Air technology enables agricultural machinery to be put through its paces at CLAAS
Before a combine harvester leaves the assembly line, it is tested under realistic conditions. It is obvious that it is loud and hard. Modern high-tech production designed for digital agriculture must not suffer as a result. At premium manufacturer CLAAS, Kappa has implemented a trend-setting solution for the chamber, air, sound and lighting equipment of the test stations.
Future-proofed air technology for combine harvester test bench
Founded in 1913, the CLAAS family business is one of the world's leading manufacturers in agricultural machinery. The company produces combine harvesters, forage harvesters, tractors, agricultural balers and grassland harvesting machinery. The innovative agricultural devices are equipped with the latest information technology. The machines are trailblazers in "Digital Farming" and fit for Agriculture 4.0.
The company's Westphalian headquarters in Harsewinkel has been producing combine harvesters since 1936. To date, over 450,000 of these harvesters have been delivered from there. Since the restructuring of the plant in 2003, the factory in Harsewinkel is one of the most modern production facilities for combine harvesters and forage harvesters in the world. Intelligent production processes and logistics guarantee optimum machine utilisation.
CLAAS has set a new course with the SynPro 2020 modernisation and investment programme. The SynPro 2020 project was primarily concerned with consolidating the production of the two combine harvester assembly lines into one line. This increases efficiency and flexibility without compromising on quality. The latest and future-proof test bench equipment is used for the inspection of the machines. Function and power are subjected to comprehensive testing under realistic conditions. All systems and components of a combine harvester are tested and recorded.
The solution: future-proof test bench equipment - clean, bright and quiet
Test benches are primarily used for quality control before delivery of the agricultural machinery. Practical conditions are simulated, and all functions are systematically tested, analysed and recorded.
Two parallel and synchronous test chamber lines were developed in the factory. Each test chamber line consists of three individual chambers. The agricultural machines pass through them one after the other. Air technology specialist Kappa implemented the entire chamber, air, sound and lighting equipment.
The realistic inspection of the vehicles causes a lot of noise, exhaust fumes and excess heat. The test chambers were therefore equipped with a comprehensive sound insulation concept. It prevents the noise from radiating into other hall areas. The inspection also produces diesel emissions that are hazardous to health. They are collected directly via linearly movable and thus freely positionable exhaust gas extraction devices at the top of the test chamber and discharged from there.
Diffuse emissions, fine dust from abrasion and excess heat are removed via controlled ventilation of the test chamber. The chambers and all work areas are supplied with conditioned fresh air. It flows in through the chamber floor. The diffuse emissions and excess heat are dissipated at the chamber ceilings. These measures make it possible to guarantee the quality of the products while at the same time ensuring occupational safety for all employees.
Clean thanks to efficient ventilation
To capture the emissions produced, each chamber is equipped with a self-sufficient, state-of-the-art ventilation system. The way in which the supply air is introduced into the chamber is decisive for the working climate in the chamber.
Drafts at torso and head height of workers must be avoided. They are perceived as disturbing. For this reason, Kappa diffusers were installed on the chamber floor. They ensure draught-free introduction of air into the chambers. The uniform arrangement of the diffusers in the floor area of the chamber ensures even flow through the chamber from bottom to top. The released emissions are specifically directed under the chamber roof where they are extracted.
Bright thanks to functionally reliable lighting concept
The cabins were extensively equipped with observation windows. This allows natural light to enter the cabins, making the room appear pleasant and spacious. The modern lighting equipment meets all ergonomic requirements. All work areas are optimally well lit. This ensures pleasant and fatigue-free work and reduces the error rate.
Quiet thanks to comprehensive sound insulation
The test chambers are soundproof. The overall dimensions are 39.0 (L) by 20.6 (W) by 6.3 metres (H). The overall chamber was divided into segments on the two production lines, each with three test chambers. The chambers are equipped with sliding gates, doors, windows, partitions and comprehensive equipment packages.
The chambers have a perforated surface on the inside. This absorbs sound emissions to a large extent. It also reduces the unpleasant reflection of noise that occurs with smooth surfaces.
Excellent energy efficiency thanks to intelligent design and automation
The chambers are regulated individually and thus according to demand. In full-load operation, the entire air output is available. In partial-load operation, the air volume is reduced. The required air stream is automatically adjusted to the operating rate encountered. The exhaust extraction is decoupled from the chamber ventilation and is also operated in a load-dependent manner. The adjustment to the respective power requirement ensures high savings in electricity costs.
Excess heat from the chambers is recovered via high-efficiency heat exchangers and used to heat the chamber supply air. This considerably reduces the energy required to regulate the fresh air temperature. The excess heat from the exhaust air is used to heat the chamber supply air.