The international farm machinery show season kicks off this month in Paris with SIMA, where an extra sixth hall is needed to accommodate the 1,740 exhibitors. Steven Vale previews some of the highlights which visitors can expect to see.
Up 25 per cent on 2013 numbers, it is not just exhibitors which are at a record high level at the biggest ever edition of the popular French show – so too are the number of new products which will be shown.
With more than 600 already confirmed, this year’s visitors will receive a free catalogue listing them all for the first time.
Many of the well-known names are keeping their news under wraps until the doors open, but if the early signs from the show’s innovation awards are anything to go by, then the anticipated 250,000 or so visitors could be in for quite a few treats.
The following report details gold and silver medal winners, and highlights some of the special mentions.
Picking up one of two gold medals available is Claas for its panoramic roof concept, available as an option on its new Arion 400 tractor series.
The result sees the tractor’s 2.41sq.m windscreen and polycarbonate roof connected to each other without an upper crossbar.
This gives the driver an unimpaired 90-degree, vertical field of view over the front loader.
Claas says the design also avoids all of the usual repetitive movements which place stress on the driver’s neck and lumbar spine.
The second of the show’s gold medals is for John Deere’s ExactEmerge eight-row precision drill concept, which has a patented seed placement system.
More interestingly though, the company has taken one of the three silver medal innovation awards with its AutoConnect system (pictured, right), designed to fully connect a tractor to an implement without the operator needing to leave the tractor seat. This includes the automatic coupling of hydraulics, electrics and pto.
Finally, look out for Battery Boost, a ‘plug-and-play’ hybrid concept which stores electrical energy in a front-mounted battery pack. The system, which will be highlighted on a modified 6RE tractor, can provide an extra power boost of up to 107kW.
Vicon will unveil more details about its silver medal winning non-stop round baler wrapper combination, which integrates a pre-chamber with a main chamber and a wrapper.
Designed and developed at the Kverneland Group’s baler centre at Ravenna, Italy, FastBale is claimed as the world’s only non-stop fixed chamber baler and wrapper combination.
Field evaluation and development in a range of crop conditions will continue through 2015 prior to full commercial availability.
French firm Perard has received a special mention for the prototype of a novel device to compress combine harvester chaff and weed seeds into
2.2-metre (7ft 3in) long by 0.64m (2ft 1in) diameter bales for use as livestock bedding.
Known as the VMP, the machine connects to the side of combines, with power coming from an on-board 36hp diesel engine.
Chaff and weed seeds are sucked into the bale chamber, compressed into 700kg bales, wrapped in plastic and ejected. The company says most cereal crops produce 2t per hectare (0.8t/acre) of baled chaff.
For transport, the baler replaces the header at the front of the combine, with the header towed behind.
Head-up Display (HUD) technology is more commonly associated with jet fighters, but it now appears to be heading for tractors and self-propelled machines.
Agrotronix has received a special mention for its Head High Vision concept which uses a projector to beam information to the left, right or top of the windscreen.
Users select the type of information they want to see and it is also possible to project images from up to two rear cameras onto the windscreen.
The only requirement is the inside of the glazing needs a transparent film to diffuse the light emitted by the projector.
The system will be shown inside the cab of a Caruelle Nicolas self-propelled sprayer
Requiring the tractor driver to leave the cab just once when connecting steerable axle versions of its tandem and triple-axle trailers and muck spreaders, French firm Rolland has developed a safe, simple and easy-to-use coupling system.
Called Roll-Link, the tractor is reversed to the trailer and the hydraulic hoses are connected as normal.
The new bit is the manually-rotated cam on top of the drawbar, which allows drivers to quickly alter the position of the ends of the cylinders to align them with the holes on the tractor.
Berthoud’s silver medal winning B-Safe system allows spray chemicals to be inducted directly out of its container, which it then rinses without the operator coming into contact with any hazardous liquids.
With the ability to be retrofitted, the system is suitable for all sprayer makes, says the manufacturer.
A special mention goes to the French-made Anatis robot.
Powered by quiet-running electric motors, the laser, camera and GPS-guided prototype is able to hoe between and within crop rows, while also monitoring and collecting information on the number and types of weeds, crop density, light levels, soil moisture content and the temperature of air and soil.
Made by Carre SAS, the data can be downloaded to a pc, smartphone or tablet..
The use of sophisticated camera-guidance systems on a mechanical hoe is not new, but Razol’s latest weeder can also find its way using centrimetric GPS technology.
Called Agrogeovisio, it is claimed to provide high levels of accuracy without using RTK. During hoeing, a data collection system constantly records the position and size of each plant, and automatically maps the information.
Sulky Burel has received an innovation awards special mention for a system which provides automatic and independent adjustment of fertiliser rates, distributed via the right and left sides of a twin disc IsoBus controlled spreader.
Lindsay Europe’s NFTrax provides similar characteristics to an air-filled tyre but without the risk of a puncture.
Designed for mobile irrigation equipment, the novel solution combines a wheel rim linked to a tread made from UV-resistant vulcanised rubber with a steel cable core.
Fitting to the front or rear of a tractor or other mobile machine, IFM Electronic’s O3M collision detection sensor uses patented technology to detect objects at a distance of up to 35m.
Exhibitors: 1,740 from 40 different countries
Where: Parc des Expositions, Paris-Nord, Villepinte
Halls: 3, 4, 5a, 5b, 6 and 7
Dates: 22 to 26 February, 2015
Visitors expected: about 250,000 from 145 countries