The agricultural sector is undergoing significant changes and is modernising. To take the strain off farmers, many robots are being developed to automate tasks. What specific technical characteristics should ag machinery manufacturers take into account to assist farmers?

New Drive Developments for Autonomous Agriculture Technology
New Drive Developments for Autonomous Agriculture Technology

Article from | maxon group

Cobotisation: the new reality for farmers

Autonomous and remotely controllable agricultural machines are becoming part of the day-to-day lives of more and more farmers. The sector has entered an era of human/robot collaboration, called cobotisation. These new types of machines are true production assistants and require a particularly resistant motor unit that is just as innovative as the machines that it operates.

This human/robot collaboration for agriculture is also an opportunity for growers to use fewer plant protection products. Thanks to its sensors and motor unit, the agricultural robot can also adapt to ground conditions. They are already showing tremendous progress in seeding and weeding. Today, agriculture is the world’s third largest market for professional robotics, behind industry and logistics.


IP65 protection rating

A European protection standard dedicated to electrical equipment, IP65 guarantees that it is protected against the infiltration of liquid or solid materials. This is a determining factor in equipment safety. The standard version of IDX motors has an IP65 protection rating. This means that the robot’s motor is waterproof and airtight.

The IP65 protection rating (the first digit is for solids, and the second digit is for liquids) therefore guarantees that the motor is not susceptible to corrosion due to water infiltration or to damage from seeds or dust. To ensure this, drive motor manufacturers, as in other sectors, rely on IEC standard 60529 for proper testing.

maxon IDX compact drive


However, it is well known that a motor is never completely impermeable. It therefore requires additional protection. To achieve this, the maxon Group has developed compact drives. Reducing the motor size makes it possible to include the motor unit, encoder, brake, and electronic components part in the same casing. The process provides increased resistance to water or dust infiltration. However, the motor will not withstand immersion. In addition, having a compact motor – which is therefore already packaged – is a plus for manufacturers. It means that they do not have to initiate an additional study to design a specific casing.


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High performance and competitiveness

Agriculture faces substantial productivity challenges. Agricultural machines, and in particular automatic seeders, require sustainable performance, because farmers can’t take the time to call maintenance service every day or even several times a day. Their machines must therefore be dependable. To achieve this, manufacturers need to have confidence in the motor units of the equipment that they design and offer on the market.

At maxon, innovations are now making it possible to combine mandatory standards, the IP65 protection rating, safety, and performance of motors.


A more compact, more efficient motor unit than competitors

Agricultural machines can benefit from motor units that improve their overall profitability, particularly with regard to seeding. The brushless IDX compact drive, with a positioning controller, allows for automatic adjustment and more power. It is also IP65-certified, guaranteeing its protection.


A machine that can be remotely controlled thanks to communication buses for easier maintenance

The communication buses enable the motor driver and the onboard computer – or automated system – to communicate in real time. This makes it possible to control agricultural equipment remotely. As a result, information is more visible and day-to-day maintenance by farmers themselves is easier. They can also benefit from predictive maintenance to avoid breakdowns. As a result, they enjoy significant savings in repairing their agricultural machines/robots, increasing their productivity and profitability.


Maximum safety thanks to dual temperature sensors

With most motors currently on the market, temperature sensors are outside the motor. This leads to overheating and delays in its securing and consequently risks of fire. To counter this, IDX motor units have two internal temperature sensors in the two areas: the motor itself and the electronics area. Therefore, if a problem is detected, the motor immediately goes into a safety mode without giving the entire casing time to heat up.



The IDX motor can easily replace existing solutions, because it adapts to the flange. There is therefore no need to change all the equipment in order to obtain more power and better performance. For farmers, this represents welcome savings, while fundamentally changing the way they produce, to improve productivity with less effort.

The robustness and compactness of IDX motors combine with a motor equipped with an integrated electronics system. This allows farmers to switch to farming 4.0 mode more easily and at a controlled cost.

The maxon Group has always been attentive to the needs of its industrial customers. It designs powerful drive motors that comply with standards and contribute fundamental technological advances.


The content & opinions in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of AgriTechTomorrow

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