Increasing capacity and improving efficiency, Grimme’s latest products are aimed at the high-output potato grower. Richard Bradley reports.
Essentially combining two of its SE trailed bunker harvesters, a whopping 15tonne bunker and a 530hp engine, Grimme has launched a monster four-row self-propelled potato harvester.
Representing the firm’s highest powered self-propelled potato harvester, the Ventor is also the firm’s first four-row machine to use its SE digging system. Grimme says SE harvesters are generally not as popular in the UK as its MultiSep-based machines, such as trailed GTs and Varitron self-propelled.
Up-front, the SE’s lifting units are mounted forward of the front axle, to help prevent any damage to the crop while in the ridges. Through the use of a wide deviner web, potatoes can be lifted without the use of a topper, and hedgehog-web separators are used to remove soil for the crop. With two separate lifting webs, two separate hedgehog-webs are used, which fold down to bring the machine under 3m width for transport.
For additional in-field sorting, a picking table is featured with space for up to three people. Following separation and sorting, crop is transferred into a 15 tonne bunker, which shape shifts like a combine’s grain tank, again to afford a sub 3m transport width.
Evenly spreading the Ventor’s weight and large payload across the ground, the harvester utilises its four-wheel steering to crab down the field, allowing each of its four 900mm wide tyres to run on a different strip of ground. To keep the machine in line with potato ridges, digging unit and cab pivot independently to the main chassis, with moving webs to evenly transfer the crop form digging units and onto the lifting webs.
Allowing the operator to focus on digging, separation units feature the firm’s Speedtronic system to automatically adjust speed to suit conditions. Along with this, three cameras are fitted at the rear to provide improved visibility, and a new 12.1inch touch-screen operator terminal is featured in the Claas-derived cab, which is mounted far forward to keep an eye on the digging units.
Unloading the 15tonne bunker is via a two-metre wide conveyor, which features a three-section unloading arm to reduce drop height into trailers.
Efficiency drivers have also brought on another system for Grimme, this time in its yard-based separation systems.
With maximum outputs of out 80tonnes per hour, Grimme says its traditional grading systems require operators to manually check over and grade stones, clods and weeds which have not been pulled out by its separation systems. However, the firm reckons to get around the larger labour requirements with its latest PowerCombi system.
Developed by Norwegian crop sorting specialist Tomra, FPS automatically knocks remaining stones and clods out of the sample.
By using a 26-28cu.m RH-Series receiving hopper, and maintaining a 2.4m width across three separation mechanisms, the firm claims the system has 25per cent increased output, now up to 100t/hour. First two systems use rollers, both adjustable and fixed, to remove and loosen soils and separate smaller potatoes.
Following this the crop passes over a manual picking table, if required, before being sorted by an automatic system to remove remaining clods and stones. Called Field Potato Scanner (FPS) the system uses optical sensors to scan the crop for unwanted items before passing over a small drop, with moving fingers used to knock the unwanted items onto a waste conveyor.
Grimme says the PowerCombi system with FPS can be operated by a sole person, and could do the work of up to eight people, reducing costs and increasing efficiency.