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Customised sugar cane loaders offer efficiency and reliability

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Due to the intense round-the-clock nature of Egypt’s short cane harvesting season, Egyptian company Sugar and Integrated Industries Company (SIIC) requires high-performing and durable sugar cane loader vehicles that can operate at high speeds. The loaders previously used by SIIC were originally designed for operation in South Africa, which meant they were not ideal for Egyptian conditions where long distance travel between sugar cane farms and a rough terrain are common requirements.

Accordingly, SIIC turned to local engineering specialist El Masry, an Eaton system partner, who designed, developed, tested and delivered prototypes and production units based on standard parts and systems from Eaton’s Hydraulics Business.

SIIC originally approached El Masry with one specific problem: existing loaders had insufficient torque to cope with the rough ground. El Masry realised the problem was the wheel drive unit, which used a radial motor, but had no gear reduction unit. They replaced the drive unit with their own product, including Eaton’s 74318 hydrostatic transmission drive and a hydrostatic drive gear.

Following El Masry’s success in achieving the required torque, SIIC asked for additional modifications to better meet the needs of their customers – farmers in Upper Egypt. The key issue was the long travelling distance needed to reach the cane farms; SIIC wanted a high-speed mode to cover distance quickly, but a low-speed high-torque mode for manoeuvring within cane fields.

Efficient and reliable operation of the loader under demanding environmental conditions was essential, as was eliminating the potential for operator accidents and ensuring the safety of systems involving complex hydrodynamic phenomena. The main criteria for the new sugar cane loader included high levels of hydrodynamic system stability, effective contamination control, increased cooling capacity, improved condition monitoring, and the ability to rescue and move a disabled vehicle.

El Masry proposed an approach that offered two-speed motor control while addressing SIIC’s other requirements. The overall system comprised two components; a hydrostatic transmission system for propulsion, and a hydraulic open-loop system for lifting. The scope of work included system design, integration and supply, and system commissioning, start-up, testing and calibration. Engineering support and training were also included. During design, El Masry used Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) standards for reference, while applying Eaton’s mobile machinery directives.

Eaton’s medium-duty transmission product family

El-Masry chose components from Eaton’s medium-duty transmission product family to implement their design. The hydrostatic propulsion system was built around a tandem closed-loop variable displacement pump supplying a pair of medium-duty hydrostatic piston motors, each in turn driving a final hydrostatic drive gear for 26 inch rim wheel mounting.

The Eaton variable-displacement piston pump is used in closed-loop control systems. Oil is circulated by the pump to the motor and then returned directly back to the pump. An internal charge pump is used to supplement the closed loop system with oil. Customised valve plate designs and porting plus improved swash-plate design reduce noise, vibration and swash-plate moments , while a tapered trunnion bearing arrangement further reduces noise and vibration as well as improving neutral return thrust load capabilities. A strengthened mounting flange reduces requirements for additional support brackets, and a square input control shaft eases the assembly of a customer-installed control lever, while reducing wear on the control shaft and control lever.

For the boom on the sugar cane loader, El Masry selected an Eaton V20 series vane pump. These ‘balanced vane type’ fixed displacement pumps offer high-rated flow capacities in a compact, low noise, lightweight, easily serviced package.

In developing the sugar cane loader, El Masry employed a full suite of finite element analysis, computational fluid dynamics and 3D modelling technologies, as well as performing stress analysis, fatigue analysis and Failure Mode Effects Analysis (FMEA) to determine application suitability of the various components and integrated systems.

El Masry conducts two rounds of tests during loader manufacture. The first, run by their Quality Control department at their Industrial Service factory, includes pressure and welding tests, inspection of fixing points, checks for oil contamination and other tests. The second round, run by SIIC out in the fields where the loaders are used, is attended by engineers from both SIIC and El Masry.

The newly developed sugar cane loader provides high levels of hydrodynamic system stability, effective contamination control, increased cooling capacity, improved condition monitoring, low noise and the ability to rescue and move a disabled vehicle.

Hasan Shahid, sales manager – Middle East, Eaton’s Hydraulics Business comments: “Eaton provides hydraulic power efficiently and effectively with the help of our system partners. This successful development project reflects El Masry’s faultless commitment to help Eaton provide tailored solutions that meet our customers’ hydraulics needs.”

El Masry did not have a cane loader product before starting this project, yet they have now achieved an excellent status with SIIC, where they are highly regarded for their technical capabilities and ability to meet customer needs. This is due both to their design, integration, implementation and support, and to the quality and suitability of the Eaton components used.

For further details please visit www.eaton.com/hydraulics.

 
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