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Automatic Hydraulic Jack with improved capacity, safety and efficiency for agricultural implements

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Novel Jack (Automatic Hydraulic Jack with improved capacity, safety and efficiency for agricultural implements)

Reporting period: 2018-11-01 to 2019-10-31

The pace of innovation has never been greater in Precision Agriculture but a key operation as it is the process of lifting and levelling Ag-machines through the use of a jack, still remains manually operated. Hence, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) of Ag-machinery urgently need a fully automated agricultural jack with enhanced safety features to offer to their clients. More so, they require the new jack solution to be fully ISOBUS compliant. ISOBUS (universal protocol for electronic communication between implements and tractors) creates a standardized and compatible interface between the tractor and the associated implements with the aim of achieving plug-and-play capability for every combination.
We at SIMOL after years of R&D developed Novel Jack, the first fully automated jack in the market, ISOBUS certified. Being Novel Jack our answer to the need of farmers for an automated solution that increases their safety.
Novel Jack communicates according to the ISOBUS protocol with the Virtual Terminal situated in the tractor cabin. The operations of moving Novel Jack from its stowed position to its vertical operative position are run from the tractor cabin, offering so a significant reduction of physical labor, increasing productivity and efficiency in complete safety.
Thanks to its advanced sensors, the Novel Jack system measures the applied load and any potentially dangerous overloads. It checks any anomalies in the soil on which the jack rests, detecting failure to reach a stable landing surface and any obstacles in the ground while lowering. This innovative safety monitoring system supported by active and passive safety procedures has been optimized for fast response. The Novel Jack system further detects the height of the implement towing hitch, enabling easier, quicker and safer coupling/uncoupling steps.
Thanks to the dedicated ISOBUS module OEMs can easily integrate Novel Jack with their Ag-implements ensuring wide market adoption.
The final Novel Jack will be a fully automated jack with high mechanical performances certified according to ISO-12140, and with certified ISOBUS compatibility.
Novel Jack is a mechatronic system designed for intelligent communication over the ISOBUS net and automatic mechanical actuation, increasing the protection of the user and that of the implement on which it will be mounted. It is the first fully automated jack in the market equipped with an innovative safety monitoring system, supported by active and passive safety procedures optimized for fast response. Novel Jack spots a dedicated ISOBUS module that will enable OEMs to easily integrate Novel Jack with their Ag-implements, hence ensuring a wide market adoption. Novel Jack will be a fully automated jack certified for its mechanical performance according to ISO-12140 and according to ISO-11783 (ISOBUS certified).
To target our objective the project is divided into 7 WPs. Four technical: WP1 centered in the optimization of mechanical system, WP2 devoted to fine-tuning of electronic and software components, WP3 deals on the refinement of operational procedures and definition of the safety procedures and WP4 aims to release Novel Jack, testing in-house and getting necessary certifications.
At present, WPs 1, 2 and 3 are completed. A Novel Jack mechanical prototype has been manufactured and integrated with electronics, resulting in a fully operative mechatronic system which has already achieved the ISOBUS certification. Exhaustive testing of the Novel Jack electronics, drivers and control software were performed at the Plug Fest in Antibes, France (September 2019), testing all possible compatibility issues with the ISOBUS hardware of many OEMs.
The strength of the mechanical structure has been validated according to the ISO-12140 requirements. All the functional automatic and manual operative procedures have been defined and both active and passive safety measures are available to perform the required operations safely. The Novel Jack prototype is ready to be connected to an ISOBUS compliant equipment to proceed with the operative testing phase of the project.
WP5 dealing with industrialization, WP6 with dissemination and commercialization and WP7 centered in the project management are contemplated and will be completed during the second project phase.
To speed-up commercialization of Novel Jack, we have been displaying our product to the world’s biggest OEMs that have shown great interest in this cutting-edge technology. We participated so far to the SIMA 2019, France, Agritechnica 2019, Germany and in the United States World Ag Expo. Finally, to protect Novel Jack technology, we have applied for Italian and international patents
Despite the increasing level of technological innovations embedded in current Ag-machines, the process of lifting or levelling Ag-machines through the use of a jack acting as a support foot remains mostly manually operated, as it was 50 years ago. Therefore, SIMOL has been investing in the development of technology allowing to fully automate the operation of our jacks for Ag-machines: Novel Jack is the first fully automatic hydraulic jack in the market, ISOBUS certified.
Novel Jack offers a unique combination of the following beyond the-state-of-the art features, which provide for a superior solution to all other current jacks on the market:
• ISOBUS certification to the standard ISO-11783: Until recently, connecting different implements to the tractor could be problematic because it required many control devices and various cables, making it all difficult to manage. Isobus is the standard protocol that allows the exchange of data and information with a universal language through a single control console in the tractor's cab. Thanks to ISOBUS, the cab becomes an on-board computer that can control all tools and implements connected, ensuring the exchange of information. Being ISOBUS certified, Novel Jack is the first supporting jack able to communicate according to the ISOBUS protocol with the Virtual Terminal situated in the tractor cabin.
• Easy operation cabin controlled through the ISOBUS Virtual Terminal: the jack operations are controlled while staying seated in the tractor cab, offering so a significant reduction of physical labour (no need for manual jacks operation) and allowing greater work efficiency. The traditional manual operation of Ag-Jacks limits farmers productivity; the fully automated Novel Jack ensures that farmers perform the process of lifting/levelling of the Ag-implement from the tractor cabin, eliminating the need to get near the Ag-implement to follow the operation and avoiding the need for manual turning, therefore reducing work time and non-value adding work.
• Increase safety for workers during the coupling/uncoupling steps of the trailed implement to the tractor: The operator sits in the tractor cab during the lifting/levelling of the implement, far from the place where the jack is lifted and hence far from potential harm. In addition, Novel Jack is equipped with sensors that check the hardness of the ground, preventing so the risk of potential collapse of the implement if the soil is too soft or unstable. Thanks to this innovative safety system the risk of jack related accidents can be reduced by 90%.
• Finally, we are the only company in the market with an in-house test-rig designed to perform stress tests to assess compliance of our products with the ISO-12140
Novel Jack Prototype