Flexrow for multi-purpose seed drills and planters
A key to secure productive and sustainable farming, is the placing of seeds at optimal distance from each other. However most, present seeders have fixed row distance and thus have low adaptability for different crops or soil conditions.
We now can proudly present a new kind of agricultural machine, called Flexrow. It paves the way for pure agronomy when it comes to row spacing.
Vary the inter-rows distance in a fast and efficient way from the tractor cabin
Fast folding of long arms to a low compact position for transportation in higher speed
A large space on each side of the row for service by a button push in tractor cabin
Fast reconfiguration if a row unit fails – sowing can continue without having to wait for a service technician
For the first time, a farmer is able to quickly change between different inter-row spacings simply with a push of a button. The farmer can choose which crop to sow from a display in the tractor and Flexrow sets the desired inter-row spacing automatically. No manual effort is needed. With Flexrow the farmer can use long arms on the seeder with a more optimal center of gravity during the transport in order to be able to move faster between different fields. The technology meets farmer’s demands for multi-purpose seeders and planters.
The secret of this machine is a new kind of patented hydraulic actuator invented by the aircraft technology company Saab. The actuator enables positioning the row units more efficiently.
The Flexrow concept allows infinite possibilities of configurations and the spacing can be independently adjusted with high precision.
The Flexrow technology is characterized by very long strokes (up to 10 m), cost-effectiveness and compact system solutions with very small volumes of hydraulic oil. Inside the actuator, two connected short hydraulic cylinders, open at both ends “climbs” on a fixed clamped piston rod by means of hydraulic clamping connections. In this way, the cylinder can be made to travel along the rod, much like when two hands haul in a rope with a load. It is based on well-known, robust and cost-effective standard components (COTS) for hydraulic applications.
The advantages of the Flexrow technology integrated in a seed drill or planters
Automatic change of row distance
You can quickly vary the distance between row units at the touch of a button from the tractor cab, ie without having to leave the cab. This also includes the opportunity of fine-tuning the inter-row spacing for a certain crops and soils.
Optimal center of gravity during folding
With Flexrow, it becomes practically possible to indirectly offer longer arms with a more optimal center of gravity during folding. Another advantage is a more simple folding mechanism for changing 3-plex or 5-plex to 2-plex which gives opportunity to transport the row units a long distance. This also has potential to lower the folding time enabling faster moves between fields.
Optimal center of gravity during transport
With Flexrow you can obtain a smooth folding into a compact transport position, with the rows gathered with a low center of gravity of row units. This enables a more stable vehicle dynamics and that a higher speed can be allowed on the vehicle, ie to be able to go from 25 to 40 or 40 to 60 km / h. This means a lot of valuable time saving when you have to go between the fields.
Reconfigure on the fly in case of row unit failure
Being able to quickly reconfigure if a row unit fails, means that planting can continue without having to wait for the service technician, which often take many hours. This contributes to higher productivity.
Reconfigure for service mode
During service or repair on a specific row unit, it is possible prepare large service space between the heavy row units, easily by pushing a button in the tractor cab.
The Flexrow technology is a result of a collaboration within the innovation program Agtech 2030. The collaboration has been conducted between
- Saab Ventures
- The Rural Economy and Agricultural Societies (Hushållningssällskapet)
- Linköping University
- Landberg Solutions
- GN Tech
The hydraulic research division (FLUMES) at Linköping University has been instrumental for this work.