igus is presenting this year’s prestigious manus UK award to specialist agricultural machinery manufacturer Sly Agri Ltd for use of complex technical plastic bearings in the pivoting points on the suspension of its innovative track system.
Rob Dumayne, director at igus, says: “As in previous years, this year’s manus award has attracted a high standard of diverse entries from UK engineers. Sly Agri’s track system stood out in particular as it is an excellent demonstration of how plastic bearings have proven reliable in adverse environments, and without the regular re-greasing intervals required by metallic bronze alternatives.”
Soil compaction is a major problem in farming; with larger, heavier machinery being used, conventional tyres are a major contributor to this problem, which can cause some serious damage to fields, as well as have a huge impact on crop yields. A standalone undercarriage, Sly Agri’s track system can be mounted up to almost any chassis and effectively transfers the weight on the machine onto the ground in a far more controlled manner than tyres, this weight can be up to 50 tonnes on a fully laden grain cart, thus minimising deep soil compaction.
The track system has its own suspension, which improves contour following and helps cushion the machine and itself from impacts when hitting rocks and ruts. An array of hydraulic cylinders with accumulators is used, creating 18 pivoting axles in total over both sides of the track system to follow the ground and absorb the loads. It is at these pivoting points where the igus iglidur bearings are used.
On receiving the manus UK 2015 award Toby Kilham, head engineer at Sly Agri, said: “We are absolutely delighted and honoured to receive this award from igus, particularly given the calibre of the other UK entries. On stripping down the track system after its first harvest season, the condition of the bearings was almost as good as new – that’s after a few hundred hours of constant abuse. This is testament to the reliability of iglidur bearings, which are self-lubricating and therefore maintenance free, especially under these harsh operating conditions.”
For further information about plastic bearing applications, please visit www.igus.co.uk/manus.