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Farmers Invent Axial Flow Combine
Two Kansas farmers, fed up with the high maintenance cost of conventional combines, have invented, patented and built their own axial flow machine.
FARM SHOW first featured the new machine, developed by Ralph Lagergren and Mark Underwood, back in 1986 (Vol. 10, No. 3) when the design was first patented and before anything had been built. The two men, who farm near Burr Oak, Kan., have worked on the project ever since - with the help of Dr. Stanley Clark, head of ag engineering at Kansas State University.
To test the idea, the men first built a stationary model at KSU. After a couple years experimentation, they went to phase two, gutting an existing machine (a Case/IH 1480) and installing the revolutionary new "bi-rotor" system. "So far we've tested it in wheat, corn, milo and soybeans and it worked so well we're moving into the final development phase - building a combine from the ground up using all our patented ideas. We will end up with a much smaller machine with 50% less moving parts that will hope-fully cost much less. Everything will be new from the feederhouse and back," explains Lagergren, who has raised some $200,000 from private investors to help fund the machine's development.
Main feature of the new combine is the "Bi-Rotor" 360 cylinder and concave (pictured). The concave cage, covered with holes, turns in the same direction as the threshing cylinder inside of it but at a slower speed. Because grain is threshed over the 360? surface, the Bi-Rotor is just 4 ft. long, compared to the 8 to 10-ft. length of cylinders in other rotary machines.
Lagergren says the shorter length of the cylinder means straw doesn't get ground up as much, so cleaning efficiency of the straw walkers and sieves is improved. Another special design feature of the machine is that it vents chaff out the side of the combine before it ever reaches the shoe, improving the work of the chaffers.
Contact FARM SHOW Followup, Mark Underwood, Box 128, Burr Oak, Kan. 66936 (ph 817 847-9446 or 913 647-6971).

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1992 - Volume #16, Issue #1