Hydraulics help to improve crop yields by 150 per cent

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Parker Hannifin hydraulics are being used in VDL Steelweld's Cultivit soil treatment machines that can help to boost crop yields by 150 per cent.

Hydraulics help to improve crop yields by 150 per centWith environmental awareness growing globally, many soil treatment processes involving harmful chemicals have been banned or restricted. To overcome this problem, VDL Steelweld, part of an international industrial group focusing on the development, production and sales of technical products, has developed an innovative soil treatment machine with considerably less environmental impact.

The Cultivit is a high-technology agricultural machine used for sterilising the soil to control pathogens and pests. The rotary spader is self-propelled on solid crawler tracks, and operates by vigorously mixing the soil particles with clean, dry, ultra-heated air at 800degC. Heating, spading, powering and controls are all integrated functions within the machine; therefore, to realise the Cultivit design, VDL Steelweld required a hydraulic system that was compact, robust and able to offer high performance.

Parker was approached as a potential supplier due to its extensive range of world-class products and global technical support network. The Dutch Parker team met with VDL Steelweld to ensure that the brief was fully understood, and then proposed a complete package to suit its needs.

This package includes F11 motors to drive the heater and burner fans in the Cultivit's air treatment system, an F12 motor for the rugged rotary spader, and PGP series gears driving the cooling fans. The durable chassis is controlled by an L90LS valve and is driven by two T12 series track motors.

There are also two P2 pumps, a PVP pump, a manifold with PTC (Parker Threaded Cartridge valves), a welded lift cylinder, return line filters, and a Parker Racor air filter for the diesel engine's air intake. Finally, Parker hoses and fitting are used throughout for the hydraulic and fuel components.

Remote control

Furthermore, the Cultivit machines can be controlled remotely using Parker's IQAN MDL unit and several XA2 power expansion modules. The IQAN system enables hydraulics to be designed and controlled extremely simply and quickly for mobile equipment such as the Cultivit. The MDL unit is the central unit in the system that functions as a master controller, displaying system information and working seamlessly with the expansion modules.

Testing over three years has shown that the Cultivit machine is able to increase crop yields by 90-150 per cent in comparison with untreated fields; this is 55 per cent higher than traditional soil treatments with metam sodium (MS), which is now a largely restricted chemical soil fumigant. These excellent results are said to be due to the close co-operation and teamwork between Parker and VDL Steelweld throughout the project.

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