1991 - Volume #15, Issue #4, Page #21[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Add On Vacuum Pickup Sucks Up Seed On Ground
Ben Kambeitz, Richmound, Sask., got the idea during several tough, dry years when grain crops in his area were extremely short and difficult to get into the combine. All of his grain is swathed and then harvested with a pickup header. "In 1989 and 90 we had short, light crops. The pickup just pushed them around, leaving shattered grain and wheat heads all over the ground. We had to come up with a way to salvage that grain. My vacuum attachment picks up 65 percent of wheat on the ground and does an even better job on lighter weight seed like. grasses."
The attachment consists of two large 7-bladed fans, taken from Cummins diesel truck engines, and mounted side by side in a housing between the combine wheels. The fans are positioned 6 or 7 in. above the ground. A rubber "skirt" hangs from the bottom of the fan housing down to the ground.
A large-holed screen mounts below the blades, keeping rocks and other large debris out. The fans rotate in opposite directions, driven hydraulically (or by belt off the feederhouse) by a single V-belt with a "twist" in it. Material picked up is delivered to a 22-in. blower, which is housed in a screen that allows dust to escape. The blower then propells crop material up a large 16-in. dia. pipe that dumps the sucked-up grain and straw onto one end of the platform auger, which then carries material to the feeder-house.
"One concern I had in building the unit was that the fan blades would crack grain but straw and other debris seems to provide a cushion so that only about 5 percent of grain picked up gets cracked," says Kambeitz. "It works like a lawnmower, sucking up clippings. The counter rotating fans blow material into the second blower, creating enough negative pressure at the inlet to keep grain from settling out. Centrifugal force in the second blower forces dust out the screen built into the housing. There's also a screen in the elbow of the tube that carries grain up to the platform."
Kambeitz, who is still refining his prototype, says he's tried powering the add-on vacuum both with hydraulics and by V-belt.
Hydraulics works better, he says, because it allows you to vary speed of the fans, adjusting to changing conditions.
Width of the attachment is about 40 in., matching the width of his combine swaths. Kambeitz notes that width could be in-creased on a straight-cut header by adding additional blowers or using larger fans. "I think this attachment would work great for picking up shattered soybeans. The problem would be building it wide enough to cover the full width of the header," he notes.
The vacuum unit raises and lowers with the header so Kambeitz says there's no problem raising it as needed to clear obstacles.
He's applied for a patent and is negotiating with a manufacturer.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Ben Kambeitz, Box 93, Richmound, Sask. S0N 2E0 Canada (ph 306 669-2154).
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