Krone and Lemken develop autonomous tractor unit

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Two big names in the farm machinery sphere have joined forces to develop an autonomous tractor unit with attachable implements.

The project between forage machinery specialist Krone and tillage machinery specialist Lemken has been called ‘Combined Powers’ which has already underwent several trials.

After successfully cultivating, ploughing, sowing, mowing, tedding and raking last year, the two companies say this innovative concept will be integrated into both their portfolios.

Using a diesel-electric drive that generates up to 170kW (230hp), the drive unit is designed to meet the power input requirements of the implements used in the trial processes.

Above: Krone and Lemken have paired up for the ‘Combined Powers’ project

the The drive power is transferred electrically to the wheels and the pto and from there to the implement which couples to a three-point linkage. The drive unit boasts multiple and extensive sensor systems which monitor the immediate surroundings and the implement attached, ensuring safe operation and optimum results as the primary objectives.

Operators control and monitor the combination from a mobile device, transmitting jobs and job reports via a communication module and the agrirouter, the established data exchange hub.

The speciality of the process unit is that it is controlled by the implement and not vice versa. This detail was considered imperative for achieving optimum results.

The implement and the drive unit act as one integrated smart system. Based on the long experience in the application of Isobus and TIM on Krone and Lemken machines, the drive unit and implement communicate and interact, sharing literally all types of data.

The Combined Powers design concept also brings further benefits, because it was also developed to counter the increasing shortage of skilled labour in agriculture.

Also, the developers say it will free farmers from spending those long days in the field. Instead, they will become system operators who merely monitor the process unit which delivers a consistently accurate quality of work.

Thanks to its enormous versatility, the unit is designed for year-round work and a long service life. Intensive trialling in all types of conditions and seeking feedback from farmers and contractors will continue this year.

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Chris McCullough is a freelance multi-media journalist based in Northern Ireland and has spent the past 18 years travelling the globe hunting for the best stories in food, farming and politics. Chris has won a number of awards for his photos and journalism and is always on the lookout for his next exclusive.

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