Potential and Improvement of Maintenance Efficiency of Agricultural PTO Shafts by a New Digital Maintenance Assistant

Fredrik Regler, Franz Hausmann, Max Krüger, Heinz Bernhardt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Power take-off (PTO) shafts are widely used in agricultural machinery to directly power implements with the tractor’s engine. While the operating conditions such as dirt, weather, peak loads and utilization greatly influence a PTO shaft’s lifetime, proper maintenance, especially lubrication, is necessary for an appropriate operation and maximum lifetime. Hence, this paper evaluates the potential for saving resources during maintenance by using a digital maintenance assistant. To simulate and study the cost of PTO shafts for agricultural implements, an investigation of the lubrication process of PTO shafts was carried out on several test farms. In practice, two extremes are common: Either far too much grease is used for best possible lubrication, or the PTO shaft is not lubricated at all. To simulate the annual cost of maintenance, three scenarios were calculated and compared: “Maintenance before usage” and “no maintenance” as extreme scenarios and “maintenance according to the manufacturer’s specifications” by a digital maintenance assistant as an optimum scenario. The simulation of different maintenance scenarios shows a reduction in maintenance costs of up to 93.8%, an average reduction of lubricants by 86.3% and an average labor time reduction by 81.8% for the case of “maintenance according to the manufacturer’s specifications”. The results of this work show that there is potential for major savings using a digital maintenance assistant. This development could be the first step towards the digitalization of maintenance activities on agricultural farms.

Original languageEnglish
Article number227
JournalAgriculture (Switzerland)
Volume13
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2023

Keywords

  • PTO shaft
  • digitization
  • maintenance
  • optimization
  • smart farming

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