1988 - Volume #12, Issue #2, Page #28[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Vibration Analyzer Balances CombineEliminating vibrations caused by unbalanced cylinders, straw choppers or other components on your combine helps reduce wear and tear on both the equipment and the operator, according to electronic balancing expert Dave Lucke, Spokane, Wash.
"Some combines vibrate so heavily you can hardly sit in the seat. In most cases we can eliminate vibration by making some quick adjustments," says Lucke who balances hundreds of combines every year, working through combine dealers through-out the Northwest. The basic tool of the trade is a "vibration analyzer, an electronic monitor that's able to sense irregularities in nearly any piece of rotating equipment. Lucke operates an on-farm balancing service and also sells do-it-yourself balancing equipment to farmers and dealers.
Lucke says anyone with a little mechanical ability can operate a vibration analyzer. "They're easy to use but experience helps. Because I've worked on so many combines, I can fix most problems quickly without much experimentation. It takes a while to really get good at it," he says.
The most common complaints on combines involve cylinders and straw choppers. Lucke says some combines tend to have more problems than others, but he's worked on nearly every make and model, including rotaries. He can analyze the machine in the field without dismantling it in any way. He simply attaches sensors to the equipment being analyzed and then measures the vibration level. On a combine cylinder, for example, he might put a sensor on each end of the unit and then balance it by adding weights to either end as needed, or drilling small holes to subtract weight.
Straw choppers can be a problem in the Northwest where big wheat yields come with lots of straw. As choppers begin to wear, they can become unbalanced. "Many dealers like to balance machines when new and then every 200 to 900 hrs., as needed. Keeping high-wear equipment like straw choppers well-balanced also tends to re-duce wear," Lucke notes. He says his maximum charge to analyze and eliminate combine vibration is $150 per machine. If a dealer lines up enough jobs in a particular area, the charge may be less.
Lucke also uses vibration analyzers to predict maintenance on engines. By measuring vibration levels on big engines, he says he's able to help schedule engine work.
Lucke's vibration analyzers, manufactured by IRD Mechanalysis, sell for $4,600 to $12,000. He also sells reconditioned analyzers starting at about $3,000.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Dave Lucke, Balancing Service Co., P.O. Box 3311, Spokane, Wash. 99220 (ph 509 325-2323 or 326-2599).
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