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

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - Novel Jack (Automatic Hydraulic Jack with improved capacity, safety and efficiency for agricultural implements)

Reporting period: 2019-11-01 to 2021-05-31

Lately, Precision Agriculture is being really innovative, but key operations such as lifting and levelling Ag-machines through jacks still remains manually operated. Hence, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) of Ag-machinery urgently need a fully automated agricultural jack with enhanced safety features. More so, they require a new jack solution fully ISOBUS compliant. ISOBUS (universal protocol for electronic commu-nication 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 combi-nation.
At SIMOL, we have developed Novel Jack: the first fully automated jack in the market, ISOBUS certified as an 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 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 a significant reduction of physical labor, increasing productivity and effi-ciency in complete safety.
Thanks to its advanced sensors, the Novel Jack system monitors continuously the applied load and is able to detect any potentially dangerous overloads. It checks any anomalies in the behavior of 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 has been integrated by artificial intelligence logics which provide active and passive safety procedures, optimized for fast response. Furthermore, the Novel Jack system detects the height of the draw-bar hitch, thus enabling the user to operate easier, quicker and safer during the coupling/uncoupling procedure between the tractor and implement.
Thanks to the dedicated ISOBUS module, certified according to ISO-11783, and the superior mechanical strength and dynamic performances, certified according to ISO-12140, OEMs can easily integrate Novel Jack within their Ag-implements, ensuring the widest market adoption ever.
The final Novel Jack system is therefore the result of an optimized integration process among high-performance mechatronic automation and ISOBUS communication protocol, which provides the cutting- edge technological answer to the modern needs in precision farming.
Novel Jack system is the result of the development of an advanced mechatronics project. The patented and optimized mechanical structure of the jack was designed to integrate two hydraulic actuation systems which manage independently the rod extension and jack rotation. A dedicated electronic system was de-signed, with sensors and solenoid valves suitable to provide the acquisition of the information needed to implement highly automated control logic and carry out the control of high-performance drives. After fine tuning, an extremely effective and efficient system was achieved. The ISOBUS protocol was integrated into the core of the electronic control system, allowing to operate the Novel Jack through standard ISOBUS virtual terminals by a dedicated user interface. Reliability analysis of the operational risks was carried out to design the active and passive safety procedures required to operate the system in complete automation and safety. The final optimization of the system took place during an extensive experimental test campaign which provided the successful validation of the system's functionalities and safety procedures. The results obtained were disseminated during the development of the project through participation in agricultural fairs, advertising and web marketing. Finally, informative videos were recorded to show the technological characteristics of the Novel Jack system and sum up how the automation capabilities and the full ISOBUS integration in the communication network among tractors and implements are a key value for the devel-opment of high productivity and safe agricultural processes.
Despite the increasing level of technological innovations embedded in current Ag-machines, the state of the art related to the process of lifting or levelling Ag-machines is still unsatisfactory, because the use of a supporting jack remains mostly manually operated, as it was 50 years ago. SIMOL has invested in the de-velopment of a technology to fully automate the operation of our jacks for Ag-machines. The result of this process is Novel Jack: the first fully automatic hydraulic jack in the market, ISOBUS certified.
The main benefits and socio-economic impacts, that Novel Jack will bring into the agricultural sector, come from a unique combination of the following features, which provide for a superior technological solution when compared to all other current jacks on the market:
• Certification to the ISOBUS standard ISO-11783. Until recently, the connection of different implements to the tractor was highly problematic, because many specific control devices and their dedicated cables were needed, making the overall arrangement of the cabin hardly manageable. ISOBUS is the international communication protocol that allows the exchange of data and information with a universal language through a single control console in the tractor's cab, called Virtual Terminal. Thanks to ISOBUS, the VT in 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 communi-cate with the Virtual Terminal in the tractor cabin.
• Easy and ergonomic cabin operability through the ISOBUS Virtual Terminal. The jack control system is designed to be operated while staying seated in the tractor cab. The improved ergonomics of operation provides a notable reduction of stress and physical labour encouraging access to agriculture to female work. Moreover, the automation of the jack operations delivers greater work efficiency. The fully auto-mated Novel Jack ensures that farmers perform the process of lifting/levelling of the Ag-implement from the tractor cabin. The need to get close to the Ag-implement and manually operate the jack is eliminated, therefore reducing non-value-adding work time.
• Increased safety for workers during the steps to couple/uncouple 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 hazards. In addition, Novel Jack is equipped with sensors and automatic safety procedures that counteract overload conditions and check the stability of contact with the ground, preventing the risk of a potential collapse of the implement and reducing the risks of jack-related accidents by 90%.
• SIMOL is the only company in the market with an in-house test rig designed to perform stress and endur-ance tests to assess compliance of Novel Jack and all our products to the strength, safety, and reliability requirements of the international reference standard ISO-12140.
The agriculture of the future based on autonomous tractors will be also possible thanks to our novel jack that allows implements to be coupled and uncoupled without the presence of the farmer, that will manage the operations on his computer or ipad.
Novel Jack operated in house tests
Novel Jack Prototype
Novel Jack operated on field tests