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Armrest and joystick

Customized products with CAN connectivity

Published 2018-01-02

Rafi (Germany) develops and manufactures armrests. Recently, one of these customized products received the Red Dot Design Award.

The awarded armrest installed in Valtra’s tractors (Photo: Rafi)

Armrests with joystick, push-buttons, and keypads are often designed specifically for one application. Rafi offers such customized products and provides for them optional CAN interfaces with dedicated higher-layer protocol support. At the Agritechinca 2017 tradeshow, the armrest for a Finish tractor by Valtra was awarded. Rafi manufactures this Smarttouch armrest.

The German company also designed the joystick for the Pistenbully vehicle by Kaessbohrer. The customized four-axle joystick enables the driver to control the snow blade. The joystick forms a part of an operating panel, which is integrated in the armrest. Previously, the Pistenbully series were equipped with model-dependent integral cockpits with various joystick fittings and types for the hydraulic control. The current heavy-duty joystick combines four axles with various technologies: While the xy-setting takes care of the horizontal and vertical movement of the snow blade, a joint on the horizontal plane means the user simply turns the joystick handle to incline the snow blade. In order to implement the z-axis, which is used to control the snow blade lateral opening angle, the integrated strain gages located on the handle record the deforming lateral forces.

This armrest was developed for the Pistenbully vehicle (Photo: Kaessbohrer)

Although the device has a total of 19 buttons, rocker switches, and rotary potentiometers for acknowledgement, adjusting, and other functions, the ergonomic handle design developed exclusively for Kässbohrer ensures easy, fatigue-free vehicle operation. The thumb field is equipped with nine tactile switches as well as three rocker switches and three rotary potentiometers. Due to their double-click function, they give the driver an extended range of functions. The back of the joystick also features three buttons so the driver can operate it using the index, middle, and ring fingers. The adjustable holder also allows the user to adjust the joystick to five different positions for various arm lengths.

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