(19)
(11)EP 3 513 646 A1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT APPLICATION

(43)Date of publication:
24.07.2019 Bulletin 2019/30

(21)Application number: 18152978.5

(22)Date of filing:  23.01.2018
(51)Int. Cl.: 
A01F 15/07  (2006.01)
A01F 15/08  (2006.01)
(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR
Designated Extension States:
BA ME
Designated Validation States:
MA MD TN

(71)Applicant: Deere & Company
Moline, IL 61265 (US)

(72)Inventor:
  • Ostermann, Philippe
    68163 Mannheim (DE)

(74)Representative: Reichert, Christian 
John Deere GmbH & Co. KG Mannheim Regional Center Global Intellectual Property Services John-Deere-Straße 70
68163 Mannheim
68163 Mannheim (DE)

  


(54)ROUND BALER


(57) A round baler (12) comprises a baling chamber (16) and a plurality of press means (18) mounted within the baling chamber (16). The round baler (12) is operated by power provided by a primary power source. The round baler (12) is characterized by an auxiliary power source (22) connectable with the press means (18). The auxiliary power source (22) is operable in a power transmitting mode to transmit an auxiliary power to the press means (12). The baler further comprising control means for controlling operation of the auxiliary power source (22). The operation of said auxiliary power source (22) is controlled manually and/or corresponding to at least one of a bale formation cycle parameter.




Description

TECHNICAL FIELD



[0001] The present disclosure relates to a round baler comprising a baling chamber, press means mounted within the baling chamber and operable in a bale formation cycle. A primary power source functionally communicates with said press means to transmit a power to the press means. Particularly, the present disclosure relates to an arrangement for pressing the bales without compromising on the baler vehicle speed.

BACKGROUND



[0002] A baler includes a baling chamber where the agricultural residues from the farm are collected for binding and forming bales. The baler includes a plurality of press rolls which are transversely positioned within the baler. The press rolls are powered by a Power Take Off (PTO) shaft receiving torque from the engine of a vehicle for pulling the baler. Typically, the bales are bound or wrapped inside the bale forming chamber before being discharged on the ground. The binding operation/wrapping operation is typically carried out by wrapping a twine or a net around the exterior of the bale.

[0003] During bale formation, the agricultural residues in the bale forming chamber are required to be effectively pressed by the press rolls during a bale formation cycle. The PTO transmits the power required to operate the press rolls for applying pressure for compressing the crop residues in the bale forming chamber. However, the amount of pressure required to be applied for compressing the crop residue is low in the initial part of the bale formation cycle while the pressure required to be applied by the press rolls towards the end of the bale formation cycle is substantially high. Thus, there is a low pressure and a high pressure sequence during the bale formation cycle. During the high pressure sequence, a peak of power consumption takes place which may require to slow down the vehicle. Further, due to crop accumulation in the pickup area, plugging of crop may take place which would also lead to increased power demand.

[0004] Currently, in order to cater to the bale formation cycle during the high pressure sequence or plugging, the operator is required to slow down the baler, so that, maximum power supply is provided to the PTO. However, the slowing down of the machine adversely impacts the operational time of the baler which in turn impacts the performance.

[0005] Hence, there is a need for a round baler with an arrangement to eliminate the requirement to slow down the vehicle while ensuring increased power supply.

[0006] The above mentioned problem will be solved by the teachings of claim1. Further advantageous embodiments are defined by the dependent claims and the sub claims.

SUMMARY



[0007] Accordingly, the baler of the above mentioned type further comprising an auxiliary power source connectable with the press means. The auxiliary power source is operable in a power transmitting mode to transmit an auxiliary power to the press means. The baler further comprising control means for controlling operation of said auxiliary power source, wherein, the operation of said auxiliary power source is controlled manually and/or corresponding to bale formation cycle parameters.

[0008] The bale formation cycle include at least one low pressure sequence in a first part of said bale formation cycle and a high pressure sequence in a second part of said baling formation cycle. The high pressure sequence may be followed by further low pressure sequences. In the first part of the bale formation cycle the crop residue initiates to enter the bale formation chamber for being formed into a bale.

[0009] The bale formation cycle parameter may comprise an end of said at least one low pressure sequence or a beginning of said high pressure sequence. The bale formation cycle parameter may comprise also an instant of time between the low pressure sequence and the high pressure sequence. The bale formation cycle parameter may comprise a plugging indication during the bale forming cycle. The plugging indication may be provided by associated sensors which monitor the crop intake or the rotation of a respective pick-up device.

[0010] The bale formation cycle parameters may include one or more of a cycle time, an instant of the cycle time, pressure on the press means, bale density, crop inflow, gate movement, crop parameter, bale dimension and user defined input.

[0011] The press means may comprise a belt, a chain or rolls which are associated with respective drive arrangements driven by a Power Take off shaft.

[0012] The auxiliary power source may be supplied with power by a power storage source. The auxiliary power source may particularly comprise a hydraulic motor powered by a hydraulic source. Alternatively, the auxiliary power source may be provided by a secondary mechanical drive arrangement powered by the Power Take off shaft and selectively connectable to a clutch arrangement.

[0013] The hydraulic source may comprise a hydraulic accumulator connectable to a hydraulic pump and the hydraulic motor. The hydraulic accumulator being operable in a charging phase and a discharging phase. The fluid required to charge the hydraulic accumulator may be supplied from a fluid reservoir connected to the hydraulic pump. The hydraulic pump may be located in the baler or a towing vehicle for the baler.

[0014] The hydraulic accumulator is charged in said charging phase by said hydraulic pump, during the low pressure sequence through a first directional control valve. The first directional control valve may comprise a solenoid operated valve or a mechanically operated valve. The first directional control valve may be a two port valve. The first directional control valve may comprise a first port and a second port to be selectively opened and closed.

[0015] The hydraulic accumulator is discharged in the discharging phase to power said hydraulic motor, during said high pressure sequence through a second directional control valve. The second directional control valve may comprise a solenoid operated valve or a mechanically operated valve. The second directional control valve may be a two port valve. The second directional control valve may comprise a first port and a second port to be selectively opened and closed.

[0016] The first directional control valve may be open during at least a part of one of the low pressure sequences for charging said hydraulic accumulator while said second directional control valve is closed during said part of said low pressure sequence.

[0017] The second directional control valve is open during at least a part of said high pressure sequence for powering said hydraulic motor. The first directional control valve is closed during said part of said high pressure sequence.

[0018] The control means is configured to selectively actuate the first directional control valve and the second directional control valve in the charging phase and the discharging phase respectively, corresponding to at least one of said bale formation cycle parameters. The control means receive signals from at least one sensor for detecting the bale formation cycle parameters.

[0019] As described above, the auxiliary power source may be supplied with power by a power storage source, wherein the auxiliary power source may alternatively be an electric motor powered by an electric source. The electric source may be a battery or a generator, which are placed within the baler or the towing vehicle. The electric power source may be replaceable. The electric source may be rechargeable intermittently or during an electric charging phase.

[0020] The electric source powers the electric motor during the high pressure sequence.

[0021] The control means is configured to actuate and de-actuate the electric motor in the high pressure sequence and the low pressure sequence respectively, corresponding to at least one of said bale formation cycle parameters. The control means is at least one of a manual control system or electronic control system. When the control means is an electronic control system, the control means include- at least one sensor adapted to sense the bale formation cycle parameters.

[0022] The sensor is at least one of an angle sensor, a distance sensor, a proximity sensor and a time sensor. The control means includes a controller and a processor to process the inputs from the sensors. When the control means is a manual control system, the control means is controlled by an operator based on at least one user defined parameter which may be input by the operator through an user interface.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



[0023] The drawings show two embodiment examples of the invention, described in more detail below, wherein the brief description of the drawings refers to the accompanying figures in which:

Figure 1 illustrates a round baler towed by a tractor;

Figure 2 illustrates a sectional view of the round baler with a plurality of press rolls and an auxiliary power source, in accordance with the present disclosure;

Figure 3 illustrates a bale formation cycle; and

Figure 4 schematically illustrates the hydraulic arrangement for operating the auxiliary power source.


DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



[0024] Referring to Figure 1 and Figure 2, a tractor (10) is used to tow a round baler (12) along the forward towing direction (V). Hereinafter, all indicated directions and location of the round baler (12), such as, forward, backward, rear, front, up, above, down, left and right shall be determined with reference to the forward towing direction (V) of the round baler (12) in the field. The round baler (12) includes a pick-up unit (14) and a feeding system (15) provided at the front end of the round baler (12) to collect the residual product, such as hay and forage from the ground and convey it into the baling chamber (16). The round baler (12) is mounted on a support frame of a chassis and includes the baling chamber (16) with a plurality of press rolls (18).

[0025] The round balers (12) is powered by a Power Take-off (PTO) shaft (not shown in Figure) of the tractor (10). The PTO shaft (not shown in Figure) transmits a constant power from the engine for operating a press means. The press means may be belt, chain or press rolls. Figure 2 illustrates the press means as press rolls (18). A plurality of press rolls (18) are arranged to defined the bale chamber (16) of the round baler (12). Each of the press rolls (18) are configured to rotate about their respective axis. The rotation of the press rolls (18) helps in bringing together the residual product, thereby enabling formation of bales. The driving bars (20) mounted on the press rolls (18) help in further agitating the residual product for efficient formation of a bale during a bale formation cycle. Although not illustrated, the press means may comprise press belts defining the baling chamber of a variable chamber baler.

[0026] The bale formation cycle, illustrated in Figure 3, comprises a sequence of a low pressure sequence (A), a high pressure sequence (B) and a bale tying sequence (C). In the low pressure sequence (A), the residual product starts to enter the baling chamber (16) and the formation of the bale initiates. The low pressure sequence (A) continues until the bale chamber (16) is filled completely with the residue product by the feeding system (15). In the low pressure sequence (A), the power supplied by the PTO shaft is sufficient to effectively drive the press rolls (18) to apply the required pressing effect. After the end of the low pressure sequence (A), the high pressure sequence (B) is initiated.

[0027] When the residue crop continues to be fed into the baling chamber (16) towards the end of the low pressure sequence (A), the baling chamber reaches its full capacity and the high pressure sequence (B) will momentarily initiated with increasing density of the bale. Thus, in the high pressure sequence (B), the power demand momentarily reaches a peak value. The power supplied by the PTO shaft is not sufficient to provide this additional power requirement for effective bale forming.

[0028] In the period of high power requirement, in conventional balers known in the prior art, the operator may be required to slow down the speed of the tractor (10) in the forward towing direction (V) so that major portion of the engine power is directed towards the PTO shaft for delivering the higher power demand in the high pressure sequence (B). As an alternate to slowing the speed of the tractor (10) to cater to the increase power demand, the present disclosure provides for an auxiliary power source (22), powered by energy from a power storage source (24), for supplying the additional power required during the high pressure sequence (B). The additional power may also be required when there is a plugging at the feeding point of the baler for feeding residue material inside the baling chamber (16).

[0029] In one embodiment, as illustrated in Figure 2 and Figure 4, the auxiliary power source (22) is a hydraulic motor (23) powered by the power storage source (24) which is a hydraulic accumulator (25). Figure 4 particularly illustrated the hydraulic circuit for operation of the hydraulic motor (23) and the hydraulic accumulator (25) in the low pressure sequence and the high pressure sequence. Alternatively, the auxiliary power source (22) is an electric motor powered by the power storage source (24) which is an electric source. The electric source may be a battery or a generator. The electric power source may be replaceable. Alternatively, the electric source may be rechargeable intermittently or charged during an electric charging phase. The electric source powers said electric motor during said high pressure sequence.

[0030] Figure 4 schematically illustrates a hydraulic circuit (26) with the hydraulic motor (23), the hydraulic accumulator (25), a first directional control valve (28a) and a second directional control valve (28b). The hydraulic motor (23) is selectively powered by the hydraulic accumulator (25). The hydraulic accumulator (25) is connectable to a hydraulic pump (30) and the hydraulic motor (23). The hydraulic accumulator (25) is operable in a charging phase and a discharging phase. The fluid required to charge the hydraulic accumulator (25) may be supplied by a fluid reservoir (32). The hydraulic accumulator (25) is charged in the charging phase by the hydraulic pump (30), during the low pressure sequence A and the bale tying sequence (C). The first directional control valve (28a) provides a fluid communication between the hydraulic pump (30) and the accumulator (25) in the charging phase. The first directional controlled valve (28a) is solenoid operated valve or mechanically operated valve. The first directional control valve (28a) is a two port valve. The first directional control valve (28a) is open during at least a part of the low pressure sequence (A) for charging the hydraulic accumulator (25) while the second directional control valve (28b) is closed during the part of the low pressure sequence (A). Alternatively, the first directional control valve (A) is open during the normal feeding of the crop residues into the baling chamber (16).

[0031] The hydraulic accumulator (25) is discharged in the discharging phase to power the hydraulic motor (23), during the high pressure sequence (B) through a second directional control valve (28b). The second directional controlled valve (28b) is a solenoid operated valve or a mechanically operated valve. The second directional control valve (28b) is a two port valve. The second directional control valve (28b) is open during at least a part of the high pressure sequence for powering the hydraulic motor (23). The first directional control valve (28a) is closed during the part of the high pressure sequence (B). Alternatively, the second directional control valve (28b) is open when plugging is developed at the feeding point of the crop residues into the baling chamber (16).

[0032] The sequential switching of the hydraulic accumulator (25) between a charging phase and a discharging phase is controlled by a control means (not shown in Figure) based on bale formation cycle parameters. The bale formation parameters include the instant of an end of the low pressure sequence (A) or a beginning of the high pressure sequence (B). This is an instant of time between the low pressure sequence (A) and the high pressure sequence (B). This may also be the instant of time when a plugging is developed at the feeding point of the baler and there is a high power demand to clear the residue material. The bale formation cycle parameters may further include one or more of a cycle time, an instant of the cycle time, pressure on the press means (18), bale density, crop inflow, gate movement, crop parameter, bale dimension and user defined input.

[0033] The bale formation cycle parameters are detected by at least one sensor (not shown in Figure) which can be associated with different parts of the baler (12). The sensor (not shown in Figure) may provide sensed signals from different parts of the baler (12) and transmit the same to the control means (not shown in Figure). The control means (not shown in Figure) on receiving the sensed signals, determine whether the baler (12) is operating in the low pressure sequence (A), the high pressure sequence (B) or the bale tying sequence (C). If the control means (not shown in Figure) determine that the baler (12) is operating in the low pressure sequence (A) or in the bale tying sequence (C), the control means (not shown in Figure) trigger the first directional control valve (28a) to open, thereby allowing flow of a hydraulic fluid from the hydraulic pump (30) to pressurize the hydraulic accumulator (25). Simultaneously, the control means (not shown in Figure) ensures that the second directional control valve is in closed configuration. On the other hand, if the control means (not shown in Figure) determines from the sensed signals that high power is required during the bale formation cycle, e.g. when the baler (12) operates in the high pressure sequence (B), the control means (not shown in Figure) triggers the first directional control valve (28a) to close while the second directional control valve (28b) is opened for transmitting the hydraulic fluid, under pressure, from the hydraulic accumulator (25) to operate the hydraulic motor (23) for supplying additional power required during the high pressure sequence (B). This helps in providing sufficient power for efficiently operating the baler (12) during the high pressure sequence (B) without compromising on the forward speed of the baler (12) in the forward towing direction (V).


Claims

1. A round baler (12) comprising:

a baling chamber (16);

press means (18), said press means (18) mounted within said baling chamber (16), said press means (18) being operable in a bale formation cycle; and

a primary power source functionally communicates with said press means (18) to transmit a power to the press means (18),

characterized in that,

the round baler (12) further comprising an auxiliary power source (22) connectable with said press means (18), said auxiliary power source (22) being operable in a power transmitting mode to transmit an auxiliary power to said press means (18), the baler (12) further comprising control means for controlling operation of said auxiliary power source (22),
wherein,

the operation of said auxiliary power source (22) is controlled manually and/or corresponding to bale formation cycle parameters.


 
2. The round baler (12) as claimed in claim 1, wherein the bale formation cycle include a low pressure sequence (A) in a first part of said bale formation sequence and a high pressure sequence (B) in a second part of said baling formation cycle.
 
3. The round baler (12) as claimed in claim 2, wherein the bale formation cycle parameter comprises an end of said low pressure sequence (A) or a beginning of said high pressure sequence (B).
 
4. The round baler (12) as claimed in one of the claims 1 or 3, wherein the bale formation cycle parameters include one or more of a cycle time, an instant of the cycle time, pressure on the press means, bale density, crop inflow, gate movement, crop parameter, bale dimension and user defined input.
 
5. The round baler (12) as claimed in one of the claims 1 to 4, wherein the press means (18) is belt, chain or rolls.
 
6. The round baler (12) as claimed in one of the claims 1 to 5, wherein said auxiliary power source (22) is a hydraulic motor (23) powered by a hydraulic source (25).
 
7. The round baler (12) as claimed in one of the claims 1 to 6, wherein said hydraulic source (22) is a hydraulic accumulator (25) connectable to a hydraulic pump (30) and said hydraulic motor (23), said hydraulic accumulator (25) being operable in a charging phase and a discharging phase.
 
8. The round baler (12) as claimed in one of claims 1 to 7, wherein said hydraulic accumulator (25) is charged in said charging phase by said hydraulic pump (30), during said low pressure sequence (A) through a first directional control valve (28a).
 
9. The round baler (12) as claimed in one of claims 1 to 8 , wherein said hydraulic accumulator (25) is discharged in said discharging phase to power said hydraulic motor (23), during said high pressure sequence (B) through a second directional control valve (28b).
 
10. The round baler (12) as claimed in one of the claims 1 to 9, wherein said first directional control valve (28a) is open during at least a part of said low pressure sequence (A) for charging said hydraulic accumulator (25), said second directional control valve (28a) being closed during said part of said low pressure sequence (A).
 
11. The round baler (12) as claimed in one of the claims 1 to 10, wherein said second directional control valve (28b) is open during at least a part of said high pressure sequence (B) for powering said hydraulic motor (23), said first directional control valve (28a) is closed during said part of said high pressure sequence (B).
 
12. The round baler (12) as claimed in one of the claims 7 to 11, wherein said control means is configured to selectively actuate said first directional control valve (28a) and said second directional control valve (28b) in said charging phase and said discharging phase respectively, corresponding to at least one of said bale formation cycle parameters.
 
13. The round baler (12) as claimed in one of the claims 1 to 5, wherein said auxiliary power source (22) is an electric motor powered by an electric source.
 
14. The round baler (12) as claimed in claim 13, wherein said electric source powers said electric motor during said high pressure sequence (B).
 
15. The round baler (12) as claimed in one of the claims 13 or 14, wherein said control means is configured to actuate and de-actuate said electric motor in said high pressure sequence (B) and said low pressure sequence (A) respectively, corresponding to at least one of said bale formation cycle parameters.
 




Drawing