Cat wheeled feller buncher

Cat wheeled feller buncher machine, sometimes also referred to as a round baler, is a type of round baler used to produce bales of harvested crop. These machines are usually provided with mechanisms to bind the harvested crop into square or rectangular shaped bales. A cylinder rotatably drives an opposing screw conveyor. Rotating the cylinder is equivalent to advancing the screw conveyor and the mechanism for bale formation binds the harvested crop. When crop is harvested that has not been previously bound, it has traditionally been carried to a baling site and bound into a square shape by farm machinery. The traditional method can be very time consuming and labor intensive.

The use of a wheeled feller buncher is one of the simplest and most effective methods of reducing the volume of harvested crop that is stored as “windrows.” This volume of stored crop requires time and labor to gather and transport the crop to a square bale forming site.

The baler that forms the crop into a bale is a cylindrical, open ended, contner. Typically, it is a hollow tube of a flexible woven mesh netting. These tubes are sometimes referred to as “the baler”. A cylindrical reel or screw conveyor is located at the rear of the baler. This reel, rotatably driven by a belt, causes crop to be delivered from a feed roll and passes it over, into and through the tubular baler. The rotatable nature of the roll causes the crop to engage, gather and twist around the cylindrical inner surface. The screw conveyor is positioned parallel to the interior surface of the tubular baler and has an opposing, helically sloped screw that continues over, into and through the hollow center tube and towards the opposite end. The helically sloped screw causes the crop to twist as it is gathered. The twist in the crop is further increased when it is tumbled between the cylindrical inner surface of the tubular baler and the helically sloped, outer, surface of the screw conveyor.

The baler may have a plurality of bale chambers, one behind the other and separated by a partition. As the roll, screw conveyor and bale chambers rotate, the crop gathers, twists and tumbles as described. When a predetermined amount of crop accumulates, a bale can be formed. Typically, a knotter- or wire-tying head is mounted on a shaft parallel to the end of the screw conveyor. The shaft and tying head are connected to a mechanism that drives a shaft and a knotted or wrapped tying material into the formed bale.

In the manufacture of round bales, the baler is run at a high speed, for example, 800 rpm or more. During the twisting process, the amount of crop per unit time and the distance it is twisted increases. As the crop gets twisted, it gathers in the bale chambers. The crop is twisted more as it approaches the tying head. The crop is twisted enough at the point where it leaves the screw conveyor to form a knot or a tie that can then be tied by the tying head. The speed and amount of twist must be controlled to maximize the quantity of crop that is twisted and thus accumulated in the bale chambers. If the screw speed is increased to increase the speed of twist, crop that is tumbling in the bale chambers is not tumbled as fast as it is being twisted, and the amount of crop accumulated in the bale chambers decreases. In some instances, not enough crop will accumulate to form a bale. To prevent this, some farmers have cut the bale chamber length and run at a lower screw speed, sacrificing production to achieve the desired production.

Attempts have been made to reduce the time and distance the crop is twisted. One known solution is to place a roller (i.e., a roller that is rotating and contacting the screw and/or the bale chambers) along the screw from the baler exit port to the baler tying head. In theory, this roller should be positioned as close as possible to the tying head so that it is in contact with the crop as it approaches the tying head. The closer the roller is to the tying head, the faster the crop is tumbled.

In an effort to speed up the timing of the twist, the bale chambers are made from steel. The steel walls increase the speed of the twist. However, the steel bale chamber is hard, brittle, and difficult to service and repr. To reduce mntenance and repr costs, farmers have switched from steel to plastic bale chambers. Plastic bale chambers are more flexible and reprable.

As described above, a bale is formed by first gathering crop in the bale chambers, and then the bales are tied. In the case of the bales being tied by the tying head, the bales are twisted as they exit the baler, being tied as they emerge from the baler. Because the twists of the bales are aligned in a manner that is perpendicular to the direction of travel, the twists are more or less aligned with the baler exit port. That is, the twists are generally aligned laterally across the baler.

The lateral orientation of the twist may or may not be advantageous. For example, if the baler is to deliver a bale for immediate use, the longer it takes to produce a bale, the greater the value of any increased output. This is true because it is most valuable to farmers to be able to begin baling and to commence earning revenue immediately. Thus, if the production of bales is the bottleneck in baling, reducing the time that a bale is twisted in order to achieve a desired output increases the net revenue. On the other hand, if the bale twist is merely an aesthetic preference, then it may be the case that farmers choose balers in which the twist is not aligned with the baler exit port. In this way, they can enjoy the aesthetics of a twisterless bale while retning the value increase afforded by a faster baling process.

It will be appreciated that, depending on the baler design, the twist and twisting head, and the bale design and composition, the twist may, or may not be desirable. It may or may not be a problem, or, alternatively, it may be a desired feature.

As stated, balers have been developed which include a twister. A twister is typically a mechanical assembly disposed on the outside of the baler which effects the lateral orientation of the twist on the bale. For example, an auger or screw conveyor may be employed in combination with a hydraulic system that serves to propel the bale towards the baler exit port. The hydraulic system may include cylinders and the auger or screw conveyor may be driven by the cylinders.

One baler design which uses a twister is the conventional round baler. As is well known, conventional round balers include one or more horizontally disposed rolls which serve to form a roll of twine or rope around a bale as it is being formed. The baler typically twists the rope, however, in the event that the twist does not occur, the rope ends up wrapped around the b

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