Krone and Lemken reveal a farm vehicle to replace tractor power

Now fully tested on the full array of Krone and Lemken implements these power units can push and pull their way through any farm application

The seemingly simple design of the Krone and Lemken autonomous power plant is just that – a unit to power all farm implements with electric power the built-in wheel drive of choice

In a surprise move Krone and Lemken have jumped the gun on many current tractor makers by putting their combined technical knowledge into knocking up a 170kW (230hp) power unit capable of replacing a farm tractor, and with no operator on board.

This foray into farm mechanization is known as the Combined Powers project and it does place the two firms in a unique position of offering a power unit that will be able to run their full implement range.

For initial trails a 170kW (230hp) four-cylinder MTU diesel engine has been selected to power electric motors that drive all four wheels up to a steady speed of 20kph.

In the future as other power sources come on-line it is most probable that diesel power will be replaced by a more renewable source, such is the seemingly simple design of the Krone and Lemken autonomous power plant.

Operators are being offered a future without mechanical pto or hydraulic systems and instead a source of pure clean electric power for all farm implement – Lemken’s Azurit drill is right at home

And while this initial unit would be best described as a cabless, four-wheel-steer implement carrier, it has all the credentials that a small to medium farm needs to operate a wide array of implements.

Under trial conditions, Krone stumped up both a 4m mower and 9m rake for a result equal to any tractor model in the same power range, while more medium paced Lemken 3m cultivators and drills were a breeze for the autonomous power plant.

And while the trial unit has a pto shaft and full provision for implements to be attached to a conventional three-point linkage system, it will only be a simple design change to run electric powered attachments any time soon.

The drive unit hosts multiple and extensive sensors in a system that monitors the immediate surroundings and the implement attached – ideal for working this Krone Vendro rake while avoiding obstacles

And with both Krone and Lemken already working on more efficient implements to run on electric power, this autonomous power plant starts to make a great deal of sense.

Small and medium farms will be able to buy Krone and Lemken implements along with the power source to run them, all in the one transaction.

Did we mention there is no onboard operator, so there is no need for a cab, and like all autonomous power plants it relies on a series of sensors that survey the surrounds to make sure the way ahead is clear.

Such is the number of autonomous farm vehicles in production that one of the noticeable upgrades being offered is from the initial base station remote signal control to a monitoring system now operated from any mobile phone or tablet.

For the initial trial unit Krone and Lemken have kept the implement attachment system simple and built it in the parameters of an ISOBUS and Tractor Implement Management (TIM) operation.

With the implement communicating with the drive unit, it allows the implement to relay the desired work speed and linkage position back to the power unit that in turn adjusts the engine speed to suit.

This is what has been achieved so far, successful trials in cultivating, ploughing, sowing, mowing, tedding and raking throughout 2021 and early 2022. With the final integration of the largest forage harvesting and tillage systems of the two companies tested up until the end of 2022.

And as the final trials are expected to confirm, Krone and Lemken have developed an autonomous farm vehicle that will be used as the power source for any farm implement.

See the video of the trials on this link.

Highly detailed view of vehicle and implement in operation