Home Applications Grape harvesting machine



Key words : Co-development, strict mission statement, high performance requirements, confine space, difficult machine constraint, performance improvement, France, Italy



Starting point :

To develop its new machine, our customer gave complete freedom to its team members. Rather than optimizing an existing machine, they decide to imagine an “ideal” machine with the highest harvesting quality and comfort of use. The technical solutions found by the engineering department were innovative and unique.


Customer overall objectives :

- Improve machine performance

- Meet new vehicle emission standards (Tier-3)

- Reduce fuel consumption

- Facilitate the machine operation and settings

Machine à vendanger


Constraints :

- Electronic controlled motor

- Use of a CAN technology to automatically adapt the rotational speed of the combustion engine

- Enhance hydraulic performances

- Closely link Hydraulics and Electronics by proportional controls


FLUIDESIGN was asked to work on the two last constraints and mainly on the hydrostatic transmission which is a considerable energy consumer.


Strict requirement specifications :

- Compact transmission block (restricted space)

- Limited loss to reduce fuel consumption

- Low electric consumption by the hydraulic functions controllers

- Optimized machine behavior and response time

That can perform very demanding environment (dust, vibrations, etc.)



The Fluidesign answers:

 STEP 1 - Study : Implementation of a creative architecture

 - The custom design is necessary: No standard answer, no possibilities to assemble already existing elements.

 - FLUIDESIGN designs a very compact block with integrated spools, not a cartridge type which would have more losses and take more space.

From the start, the design takes into account the losses and the response time. Each steps taken from the inception ensure an optimized routing (casting) and a smooth spool movement.


The block is directly flanged on the pump to minimize connections and hosing.


All the following options are integrated in the block:

- Management of the grape harvesting Noria system which synchronizes the speed of the bucket chain to the speed of the machine in order to avoid damage to the vine.

- Management of the two spool transmission lines to improve machine maneuverability and turning radius.

- An oil exchange system with flow control.

High operating pressure of 505 bars and flowrate of 300 l/m.

The casting is realized to optimize fluid routing and to be compact.


STEP 2 - Simulation : validation phase

As part of the design process, the FLUIDESIGN tools ensure the best technical choices as the simulation validates the operation of the block and its performances before manufacturing. The flow and the fluid mechanics inside the block are analyzed and the components sizing are performed accordingly.

The simulation also enables to study precisely the behaviors of the hydraulics and the machine in different situation of usage, including the extreme cases (in ascent, descent, hillside, emergency braking, behaviors while loss of grip, etc.) 


STEP 3 - Manufacturing of custom block for limited series

FLUIDESIGN developed the block for an average of 300 parts per year.

Steadiness in manufacturing, without return in 4 years for design problem.



Customer's benefits

A new different and unique Harvesting Machine on the market.

Less hoses connections on high pressure (HP hoses are expensive and hard to connect)

Effective fuel economy of 30% at the same power, in part due to optimized hydraulics.