Controlling a multi-function trailer

Jan 19, 2012 | Electrical & electronics

Contactless rotary position sensors and advanced joystick controllers from Penny+Giles are helping to control Big Bale Company South’s latest Transtacker trailer, which has highly sophisticated electronics developed by Tedd Engineering.

The new control system is predominantly responsible for controlling and managing the Transtacker’s hydraulics, which are used to pick up, lift and rotate bales from ground level to the machine’s trailer. This involves controlling the operation of large double tines and a turntable, which travel between zero and 180°. The previous Transtacker model used pairs of proximity sensors to indicate the position of zero and 180°, but as bales can vary in size their travel couldn’t be monitored accurately if they were larger or smaller than the specified size, which could cause the machine to freeze. Now, however, the contactless Hall effect SRH501P rotary position sensors enable the company to increase or decrease the functional sensitivity and introduce error codes that, when detected, allow the machine to continue within safe limits.

The SRH501P rotary position sensors are used on three functions. The first is the zero to 180° pick-up function, which lifts the bale from the ground and places it onto the machine. The second function controls the turntable, which can perform a straight vertical lift at 90°. Alternatively, it can perform the third function, which is to lift and rotate through 90°. As well as rotary position sensors, Penny+ Giles JC6000 multi-axis joystick controllers were also specified. The controller is coupled to a display unit in the tractor cab, which acts as a virtual terminal for the trailer’s ‘black box’ containing the machine’s software.

The control system enables the operator to simply push the joystick forward to begin the trailer’s operation. For the first function, the Transtacker lifts the bale onto the turntable, releases it and returns to position ready to pick up the next bale. The next function is initiated by pulling the joystick back, which lifts the turntable, rotates the bale and places it onto the back of the trailer. If bales need to be lifted without rotating them, the operator simply actuates one of the joystick buttons while pulling the joystick back. The display unit shows four joystick functions at all times and has five menu buttons – pressing and holding any of these changes the screen to show four different functions.

With the new system, the pick-up function can also be adjusted without the operator leaving the cab and ensuring that, for safety, the machine’s guide bar is automatically retracted when ‘Road Mode’ is selected.

T: 01202 409409  


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