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Lighter agricultural equipment solves soil compaction

Heavy tractors and combine harvesters can destroy the soil quality of arable land. An easy fix is to replace the heavy structural parts in agricultural equipment with aluminium lightweight components.

When soil is compressed to such a degree that it reduces the space for air and water, the soil aggregates are crushed, the soil eventually erodes, and crop production sinks.

Heavy farm equipment drives soil compaction because the effect of the weight of the equipment – say, a combine harvester – can go as deep as 60 centimeters in wet soil.

Soil compaction from heavy equipment

Mobile agricultural machinery needs to be efficient, resistant and able to cope with harsh environments. Accordingly, equipment keeps getting stronger and bigger. These machines tend to be built with steel, so bigger has also meant heavier. And this has led to soil compaction caused by wheel traffic.

You can prevent soil compaction in several ways, such as avoiding repeated travel along the same tracks. Or putting on wider tires, which spreads the weight of the machine and thereby lessens the pressure on the ground. However, I think the best way is to make the equipment lighter.

Lightweight choices for agricultural equipment

By making the agricultural equipment lighter, you can reduce both soil compaction and carbon dioxide emissions. Farm productivity will improve, crop yields will increase. Replacing conventional steel parts in the machines with lighter, optimized aluminium designs will also reduce the amount of fuel the machines use.

Aluminium has tensile strengths from 70 to 700 MPa and it gets stronger at low temperatures. Its density is one-third that of steel and the metal will not rust.

Here are some examples where aluminium can replace steel in agricultural equipment:

  • Cabin and interior. Structural parts with excellent energy absorption properties give you a safer and lighter cabin. Aluminium also improves the look and functionality of applications within the interior.
  • Sieving parts for combine harvesters. Substituting steel with aluminium in sieving parts saves weight and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Drawing-in rollers. Replacing steel with aluminium in drawing-in rollers will reduce weight, and can reduce the number of assembled parts. This reduces costs. 

Interested in learning more?

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