There’s no mistake the shortline manufacturers serving agriculture are innovators. These companies take risks to bring out new approaches for all levels of farming. Kinze is often counted in that list of innovators, and for the 2019 planting season, that reputation will stick. For the National Farm Machinery Show, set for Wednesday to Saturday in Louisville, Ky., the company is launching new planter technology — and for the first time, the company is entering the tillage business.
Agritechnica visitors got an early look at the new planter technology developed in the company’s North Liberty, Iowa, Electronics Division, which opened its doors in 2014. Kinze Electronics gives the company “circuit-board-level” design capability, says Phil Jennings, service manager, Kinze. And that’s paying off with the launch of the new Blue Vantage display, which will be linked to the new Blue Drive electric planter drive.
But why get into the monitor business? Jennings points to a key part of the Kinze culture — the company is vertically integrated, often making many of its own parts. For example, the company has long made its own hydraulic cylinders. “Eighty-plus percent of what we market is built here internally,” Jennings points out. “Our need for our technology components is no different. We demand innovation specific to Kinze products from a control functionality, and we needed to do that ourselves to get the level of detail needed.”
The detail offered in the new Blue Vantage display includes a new level of performance in planter monitor control. The Kinze Electronics team took the user interface to heart, and solved a key issue — speed to start. “When you power up the display, it will give you an indication that this system is on; you push three buttons and you can be planting,” Jennings explains. This fast-to-plant monitor wants the operator to make sure to check the items critical to function. The planter status bar shows a very quick check, and you’re off and running.
The system works with the Blue Drive electric planter drive, which is also new to market. The two are paired, and this is a new product. Jennings says that this is not a system you can currently use to upgrade an existing planter. Kinze is taking a totally new approach to the wiring, control and implementation of the system.
“You’re familiar with the Cat 5 network cable that you plug into your computer? That’s what we’re using across the width of the planter,” Jennings says. “This is proven technology that’s out there every day. It’s reliable out of the gate.”
The new monitor links to the planter using a simple network cable you string into the cab. And the monitor is designed to be portable, so you can remove it to take it in to the office, or you can grab data using a memory stick. “We’re saving information in industry-standard file types for use with any software,” Jennings says.
The Blue Vantage display and Blue Drive are developed from the circuit board up to work together. This is the first major commercial product out of the North Liberty electronics operation; earlier, that office released an advanced planter test stand for dealers. And Jennings says it’s just the start.
The new display and drive will be available for the 2019 planting season on the 4900 and 3660 planters, and both machines are on display at the National Farm Machinery Show this week.
NEW TO TILLAGE: Kinze is branching out for 2018 with the launch of its first tillage tool — the high-speed Mach Till, which includes four models.
Joining the tillage market
While Kinze is ramping up its high-tech products game, the company is also branching out beyond planters and grain carts with a new high-speed disk tillage line. Called the Mach Till, there are four models — the 201, 261, 331 and 401 — in the lineup.
As farmers look at higher-speed tillage for mixing and sizing residues, they can turn to Kinze for a solution. The new product line is based on a Canadian design produced by Degelman Industries that has been licensed to Kinze to build at its plant in Williamsburg, Iowa. One of the first models — the Mach Till 331 — will be on hand at the National Farm Machinery Show.
The units are heavily built for high-speed — 8 to 12 mph — work, and for high capacity. The machines are also designed for simple setup and have maintenance-free parts. The tools work in various soil types and can provide fall primary tillage and residue management; the tool can also be used for spring secondary tillage and seedbed preparation.
Susanne Veatch, Kinze president and chief marketing officer, notes that the new line supports farmer interest in faster tillage to stay ahead of the planter. “Farmers will now be able to obtain three types of equipment from their Kinze dealer, all with the same standard of quality,” she says.
Veatch says that the tillage products will be available from Kinze dealers in the United States and Canada, as well as for export customers in Eastern Europe and Russia. Products for the new tillage line will be available beginning this fall. You can learn more about the new tillage tools, the Blue Vantage display and the Blue Drive by visiting kinze.com.