by Håkan Persson, Global Product Line Manager, Industrial Linear Actuators, Thomson
When engineers were challenged to improve farm equipment efficiency, they turned to linear actuators.
Trends in designing machinery for farming include delivering faster machines that cover wider areas of farmland and minimizing maintenance and repair. Farmers continually seek equipment with new levels of efficiency, such as ensuring optimum usage of fertilizer when spreading. But access to components for servicing and the space required to accommodate them can lead to compromises in design.
German company AMAZONEN-WERKE H. DREYER (Amazone) is known for designing innovative farm equipment. With its latest machine, the ZA-TS, the engineers achieved a machine that could deliver high speed spreading with maximum precision, yet minimize both the time taken to cover an area and the amount of fertilizer required.
The machine enables farmers to achieve more for less and provides reliable, robust performance. Contributing to the machine’s performance is the Max Jac electric linear actuators, which are used to move the spreader shutter slides and rotate the whole delivery system around the center of the spreading disks. The linear actuator meets the precision and short reaction times required by the ZA-TS to move at speed.
From Thomson Industries, Inc., this linear actuator delivers efficient, reliable, trouble-free operation in harsh, off-highway applications. It has helped Amazone optimize the design of the company’s innovative piece of agricultural machinery.
Amazone was founded in 1883 and has built its reputation as a leading manufacturer of agricultural and ground care machinery. It remains a family run business and has offices in the UK, France, Poland, Hungary, Ukraine, Serbia, Russia and Kazakhstan with around 80% of its revenue generated from export sales to more than 70 countries. Its products are known for their performance and innovative, groundbreaking designs that meet modern farming needs and challenges.
The ZA-TS incorporates the latest technology to ensure farmers can realize new levels of efficiency and optimum usage of fertilizer when spreading. The environment in which this machine operates is exceptionally tough. To ensure reliable operation in such environments, the design engineers selected the Max Jac linear actuator.
A component for use in the harshest environments
The Max Jac can handle the dust and dirt associated with agricultural machinery applications with an ingress protection rating of IP66. The unit has undergone additional testing to IP69K, making it suitable for high pressure, high temperature wash down applications. It is a fully encapsulated, permanently lubricated unit that reduces maintenance requirements and costs, as well as protecting the environment from oil leaks and spillages.
Often times in the design of agricultural machinery, access to components for servicing and the space required to accommodate them can lead to compromises in design. The Max Jac actuator can fit tight spaces with its compact form and short total length compared with the stroke. It also has built in position feedback, which is contact-free for no wear, and re-calibration is unnecessary over the lifetime of the actuator. There is no need for additional supporting systems or components; the unit requires virtually no maintenance throughout its lifetime, so it can be easily and optimally positioned to achieve best competitive advantage for the overall machine.
The Max Jac has a straightforward design with a minimum number of components and requires only electrical power for operation. It is tolerant of dust, dirt, mud and water, as well as more aggressive substances, such as fertilizers, oil and cleaning agents. Its elegant simplicity adds to its reliability, suitable for the farming application. The environment in which the actuators operate contains dust from the fertilizer, can be very humid and has high levels of vibration. Performance and quality are key factors associated with the Amazone brand, and the tough design of the Max Jac units help assure that the operation of this intelligent spreader system is consistent and reliable over its long life.
The ZA-TS delivers up to 10.8 kg/s of fertilizer to a generous working width of up to 54 m with its innovative, fast-reacting boundary spreading system. It fulfills the requirements not to spread beyond the boundary of a field without the need to reduce velocity
As the machine approaches a border, the Max Jac actuator quickly slides the shutter closed, enabling the tractor to maintain speeds of up to 30 km/hr and optimizing fertilizer use.
The use of the Max Jac electric linear actuator in this equipment is in line with the high standard of quality and reliability of the overall machine design.
A reliable product, reliable service
The Max Jac linear actuator was specifically designed to provide efficient, reliable, trouble-free operation in harsh, off-highway applications. It has helped Amazone optimize the design of its innovative piece of agricultural machinery and maximize the benefits to their end users.
The Max Jac linear actuator is available with worm or ball screw technology to best suit application needs in terms of duty and load. The worm screw version is self-locking and will not back drive on power-off, while the ball screw offers faster operation, will take higher loads and can operate at higher duty cycles. The product is manufactured from high quality materials with stainless steel components and a hard coat anodized aluminium cover tube, which has been designed and tested for use in corrosive environments. The actuator is easily customized to match unique design and application requirements for off-road vehicles of all types.