Trelleborg has developed the first tyre inflation management system that automatically compensates for changing load and speed for combine harvesters.
The Trelleborg VIP (variable inflation pressure) system changes tyre pressure as the grain tank fills and is emptied, when the combine works on significant slopes, and when the machine hits travel speed on the road.
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Piero Mancinelli, Trelleborg agricultural R&D director, emphasised that the VIP system can measure and change the tyre pressure at the right time and in the right place on the move without manual intervention.
“We have looked to establish the role of the agricultural tyre in the framework of precision farming and the internet of things,” he said.
The weight of a typical combine harvester can change by 10 tonnes and more as the grain tank is filled or emptied.
“The capabilities of the VIP system are completely in line with the precision farming philosophy.”
Less soil compaction, improved crop performance
He added that compared with a tyre being operated at constant inflation pressure, a harvester equipped with the new system would cause up to 10% less soil compaction, resulting in improved crop performance and less energy being expended putting it right.
The new system comprises sensors on the wheel to measure load, pressure and temperature; a processor to compute the resulting data and control an on-board compressor; and a release valve and airline to allow pressure to be adjusted on the move. The key components are housed within a protective cover.
A combine with a 14,000-litre grain tank will vary in weight by as much as 10t when harvesting wheat at 72kg/hl, with most of the additional weight generated as the tank fills carried by the front tyres – so around 5t each.
Similarly, weight transfer resulting from a harvester working across a slope can result in the upper tyre carrying half a tonne less and the lower tyre half a tonne more.
Weight transfer across a slope can change the load on each front tyre by plus or minus half a tonne.
Adjusting tyre pressures automatically maintains the optimum contact patch area for the tyres in these circumstances.
The Trelleborg VIP system, which has been developed in partnership with AGCO’s Fendt division, can be set up and monitored using an app on a tablet computer.