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Development of a knife attachment for combines, located behind a harvesting header with large working width

Development of a new harvesting process and technology for various crops to be applicable under different climatic and terrain conditions. The technology will operate under high speed and will increase harvesting results.

The project arises out of the need for rapid field harvesting, achieving higher harvesting results due to low fruit losses, and separating straw and corn. The partners therefore intend to develop a new system for harvesting different crops using a stripper header, with the cutting of the standing crop taking place immediately behind the stripper device. The grain stripper unit currently consists of a rotating shaft with several finger ledges on it. The fingers strip the ear from the stalk and transport it into a feeder housing behind. From there it is forwarded into the harvesting device of the combine where the fruit is finally separated from the ear. The advantage of this method is that the straw does not pass the harvesting apparatus of the combine. As the flow volume is significantly reduced, this makes the material flow and the separation process much more efficient and enables the speeding up of harvesting in comparison with classic combine technology. The disadvantage in most cases is that the straw is left sitting on the crop. This calls for additional agricultural machining processes (e.g. rolling the field), needed for destroying the structure of the straw to dry it and prepare it for burning. By adding a cutting process immediately following the grain stripping process, the benefit of the entire procedure could be increased significantly. As there is one issue existing from the power source of the hydraulic remote reel drive of the combine, the cutting device has to run under minimum power consumption. The only technical method currently offering this is the sickle bar technology. Material is cut under scissor conditions while two knife sections move against each other. But there are even more requirements for the cutting unit behind the stripper: 1. The weight has to suit the transport capacity of the combine feeder house. 2. The working widths have to cover up to 28 feet. 3. Vibration has to be kept low in order to minimise the physical impact on the combine structure. The only way currently to cover those 4 requirements is by using a double knife acting system. This means that both the top and the bottom knife sickle section move and so compensate for the accelerations of both single knives against each other. With respect to the different crop height, an attachment system has to be created to provide maximum variability in height and distance adjustment towards stripper headers. As the design should avoid providing any additional cutter bar mount between the two ends of the bar, the system may only be carried on either end. For transport purposes, the unit should provide a quick set up system for trailer transport. The transport width has to be a maximum of 9 feet. The drive system for the cutter bar has to be designed as light as possible in order to keep the entire system of stripper and cutting unit horizontally balanced.
Acronym: 
HARFAST
Project ID: 
3 486
Start date: 
01-12-2004
Project Duration: 
19months
Project costs: 
500 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Agriculture Machinery / Technology
Market Area: 
Cultivation of cereals / crops / vegetables

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.