UNACOMA, the Italian Farm Machinery Manufacturers Assn., has chosen 14 products to receive its 2008 "Technical Innovations" awards and an additional 17 to receive its "EIMA Mentions" as the top agricultural innovations exhibited at EIMA, Italy's international farm exposition, held in Bologna in November.

The awards are selected by a panel consisting of 9 of Italy's foremost agricultural experts based on the functionality, use, technical design, environmental impact and quality of the product. The products and manufacturers receiving Technical Innovation awards for 2008 are shown here.

Multipurpose Cultivator
by Angeloni Srl
This machine is designed to work at various depths up to 40 cm, keeping parallel to the ground, making it possible to plant without any further tilling. This tillage tool combines 3 sections. The first has 7 tines arranged in 2 rows to de-compact the soil. The second is a series of toothed upright discs mounted behind the tines on a frame, whose height can be regulated and which is also removable. The third section consists of a roller, which refines and levels the ground, while also stabilizing the machine. The first two sections can be adjusted independently. The unit is fitted with ultra-sound depth sensors and pulling force sensors. It can work at a broad range of depths, also recording information useful for making area-based soil maps of the kind used in precision agriculture.

Low-Noise, Low-Vibration Track
by CNH Italia SpA, New Holland
This new concept track maintains the advantages of metal tracks and reduces noise and vibration to acceptable levels without any appreciable increase in cost. The system consists of an undercarriage with a pair of rubber-covered track tension wheels, with a polyurethane auxiliary wheel located near the toothed driving wheel and, on the outside of the track, two rubber-covered track support rollers offset from each other, along with track plates with 'fish-bone' grip ribs. The track tension wheels and support rollers avoid any metal-to-metal contact. The auxiliary wheel facilitates the track's grip near the driving wheel. The 'fish-bone' grip ribs are designed to favor gradual penetration of the ground. The various solutions reduce vibration and noise reaching the driver from the crawler tractor.

Pneumatically Driven-Peeler for Fruit and Vegetables
by Agr.Im.At. Di Piero Morini
This machine peels fruit and vegetables - even large and irregular shaped produce — without the need for calibration. It represents a first stage in a processing line specific to each type of product destined for the IV and V range. This automatic peeler adapts to the shape and size of the product without calibration. The product is inserted manually against a chuck and blocked in place with a pedal command. The peeling cycle activated by a button and the cycle is carried out by a cup blade, which follows the product's profile. When the cycle is over, the blade pulls away automatically and the operator, after removing the peeled item, moves to a new cycle.

"GPS" Control and Electronic Adjustment System for Hose Reel Irrigators
by Comer Industries Spa, Ocmis Irrigazione Spa and Sime Idromeccanica Srl
This automatic control system optimizes water application, and controls the sprinkler's path through use of a GPS system, while adjusting the water intensity according to the wind, obstacles and shape of the field. The system can be applied to hose reel irrigators with a pair of receiver-transmitters positioned on the reel and the sprinkler to handle the radio signals which enable the operator to control the hose pipe winding device and regulate the sprinkler's parameters. A GPS device provides the sprinkler's position so that the parameters can be adjusted by reference to the shape of the plot or the presence of an obstacle. A programmable control console elaborates data received from sensors installed on the hose reel and the sprinkler to control the reel's mechanical and hydraulic devices and to acquire the geo-reference data for the plot. A palmtop PC (PDA) with a GPS receiver makes a provisional map of the plot, which is downloaded to the console from which the desired irrigation intensity is set.

Electrohydraulic Device for Automatic and Manual Lifting of Folding Tractor ROPS
by D'Eusanio Snc
This device, in certain conditions of transverse and length-wise slope, automatically raises a foldable ROPS that the tractor driver lowers when carrying out certain specific tasks. It consists of 2 hydraulic cylinders, an inclinometer, an electrohydraulic control console and a hydraulic accumulator powered by the tractor's hydraulic system. The hydraulic cylinders lift the ROPS. This can be done manually with a switch or automatically when a given angle of tilt is exceeded as measured on the tilt gauge's 2 axes. The threshold value can be programmed. The switch or inclinometer work on the electrohydraulic consol, is regulated through an electro-valve, and oil under pressure in the accumulator ensures the rapid lifting of the ROPS.

Vertical Rotor Shredder for Pineapple Plants
The machine reduces pineapple plants to small lengths without compacting them into the soil. A semi-mounted shredder with two pairs of vertical rotors mounted so that the pineapple plants enter into contact with the blades without being crushed into the ground as happens with horizontal shredders. Each rotor has straight jointed blades mounted on appropriate supports. The rotors are inclined forward so that the lower of the two rotors cuts as close as possible to the plant's collar. Each rotor is powered by a system of belts and pulleys powered from the tractor's PTO. The shredder's position vis-a-vis the ground can be adapted with hydraulic cylinders working on the support wheels.

"Boxter" Tractor
by Goldoni SpA
This is a 4WD tractor with an original frame and chassis so it can be fitted easily with mid-mounted equipment while also improving the ergonomics of the driver's seat. The tractor's reduced size transmission system has the engine situated with the clutch in front. From the clutch, power is transmitted to the primary transmission shaft by a couple of gears linked to a flexible component. The gearbox is at the back of the tractor, under the driver's seat and is powered by a rigid shaft. Power is transmitted to the front wheels by a shaft with a double universal joint linking the gears to the front differential. The specific location of the gearbox ensures that the driving platform is free of obstacles. The transmission shafts are protected by the frame, giving them greater ground clearance.

"Futura Twin" Automatic Transplanter
by Ferrari Costruzioni Meccaniche Srl
A highly flexible automatic transplanter, this machine is designed for seedlings kept in honeycomb containers. It is fitted with a special device that uses a single-element to deposit seedlings in 2 rows separated by 30-50 cm. This device is mounted behind the pick-up system, which transfers the seedling from the container to the plowshare. Transplanting distance can be varied continuously from a computer. The transplanter is equipped with an electronic system fitted with an optical sensor to that allows it to recover from errors.

Self-Propelled Cable Yarding Carriage
by Greifenberg Teleferiche Sas
The carriage has pulleys on the right side to reduce wear on the skyline, making it simpler and quicker to mount the cable crane line, and to operate with cable lines even when horizontal. It also reduces the number of workers needed for lumber extraction squads.

The self-propelled carriage for a cable crane is powered by a diesel engine, a hydraulic transmission and radio control. The carriage has three pulleys, one of which is a power pulley, while the other two act as return pulleys for the skyline. There is also a lifting winch with a guide-cable. The driving pulley and the winch are powered by a variable-flow hydraulic transmission. The skyline is wrapped onto the driving pulley on an arc to guarantee adequate grip to allow the carriage to move on uphill or downhill slopes of up to 45 degrees. The carriage's functions are radio controlled by an operator with one in charge of loading and one in charge of unloading, reducing the amount of manpower needed.

Self-Priming Device or Centrifugal Pumps for Sprayers
by Hypro EU Ltd.
The device reduces priming time for centrifugal pumps to acceptable levels compatible with the need for high performance. It eliminates air from the intake circuit in the self-priming phase of a centrifugal pump applied to sprayers. It consists of a metal container divided into two chambers. The water sucked in by the pump is sent to the container where the air is separated out and discharged into the atmosphere. In this way, water without the air returns to the pump and is mixed with the intake water. The cycle continues until all the air has been expelled from the priming circuit. At this point, a valve cuts out the device and the water is dispatched to the sprayer's tank at a high rate. The device holds back some residual water to start the next cycle.

"7030" Series Tractor
by John Deere Italiana Srl
Assisted driving devices designed into the tractor guarantee greater working precision and driver comfort. This model is outfitted with parallel line automatic driving devices (iTecPro) to handle end of field maneuvers and to offset drift (iGuide) in mounted or towed equipment through curves and on sloping ground. The machine performs the operations fully automatically. Before beginning work in the field, the operator records the plot's boundaries, inputs the characteristics of the tractor and the equipment, and determines the driving trajectory. Once the parameters are set, the operator defines the repeated operations to be effected at the start and end of the field. For drift compensation, the system has two different levels that can be used independently. With the first, the tractor alone has a DGPS receiver and considers the tractor's position and the geometry of the linkage between tractor and equipment. With the second, another DGPS receiver is fitted to the tool and exchanges information with the one on the tractor to determine the relative position of tractor and equipment.

Flail Mower-Windrower for Mulching Grass Vineyards
by Nobili SpA
The mower-windrower handles both weed removal and mulching thanks to equipment that channels vegetable residue under the vines, reducing the use of herbicides. The mounted mower has a rotor fitted with the tools for cutting grass and shoots between the vine rows. The mown material is channeled to a hopper at the back of the machine, where there are two coaxial augers with spirals moving in opposite directions. They are turned by a chain transmission powered by a hydraulic motor linked to the tractor's hydraulic system. The augers transfer the chopped material on both sides of the machine, distributing it in the weeded strip along the row over a width of 30-40 cm. The speed of the augers can be regulated to keep the thickness of the deposited material constant according to the tractor's speed and the amount of grass growing in the row.

"Agrotron M 650 Natural Power" Tractor Engine
by Same Deutz-Fahr Italia Spa
Automatic injection management mixing two fuels (diesel and rape oil) directly optimizes the engine's performance when alternative fuels are used. The diesel tractor engine has an electronically managed fuel system that can handle both diesel and rape oil. When the engine is turned on and is idling, it uses diesel fuel. The electronic management system shifts to rape oil as a function of oil temperature or the engine load or both parameters, recognizing the engine's operating state without any interruption in the power level. The engine is guaranteed to work with pure rape oil according to DIN standard V 51605.

Multipurpose Seed Drill for Sod Seeding
by Tonutti SpA
Thanks to an original furrow opener, the seed drill ensures closure of the furrow without the need for any seed-covering device, even when crop residues are left on the ground. The towed pneumatic seed drill is outfitted with sowing elements mounted in groups of five on independent frames that follow the ground profile during planting. The machine's weight is distributed equally across the whole working front by each of the frames thanks to a hydraulic system. The sowing elements have winged furrow openers to cut into the soil, lift it and then let it fall back into place after the seed as been deposited between the two layers of soil, while fertilizer is inserted underneath. In this way, crop residues remain on the surface to protect the ground. Various types of seed metering systems can be added so that the machine can handle row-crop planting or grain drilling.


"Speedy Cut" Disc Mower-Conditioner
by Agriwork Srl
This disc mower-conditioner is outfitted with an automatic electronic device to regulate how pressure is exerted on the crop by the conditioner according to a threshold set by the operator. The pressure exerted by the roller is controlled automatically from a PLC. The roller pressure is regulated hydraulically via two jacks on the sides of the machine. Cutting height can be regulated hydraulically and the position of the mowing bar varied, even while mowing, but leaving it parallel to the ground.

"Turbodrop Td-Vr" Nozzle
by Agrotop Gmbh
The nozzle has an injector for the intake of air using the venturi principle and a second hole, ensuring variable flow, regulated by a sphere valve, which gives continuous flow variation within an ample range by varying the liquid's pressure. The nozzle's compactness means it can be mounted on a sprayer as a standard nozzle.

"Olive Two-Formula Trac" Olive Harvester
by Andreoli Engineering Srl
The machine produces a continuous harvest along the sides of the rows in a conventional olive grove, whether intensive or super-intensive, using a shaking system consisting of two pairs of beating poles on telescopic arms. Each pair of shakers is shaped like an oscillating brush with flexible spokes having a differentiated structure; these make an alternating angular oscillation round their own axis. Regulation of oil flow and the control console determine variations in the amplitude and frequency of the beating rods.

Round Bale Holder For Pick-Up Balers
by Caeb International Srl
This bale holder can be attached to a pick-up baler for prunings. It has a rectangular section with a curve toward the front of the machine so that it can contain 7 round bales above the pick-up baler. A front opens toward the baler and permits entry of the bales, which are positioned on a lift activated when the machine's main door opens. To unload the bales, a back gate is opened and unloading is aided by a hydraulic pusher.

"CR 9000" Combine Harvester
by CNH Italia SpA New Holland
This new combine comes with the OptiClean cleaning system, IntelliCruise flow control and Grain Cam grain quality monitor. OptiClean improves grain separation from the straw using a sieving hopper moving in the opposite direction to the preparation plane. IntelliCruise has a sensor to read the mass of incoming material in the machine's elevator channel and regulates the combine's speed automatically as a function of the harvest volume. Grain Cam makes it possible to monitor grain cleanliness and quality in real-time.

Multipurpose Cultivator
by C.S.F. Srl
This mechanical protection device can be added to a self-propelled compact machine and consists of a steel bar placed to the left of the driver's seat. Thanks to an appropriate pivot, it rotates clockwise toward the rear of the machine to let the driver through. Once it has been lowered into the working position, it forms an integral part of the driver's protection structure. Once the driver has released it, the system has a gas shock absorber so that the device is opened independently without any further input from the driver.

"Triplex" Inter-Row Cultivator
by Galfre' Domenico & C. Snc
This mounted cultivator is aimed at orchard and vineyard applications. It includes 3 working sections: a device for working between plants with an arm, whose height can be regulated, fitted with blades rotating on a vertical axis; a rotary cultivator with a series of blades rotating on a horizontal axis; and a ridger consisting in an auger conveyor. In a single pass, the machine can till the soil on the rows as well as between the plants and build it up into a berm. The 3 operations can also be carried out singly thanks to a system for disengaging the devices not required.

Counter-Espalier Vine Pruning Equipment
by I.ME.CA Snc
This machine is designed to work on counter-espalier vines trained in various ways. It has a head with two counter-posed cutting bars and two extractors mounted on a frame. The latter removes the cut shoots from the bars to simplify later operations on the vines. The cutting bar teeth are designed to stop the shoots slipping and make it easy for them to be cut. Once pruned, the shoots are picked up by the extraction system using two shafts rotating in opposite directions that channel them down to the ground toward the center of the row.

"W, T, C And S" Series Combine Harvesters
by John Deere Italiana Srl
These combines are outfitted with a package of "i" solutions, including AutoTrac, HarvestSmart, Harvest Monitor and ProDrive, to increase performance and reduce operating costs. AutoTrac is a satellite-based automatic driving system using the entire width of the cutting bar. HarvestSmart controls forward speed that is determined by the harvest volume, and Harvest Monitor gathers information on the harvest. ProDrive is a continuously variable transmission using a power shift gear change, automatic differential bloc and braking units with automatic insertion of the parking brake.

"I" Package For Forage Harvesters
by John Deere Italiana Srl
This "i" package for forage harvesters includes AutoLOC to provide automatic regulation of cutting length, promoting optimal compaction of the product within the trench. HarvestLab has a sensor on the discharge chute that uses NIR technology to determine the dry content of the product. IVLOC has sensors measuring product flow, which allows AutoLOC to vary cutting length appropriately. The GS 2600 display has a touch screen so that the operator can set up all machine functions in an intuitive and user-friendly way.

"7530 E-Premium" Series Tractor
by John Deere Italiana Srl
The tractor has an integrated system for the production and distribution of electrical power (20 kW). A generator linked to the engine shaft provides electrical power to work accessories otherwise powered mechanically by the engine. This permits independent engine control according to need, with an increase in efficiency and fuel saving. The generator can also power external machines through DC at 12 V/300 A and monophase AC at 220 V, 5 kW or triphase at 400 V, 5 kW to work farm equipment.

"Manitrac" Telehandler
by Manitou Costruzioni Industriali Srl
This telehandler, with a centrally mounted telescopic arm has its pivot in front of the cab. The driver's seat is placed centrally, raised and shifted toward the back of the machine to give improved back and side visibility. Compared to traditional models, the machine is further off the ground, and the cab can be accessed from either side.

"Eco Power Drive" For "Farmer" Telehandlers
by Merlo SpA Industria Metalmeccanica
This system has an electronic control system for the combined management of the hydraulic transmission and diesel engine of a telehandler. It's designed to optimize the machine in terms of fuel consumption and performance while also reducing the noise level. The system consists of an electronic control unit that simultaneously operates the transmission and diesel engine, managing the cylinder size of the hydraulic pump and engine and the diesel engine's RPMs to achieve the required speed or maintain the set speed independently of operating conditions.

"S.T.E." Side Anti-slipping System for Grape Harvesters
by Olmi Snc & Di Olmi Franco & Figli
The system is applicable to towed or self-propelled grape harvesters and consists of metal discs mounted near and externally to the harvester's wheels. They can be activated from the driver's seat by means of hydraulic jacks controlling their vertical movement. The device makes it possible to keep the machine on course compared to the row. The metal discs move in a synchronized fashion and dig into the ground, stopping the tires from slipping sideways when operating on a slope.

Trailer Unloading Device
by O.M.B. Officine Meccaniche Bovesane Srl
This mobile trailer freight surface uses a mechanical system of levers and cranks run from the tractor's PTO to move aluminum spars in multiples of three positions beneath rubber strips. These shift the loose material forming the trailer's load to the back for unloading. The surface is designed so that the spars move together, taking strips and the material with them as they shift it backwards, while they return toward the front individually, leaving the material in its advanced position.

Semiactive Cab Shock Absorbers
by Same Deutz-Fahr Italia SpA
The system uses magneto-rheological technology in shock absorbers, employing a 'smart' fluid that changes its viscosity in reaction to a magnetic field. The application of power to a coil generates a magnetic field that causes an increase in the fluid's viscosity, creating greater resistance to its flow through the shock absorbers' channels. In this way, the absorption coefficient, and hence the level of dissipation ensured can be varied continuously and with short reaction times. A central device controls the system so shock absorber behavior can be adapted to working conditions.

Fertilizer Flow Rate Adjustment Terminal
by Same Deutz-Fahr Italia SpA
The integrated interface and GPS control system for vineyard tractors is designed to ensure precision distribution of fertilizers. A terminal allows the operator to use satellite maps loaded on a flash CD also containing the dosage for the various areas of the vineyard. This serves to control appropriately integrated equipment for optimal management of the tractor and equipment and the products distributed.