CORDIS - EU research results

Automatic Hitching for theTotal Safety of the Farmers when Coupling machinery

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - SIWI (Automatic Hitching for theTotal Safety of the Farmers when Coupling machinery)

Reporting period: 2020-02-01 to 2021-07-31

The penetration of automation in the agricultural industry is forging ahead. Yet, the process of changing and hitching trailed implements, a key operation that every farmer performs many times per day, remains manually operated, as it was 50 years ago. Due to this, 40% of farmers deaths in farms are the result of being crushed by machinery such as tractors or implements, with fatal farms accidents costing to the EU society €923 million/year. The need for an automated, strong and reliable hitch system has never been greater.
Listening intently to the needs of our customers, we invested 3 years of R&D to develop industry’s first fully automated hitch system. Our game-changing technology is 10x times better than closest substitutes and allows farmers to hitch their heaviest implements from tractor’s cabin, in less than 10 seconds. This redefines farm operations, enabling farmers to use only 1 tractor instead of 4 which is the current way of working, and brings huge cost savings enabling farmers to recoup their investment in our product in less than 258 working hours.
Currently, our patent protected technology is at TRL6, with the system being optimised in our Danish facilities. With a feasibility plan developed under a Ph1 grant, we now seek a Ph2 grant to fine-tune our industrial-grade high pressure connection system and optimise our Machine Module to certify it for transport on public roads as per 167/2013 R55. Also, we will patent our new Machine Module and fully certify our systems for strength, reliability, and safety. To speed-up market launch, we will showcase our products to key customers who have already expressed their interest.
This will allow us to launch our products in Europe, Japan, Australia, Canada, and the US, growing our business by €24 million in cumulative net profits by 2025. This cash-flow is vital to build our new facilities to meet market demand and continue improving our products, ultimately generating 18 new jobs in SIWI production and sales activities.
The objective of the project is to launch in the market our breakthrough product that completely redefines the way farmers and contractors work in the farms.
The project period 2 is now completed and we have achieved all milestone and workpackages. The work performed during period 2 is in general a success. We have even outperformed the project by enhancing the company into an ISO 9001 certification. The technical part in period 2 has been a success, we have achieved to change and redevelop once again our Machine module into a better and more suitable version. The main problem with the first Machine Module developed in period 1 was that it only was suitable for tractors with the power range from +250 horsepower. The new and better version is now called the Drawbar Hitch, and this model can handle tractors from 90 horsepower and going up; hence we have moved the installation point from the lifting arms into the K80 ball connection in the back of the tractor. We have reused the earlier developed high-pressure coupling interface, and is this way kept to our original idea of being able to make a hitch connection during full pressure. Live test of our Drawbar Hitch was performed as expected, and consequently, the prototype of the module is performing technically as expected.
The commercial parts have been very good for SIWI, now we have distributors in Europe, Canada, Japan, Australia and still working on New Zeeland. The biggest success story from period 1 was our participation in a large Innovation Contest in Alberta (Canada). We won the first price of CAD$ 20.000 for best innovation for the Canadian market and a lot of free publicity within radio, social media, and printed media. We are also very fortune to have signed up with the largest Machine dealer in Japan, covering all South and North Island. The Japanese adventure has just started.
A market in UK has appeared during the project, and for now this market is really performing well, we have partnered with one of the largest machine distributors in UK. This new distributor has also showcased our system in one of the most popular Farming magazines with a 4 pages article about efficiency and safety by means of the SIWI Combi Hitch modules. During the project we found out that there were no Danish companies approved for testing of our modules, and to go outside Denmark for this service we were told expected waiting time for a sloth was 6-9 months. We build a testbench according to the EU directive for static test 208/2015 Annex XXXIV and had Danish Force Technology to come and calibrate according to ISO17025. SIWI Maskiner is now the first Danish company approved for testing according to the EC directive.
The process of changing trailed implements, a key operation that every farmer performs numerous times per day, still remains manually operated. Manual change of implements does not only reduce farmers productivity, but also is a major contributor to fatal accidents in the farms.
Our customers (farmers and agricultural contractors) urgently need a fully-automated hitch system that will allow them to safely change and hitch their implements from their tractor’s cabin.
Our distributors (Ag-machine dealers) need hitch systems that can be easily integrated with the tractors and trailers, while being straight-forward to service and maintain.
SIWI solution: a breakthrough hitch system that will disrupt the Ag-machinery industry. SIWI allows farmers to safely connect and disconnect their trailed implements from their tractors’ cabin in a fully automated way at the touch of a button.
During the project we have also seen the need of a product within the agriculture that can reduce the CO2 footprint. Our system reduced the need of extra tractors, and for each saved running hours in a modern tractor the CO2 pollution is reduced by 2,7kg pr. saved litre Diesel. Same time we hear from many of our customers that attracting manpower into the agriculture sector is very difficult, but running the SIWI Combi Hitch solution, the contractor or farmers are also able to reduce their labour with minimum one person. Running the SIWI Combi Hitch it’s also now possible for women to enter the work on a farm, hence the hard and heavy work changing trailers or implements is removed when hitching can be performed from the tractors cabin with a touch on the control panel.
Demo tour in Zülpich Germany, together with Agrartechnik RWZ
SIWI Combi Hitch
Demonstration in Agribex show in Belgium
Test bench approved for testing according to the EU directive 208-2015 Annex XXXIV
Trademark protected logos
Demonstration in Hokkaido-Japan
ISO 9001 certificate
Demonstration in Agribex show in Belgium
AG Innovation Price award 3
Pitch event during the AG Innovation award n Canada