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TEKNOAX 2.0: BRINGING INTELLIGENCE ONTO AXLES OF THIRD MILLENNIUM FARMING TRAILERS

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - TEKNOAX 2.0 (TEKNOAX 2.0: BRINGING INTELLIGENCE ONTO AXLES OF THIRD MILLENNIUM FARMING TRAILERS)

Reporting period: 2018-01-01 to 2018-12-31

The TEKNOAX 2.0 project aims at answering to agriculture increasing demand for intelligent components in the market of axles for farming trailers, going beyond the state of the art and filling the existent gap with precision farming needs.
TEKNOAX 2.0 brings intelligence onto axles, enabling unique traceability and condition based maintenance through a collaborative platform. Agriculture is indeed facing a big transformation favoured by technological innovations introducing in the near future a new paradigm, precision farming, enabled by a new generation of intelligent machines and equipments.
The innovative axles developed by ADR and characterized by enhanced overall mechanical proprieties is equipped with a communication system connected to a collaborative platform, both developed by RINA Consulting, to track axles performances and keep track of maintenance onto each unit. Furthermore, the manufacturing process has been optimized in order to favour the mass production of the new generation of axles and their launching in the market in the near future after the end of the project.
In a first testing phase, COLAERT implemented the innovative axles on a trailer for a preliminary testing on-road and on-field. Then, intelligent axles have been validated by FARMTECH in relevant working conditions on their trailers, by a pool of farmers throughout Europe, in order to develop the system in direct contact with end-users.
TEKNOAX 2.0 will be ready for commercialisation by January 2020. The innovative axles will also enable new business models, as trailer renting and trailer sharing.
In a nutshell, the overall objectives of the project are the following:
• Development of the new generation of axles having enhanced mechanical proprieties as well as optimization of their manufacturing process
• Bringing intelligence into axles and enabling their sensing capabilities
• Validating the new generation of axles in relevant operational conditions
• Development of user-friendly features for the ICT web based collaborative platform
• Validating innovative business models based on TEKNOAX 2.0
The main objectives of the first project year were the following:
- To collect the needs coming from end-users and to perform an extensive market analysis in order to define the features to be considered for further development of the axles
- To improve the mechanical properties of TEKNOAX 2.0 axles and to perform a complete laboratory test campaign to assess their performance as well as to optimize the manufacturing process.
- To select the sensors to be integrated in the axles and to define the communication system
- To design the web based collaborative platform and the control unit
- to perform a cost/benefit analysis to define the market penetration TEKNOAX 2.0
The main objectives of the second project year were the following:
- To develop the web based collaborative platform, the mobile App as well as the Control Unit
- To integrate TEKNOAX 2.0 in the trailers for the validation on the field in operational conditions
The initial phase of the project was devoted to the collection of needs coming from end-users to define the system requirements. Accordingly, the conceptual design and the final specifications of TEKNOAX 2.0 were defined.
Then the work was focused on the improvement of the mechanical performance of TEKNOAX 2.0. In this context, an accurate test campaign was carried out aiming at the assessment of the axles performances and at the optimization of the manufacturing process.
In parallel, as far as the “intelligence” of axles is concerned, the activities were focused on finding the most suitable solutions to cope with sensing and functional requirements and on the definition of the collaborative web based platform. Special attention has been paid on the design of the Control Unit.
In the second period of the project, the focus was on the integration of the sensors in the axles as well as in the development of the Control Unit that allows sensors data acquisition and the communication between trailer and the web based collaborative platform. A mobile App was developed too in order to enable users to monitor the data directly on the field.
Finally, TEKNOAX 2.0 was integrated in trailers and successfully validated in the field in operational conditions by a pool of farmers.
With respect to the exploitation of TEKNOAX 2.0 a cost/benefit analysis was performed in order to better identify the positioning of the product into the market and evaluate possible barriers to the introduction of the new generation of axles. Then, specific business models were conceived and accordingly a business plan as well as a commercialization plan were defined. TEKNOAX 2.0 is expected to be commercialized by January 2020.
Special attention has been paid to the dissemination of the project results, actually, the concept of the innovative TEKNOAX 2.0 was presented firstly at AGRITECHNICA 2017 (Germany) and then, the developed system, at EIMA 2018 (Italy) the most relevant fairs of the sector.
TEKNOAX 2.0 is a step change in farming equipment as it brings the trailer, current bottleneck toward smart farming, onto a high technological component enabling new value propositions.
TEKNOAX 2.0 most significant impact will be on agriculture sector, revolutionizing axle concept for farmers and trailer manufacturers. In general, the growing employment of technology in precision farming will ease the approach of new actors among SMEs. The new model of business constituted by trailer renting and trailer sharing will ease the possibility for cooperatives and agriculture start-ups to bypass the obstacle of the initial investments for equipments. Furthermore, these models will also nurture the creation of joint enterprises of farmers, which are a real opportunity for the future.
Actually, as far the agricultural machinery is concerned, one of the relevant trends in the sector is related to rely on outsourcing to external services’ providers for the provision of equipment to reduce the overall investments and the fixed costs. The renting services allow economies of scale making possible the competitiveness of the small farmers with respect to the larger ones. In this context, the trailer renting and trailer sharing business models proposed by TEKNOAX 2.0 have a relevant impact on the business of the farmers willing to opt for these approaches. Furthermore, the impact of the project is relevant on other key issues as for instance the becoming effective of the so called “Mother regulation” 167/2013 on 1st January 2016. The 167/2013 is related to the homologation and use of agricultural vehicles on the road, limitations of maximum speed, measures regulating the access to certain roads etc. In this framework, TEKNOAX 2.0 could have a remarkable impact. Moreover, the modification of the norms related to the maximum speed of the tractors introduce some issues: the farmers have usually the need to drive quickly and at full load because the transportation time is considered wasted time with respect to the time devoted to work the land. In this context, the higher performances, the possibility to monitor maintenance, the load conditions as well as the other features of the innovative axles enable an increase of the level of safety. Least but not last, it has to be underlined the wide impacts of the project on job creation.
TEKNOAX 2.0 Concept