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innovative yoke for Power Take-Off SAFEty

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - PTO-SAFE (innovative yoke for Power Take-Off SAFEty)

Reporting period: 2016-11-01 to 2017-03-31

A power take-off (PTO) is any of several methods for taking power from a power source, such as a running engine, and transmitting it to an application such as an attached implement or separate machines. The PTO is a simple and powerful system, thus explaining is common use in today’s farming. However, if defective or used in the wrong way, THIS SYSTEM IS EXTREMELY DANGEROUS AND PRESENT SIGNIFICANT SAFETY ISSUES:

Power take-off accidents are still common, with;
- Tractor/machinery operator involved 78% of the time;
- Localised at the PTO coupling, over 70% of the time;
- A bare shaft, spring loaded push pin or through bolt was the type of component at contact point in 63% of the cases;
- Stationary equipment, such as augers, elevators, posthole diggers, and grain mixers were involved in 50% of the cases;
- Semi-stationary equipment, such as self-unloading forage (or feed) wagons, were involved in 28% of the cases;
- Nearly all incidents involving moving machinery (e.g. hay balers, manure spreaders, rotary mowers).

These accidents have been noted to have adverse economic and social impacts in Europe, mainly regarding the annual economic losses associated with reduced productivity, economic losses due to workplace fatalities and societal costs due to disability claims and accident victim compensations and healthcare. Since the demand for agricultural products continues to rise, there is need for safer power transmission technologies that contribute towards the reduction of machinery related accidents, while also ensuring high productivity and reduced maintenance requirements.

PTO-SAFE aims at delivering a safer, more efficient and more affordable Power Take-Off (PTO) yoke and drive shaft assemblies targeting a significant reduction of PTO related accidents and entanglements when operating farm machinery. This will be achieved through the introduction of an optimised PTO yoke offering increased safety, versatility and customisability to fit different drive shaft geometry options available on the market. The smart double safety feature included in the yoke will offer fewer successive vibrations between the yoke and drive shaft, while the absence of protruding bolts will greatly reduce the likelihood of exposure and entanglement by the rotating drive shafts.
Work on PTO-SAFE began in 2015, following interactions we had with our customers who explained the need for a PTO drive shaft that offers more security when connected to machinery implements. To date, over €125,000 has been invested in the design and optimisation of PTO-SAFE prototype driveshaft, including the production of 2 prototypes in 2015. The key milestones achieved have been the production of two size 3 prototype PTO-SAFE yokes and driveshaft units.

The prototypes have since tested since October 2015 by an agricultural machinery manufacturer, by being mounted on a posthole digger, with the validation tests generating very positive feedback on the safety and versatility of the PTO-SAFE technology.

Based on an extensive market analysis we conducted, we identified the market and user needs, together with the most promising markets that we could target for the initial market introduction of our novel PTO driveshafts. The market study results were used as a basis to make 5 year financial projections of the of the PTO-SAFE project post commercialisation, considering the best, conservative and worst case scenarios. We also explored the intellectual property landscape and established that we have our freedom to operate. From these results, we concluded that the PTO-SAFE project is technically and commercially viable and we combined them to draft a comprehensive business plan for the commercialisation of PTO-SAFE. This will be used by Binacchi to promote the continued development of the project and get the product to the market.
With PTO-SAFE, BINACCHI is stepping up to supply a new drive shaft, based on an in-house developed external yoke for reliable, extended use and premium safety. PTO-SAFE has been designed to significantly reduce safety challenges for the operator and to provide flexibility of use, for farm implements. PTO-SAFE goes beyond the existing safety standards and delivers a complete solution in joint performance as the yoke has a robust design, minimising deflections under the applied loads.

From PTO-SAFE, we anticipate at least a 20% reduction in the number of PTO-related accidents. This will significantly reduce the frequency of machinery related accidents, thus ensuring increased safety for the machinery operators. Additionally, an increased efficiency and versatility will ensure increased productivity, which is critical in the promotion of mechanised agriculture, targeted at meeting the continuously rising regional and global food demands.

Successful commercialisation of PTO-SAFE is anticipated to bring about additional revenue of at least €4 million by 2023, with a creation of employment opportunities for at least 6 people.