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Electric drives in agricultural machinery

Linde Hydraulics demonstrates the advantages of using electric drives in agricultural machinery – both for manufacturers of work machinery and for their users. Two examples: When the conveying screw and ejector of a fertilizer spreader are driven by compact, speed-controlled electric motors, the quantity and the spreading distance of the fertilizer output can be regulated much more precisely. And if an air conditioning compressor is electrically driven, it can be switched on and off as required – this saves fuel and reduces the power requirements of the combustion engine. 

Fan drive EM IEC112

Photo by Linde Material Handling GmbH

A million electric cars should be on Germany’s roads by 2020 – this is what the German government wants, and a special “National Platform for Electric Mobility” has been founded together with industrial heavyweights in order to achieve this goal.

“Electrification” of tractor drives as a future trend
Switching auxiliary and secondary drives on and off as required Air conditioners, compressors and fans are secondary drives that work considerably more efficiently when they are driven by separate electric motors and controlled by the LINC 2 electronic control from Linde Hydraulics. With this configuration, each unit is switched on and off as required as well as being operated at a variable speed, thus saving energy. Fans have the added advantage that the user can clean the unit by briefly reversing .


Photo Linde Material Handling GmbH

In addition, the pumps for the hydraulic attachments can be operated electrically. Linde Hydraulics offers a highly efficient “Powerpack” for this purpose that consists of an electric motor, gear pump, power module and LINC 2 control that are exactly calibrated to each other.

If the manufacturer of the tractor decides in favor of electric power for auxiliary drives, he also benefits from the fact that the combustion engine needs to produce less power. In this way, tighter emission regulations can be met without having to change the make or the dimensions of the diesel engine. Overall, the power requirements of tractor combustion engines can be lowered by up to 25 kW through consistent electrification of the auxiliary drives.

Fertilizer spreaders: Precise control of fertilizer quantities and spreading distance
The advantages of the electric drive in practice can be demonstrated using the example of a fertilizer spreader. Normally, the ejector and the conveying screw are powered by the central on-board hydraulics. If both components are driven by a compact speed-controlled 2-kW motor, they can be controlled separately and precisely so that the quantity (conveying screw) and the spreading distance (ejector) can be set as required. This offers particular advantages when the fertilizer output is controlled by a “precision farming” system. Distribution of the fertilizer can then be precisely controlled according to predefined parameters – this saves fertilizer and guarantees a homogeneous growth of the crop.

Yard loader with electric drive wheel unit
Diesel or electric drive? Any company that buys a forklift truck must ask this question, and in the not-too-distant future this decision may also have to be made by farmers who require a yard loader. Electrification is handled by a 16.3-kW central drive unit that operates highly efficiently and has been proven to work in the electric car Karabag NEW 500 E and other applications.

The advantages offered by a yard loader with electric drive include emission-free driving, which makes particular sense for indoor operation, especially in the ecological production of milk. In addition, the loaders operate in a virtually noise-free manner, causing less disturbance to livestock when they are being moved around in the barn. Since yard loaders are normally only used for short work cycles of no more than two hours, the batteries can be designed to compact dimensions.

Summary: Electric drives – a hot topic, even for agricultural machinery
As the examples show, electrification of the drive train is also a topical subject in the production of agricultural machinery. Linde Hydraulics can support manufacturers of mobile work machines when designing the system and choosing components, and subsequently deliver a complete drive system including cable harness and operating devices. In terms of software, the systems on offer include customer-specific programming of controllers and their technical integration into higher-level motor and vehicle management systems.