the Isobus-connected baler, for example, to direct the tractor’s steering along the swath, to ensure an even intake and a perfectly formed bale. The tractor is equipped with AFS 700 virtual terminal. All those tractor and implements are listed in the AEF database including information about the supported Isobus features, in order to make it easy for the farmer to select interoperable products.
The virtual terminal standardized in ISO 11783-7 is one key elements of the Isobus communication system. Lemken has recently introduced the Turncontrol Pro, which has been integrated in the company’s Juwel 8 automatic plough. The AEF-certified product allows plough adjustment at the push of a button.
Since the Isobus market is significantly growing, new player will join the Tier-1 suppliers. In order to be competitive, some implement manufacturers have initiated joint developments for the virtual terminal under the umbrellas of the nonprofit CC-Isobus association. One result is the certified Isobus terminal. The association also organizes Isobus seminars.
One of the early supporters of Isobus, Mueller Elektronik (Germany), has been acquired by Trimble, a US-headquarted company. With more than 375 employees, the German company is focused on precision farming. “Trimble is a leading provider of precision agriculture hardware and farm management software. Bringing Trimble together with Mueller’s leading Isobus solutions will create an industry-changing opportunity to deliver a system-wide integration that is uniquely available through the combination of the companies," said Christian Mueller, Managing director of Mueller Elektronik. “Our systems, combined with farm management software, will enable OEMs to provide integrated plug-and-play solutions straight from the factory, while also helping the growing aftermarket channel looking to support its customers with mixed fleet operations with an Isobus solution.”
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