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Sprayers of the future

As equipment manufacturers
continue to push the envelope in research and development, AGCO Corporation
hopes to be at the leading edge as it unveils a prototype of its concept
vehicle, the electric RoGator. Based on AGCO’s front-entry RoGator 1386, this high-clearance
row-crop sprayer uses four advanced electric-wheel motors in place of the
current hydrostatic motors.

“It’s a concept vehicle
we’ve put together to change from a hydrostatically driven machine to an
electrically driven machine to try and get better performance – like more gains
in fuel efficiency – for these types of machines,” says Dave Lovell, AGCO’s
manager, application equipment.

So what are the advantages
of converting to an electric-wheel motor?

“Using electric-wheel motors
on the prototype has delivered greater starting torque, smoother acceleration,
and better braking control than equipment using a conventional-drive package,”
says Lovell.

Lovell notes that it has a
36% higher torque, 35% stronger pulling force, 6% greater horsepower, 70% less
hydraulic fluid, and a 20% increase in fuel economy.

Simple Design

And while it all may seem
rather complicated, the design of the motor is really quite simple. Unlike
previous types of electric motors, AGCO’s version has no windings, no rotor
bars, no magnets, and no slip rings. It mounts directly to the gearbox. And key
features include easy set up; speeds of up to 35 mph; 516 ft.-lb. of torque;
and internal speed, temperature, and position sensors.

Motors are individually
tuned and powered by a central generator capable of producing 650 volts of DC
power. The generator, motors, controllers, and brake resistor are all
water-cooled for achieving maximum efficiency. The generator is remote mounted
and shaft driven. A central processor provides signals to individual wheel
controllers. The brake controller receives information from the main drive
controller. Disc brakes are positioned at all wheels for emergency stopping and
parking. An electronic control system constantly monitors all systems to
provide safe operation of the vehicle.

Improved fuel efficiency,
emissions reduction, and increased performance are the driving forces behind
ideas like an electric-drive system. Concepts like these will continue to be
studied to explore their extension into other applications and vehicles. In
fact, AGCO is experimenting with this same technology in its windrowers and

“Long term, this concept has
a lot of possibilities, but small changes will need to be made. For example,
the weight factor on components,” says Lovell

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