Precision farming technologies are gradually transforming the agricultural industry into a high-tech business. Trelleborg is contributing with an intelligent wheel design.
The Variable Inflation Pressure (VIP) system is a smart, autonomous, complete wheel capable of self-adjusting the pressure of a combine harvester’s tire during operation according to its precise load. The VIP system helps farmers optimize a tire’s footprint to reduce soil compaction, increasing efficiency and productivity. A VIP-equipped wheel can sense whether a combine is in the field or on the road. It can also detect differences between loads on each tire on the same axle. On a slope, for example, this means the VIP system can set two different pressures to enable maximum safety, high flotation and a constant footprint, resulting in good handing and low soil compaction.
In tests, measurements of the contact pressure and the footprint dimension of the tire, showed that on average there was 10 percent less contact pressure with the VIP system. From an economic point of view this generates two effects – a better crop yield for the next season and also less energy necessary for the future plowing operations of the terrain. Tests have shown up to a 5 percent higher crop yield than with a standard wheel. The system is made of a set of sensors, a compact compressor adapted to the reduced space inside the rim, an electro valve, some connectors and a central logic unit to make calculations and communicate data. Rotational electric contacts on the back of the rim power the system.
As it is forecast that in the near future around 20 percent of cultivated land will rely on precision farming technology, Trelleborg is committed to further development of the VIP concept alongside other intelligence systems.
Agricultural machines are increasingly dependent on digital technology, and tires need to play their part in this process. Several manufacturers have already started to supply tractors that are able to deliver data to a cloud, and such data is useful for many predictions and analysis, such as indicating optimized working conditions or preventive maintenance. Crucial information is still missing in this process – the tire pressure and its optimization to actual conditions – and Trelleborg wants to close this gap.
For more information: www.trelleborg.com/wheels