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On The Go Straw Wafering Machine
A revolutionary new straw "wafering" machine made its public debut at the Royal Show. It has two big "die wheel" drums that compress straw into 2 by 4-in. wafers about an inch thick.
Developed by the British Society of Research in Agricultural Engineering, a public-funded research outfit that licenses its inventions to private businesses, the machine is fitted with its own 6-cyl. turbo-charged engine to power the wafer drums, the conveyor that feeds the drums, and the unloading conveyor that carries the wafers to a trailing wagon or truck. The pto on the pulling tractor provides power to the straw pickup and the "precompactor" ahead of the drums.
The 4-ft. dia. main rolls are driven by large, intermeshing ring gears mounted on top of each roll. Four low-speed, high torque hydraulic motors provide the power. The rolls turn at a speed of 5 rpm's to produce 5 to 6 tons of wafers per hour. Speed can be regulated easily using electronic controls on the engine-mounted hydraulic pumps. Other components, such as the feed and unload conveyors, are also hyraulic-powered and can be controlled manually.
The dense straw wafers take up only a fraction of the space required for straw bales and they can be much more easily used as a source of fuel once they're condensed. Mike Neale and John Reed, engineers on the project, say the machine took 18 mos. to design and build. They tested it in the field for the first time in 1988 and they're doing furthur testing this season.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, BSRAE, Wrest Park, Silsoe, Bedford MK45 4HS (ph 0525 60000).

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1989 - Volume #13, Issue #5