Smart farming innovations on show at EIMA

Photo: EIMA
Photo: EIMA

The EIMA Show, makes a welcome return to Bologna, Italy from the 19-23 October. Alongside the vast array of conventional machinery on display, the event also plays host to EIMA’s Technical Innovations competition.

While visitors to this corner of the show may think they are looking into the future, the majority of the new ideas and developments are already on sale or available soon. As well as new autonomous and electric vehicles, this year’s entries include a wide range of equipment to improve precision, spray and fertiliser applications as well as machine control and vision.

Here we take a quick look at some of the interesting ideas on the EIMA Show that Future Farming spotted and report on why the judges see as innovative and the advantages this can bring.

Earth Automations – Dood

The Dood crawler is able to operate autonomously with wireless GPS control via its Cloud Drive Path Memory. Designed to carry out a range of operations, it is equipped with a three-point linkage and PTO for working with standard mounted equipment.

It is powered by a Stage V diesel engine and has hydraulically drive tracks.

EIMA judges were impressed by the way it is designed to meet the principles of Agriculture 4. As well as being fully connected the crawler can recognise the environment and reacts to it in different ways, according to changing situations and learns from experience.

Judges say its advantages will come from optimisation of labour, cost savings and better operator safety.

Alpego – Horizon distribution head

Alpego’s Horizon self-levelling system ensures the distribution heads on pneumatic fertiliser distributors and seed drills continue to work horizontally, regardless of any slopes in the field.

EIMA judges says this is innovative, simply because it is the first of its type. Predicted advantages come from greater uniformity of seed and fertiliser distribution, plus the device can be retro-fitted to existing machines.

Arag – Orion WR flowmeter

Flowrates on large sprayers can vary widely and change quickly, which can make it difficult for meters to accurately measure the flow, particularly at the lower end of the range. Arag’s Orion WR – Wide Range – flowmeter overcomes this difficulty by using two meters in the same line. As soon as the rate exceeds or drops below pre-determined limits, it automatically switches to the next meter – combining the outputs into a single measurement.

Said to be accurate to +/-1%, the judges say its an innovative way to improve precision. The main advantages are: it enables sprayer manufacturers to design more accurate and fast responding circuits suitable for precision farming applications.

At the same time it could help reduce the impact of chemical use and, for this reason, it also received a Blue Award.

Augmenta Agriculture – Field Analyzer

Field Analyzer is an all-in-one plug & play system that can assess a crop’s nutrition requirements and provide signals to vary rates in real time. It combines Near InfraRed (NIR) and 4K imaging with custom AI/ML software accessible through web or mobile applications and proprietary cloud-based analytics.

Enclosed in a waterproof, aluminium casing it can be mounted directly to tractors, vehicles and equipment. In the Judges’ opinion the innovation comes from its ability to control any ISObus-compatible solid fertiliser spreader as well as being able to be retro-fitted.

It also received a Blue Award, thanks to its ability to reduce the environmental impact and save costs.

Caffini – Smart Synthesis

With its ‘hybrid’ Smart Synthesis system, Caffini employs an on-board generator to electrically power the air-blast fan on a sprayer, which is also equipped with pulse width modulation nozzle control.

Together with sensors to assess the leaf mass, the system automatically varies the fan speed and flow as well as the spray nozzle output and droplet size to meet the plant’s actual requirements.

The judges noted this first time all these systems have been combined on a sprayer to vary the application. It also received a Blue Award for the benefits this additional spray control will have on reducing the impact on the environment.

Cobo – Agri Kit 4.0 and Kit Easy Fit

Designed to meet the needs for Agricultural 4, Cobo’s Agri Kit smart sensing kit integrates sensors on implements and tractors to monitor and control operations. At the same time it transmits data to Cloud Cobo Intouch Agri via a GSM signal.

A simpler Kit Easy Fit enables existing equipment to be controlled using ISObus.

Judges say this is an innovative use of retro-fit kits to increase performance of the existing equipment. Also, with the ‘ISObus Green’ function, it displays the optimum working conditions for the tractor and implement combination.

The advantages, say the judges, is better cost management, automatic recognition of recourses and complete traceability.

Rivulis – Defend

By blending insecticide into the plastic construction of thin-wall drip irrigation tape, Rivulis Defend dispenses very low doses of chemicals. This changes the chemical solution into a repellent that is not lethal.

Judges say this innovative approach tape insect damage to the tape by up to 98%.

Nobili – Electric sprayer and mulcher

Working in collaboration with CNH Industrial, Nobili has developed an electrically powered air-blast sprayer and mulcher. Both are powered by a generator on the tractor and have no need for PTO shafts or gearboxes.

One motor on the E-Sprayer drives the pump, while the other powers the fan group. Fan speed is adjustable and can be reversed to clear off debris. Automatic dosing is controlled via ISObus.

A single motor and two linear actuators operate the E-Mulcher. Rotor speed can be varied to match the vegetation and reversed to clear blockages.

Judges say electrical power provides a number of advantages including better machine control and setting and greater manoeuvrability because there are no PTO shafts, which also increases safety.

Landini Rex 4 Electra Evolving Hybrid

An on-board generator on the Landini Rex 4 Electra Evolving Hybrid powers two motors to drive the front wheels, operates the semi-active cab suspension and controls the robotised speed-shift transmission.

Judges say this is the first compact tractor to employ a hybrid powertrain and is also the first of its type to include specifications that are usually only found on larger, field tractors.

Adding electric power, the judges say, provides the advantages of improving comfort, operation and comfort as well as saving fuel. Also, with its ability to adjust the front to rear wheel speed ratio, it’s also possible to reduce the turning circle.

Mick Roberts Freelance journalist
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