Robotic Fabricating Changes Farm Equipment Repair and Customization
It might go against our preconceived idea of the hands-in-the-soil farm worker, but over the last decade, the American farmer has gone high-tech. GPS-unit-controlled tractors, computer-automated spraying, and CNC machine manufacturing are just three of the ways that farmers are squeezing out more productivity and increasing efficiencies by harnessing technology.
My expertise is with CNC (Computer-numeric-controlled) automation, and how it allows farms to repair, customize or fabricate the machinery they need to plow or harvest their crops quickly and efficiently on-site. Here are three ways a CNC machine can save farmers and farm repair shops time and money:
• Tractor Repair: The all-metal bodies and straight-forward design of tractors make them uniquely suited for quick and efficient CNC repair. The machines excel at fabricating suspension and steering components, engine mounts, brackets and trick tabs. The versatility of the automated machinery allows a farmer to replace metal parts by using existing parts as templates, beef up existing components, or fabricate new custom components. The machine allows farmers to repair equipment on the spot, and continue working without long periods of downtime.
• Attachment Repair and Customization: The variety of tillers, furrowers, seeders and harvesting attachments that a tractor uses can fill a farmyard. Each of these metal attachments gets dragged through fields for hours on end each day and often requires simple repairs that can be accomplished with a welder and a CNC machine in a matter of minutes. The attachments can also easily be customized with the machine to make them work for specific fields or specific crops.
For farmers who work in short weather windows, intense harvest seasons, and critical seeding timeframes, the quick turnaround on equipment repair is not just a convenience; it is imperative to a successful crop harvest. A fabricating machine gives peace of mind to know that farmers can handle most repairs in-house, so they can keep their equipment in the field, not in the maintenance yard or mechanic shop.
Farm equipment repair shops find that an in-house CNC machine allows them to deliver quick and customized repairs without waiting for parts to be ordered and shipped.
• Farm Fabricating: Some farm jobs require custom solutions. A tractor or truck might need a specialized hitch or custom side rails. A loader may need a custom mount or an alteration to its bucket. The farm may need metal fencing, metal signs, sturdy animal pens or cattle chutes. A CNC machine with CAD software, allows a ranch hand or farmer to build anything he can dream up and design. The machines are particular useful for off-season maintenance work, repairs and upgrades. In the dead of winter, farmers can prepare for next season by upgrading equipment, building new equipment or designing and fabricating upgrades to the farm or ranch.