Engineers at Pottinger are testing a "new concept" for its (silage) rakes.

They have replaced the traditional 'jockey wheel' on a rotary rake with a so-called 'glide bar' (pictured above and below).

The idea is that the (plastic) 'glide bar' tracks the entire surface of the ground close to where the tines are working - apparently leading to better contour-following than when using a wheel.

In fact, claims Pottinger, the 'glide bar' comes into a class of its own on wet and peaty soils (where a 'jockey wheel' can leave deep marks or ruts).

A spokesperson explained: "The wheels used to support rotors [on silage rakes] are configured in various ways. Different machines use different numbers of wheels - fitted at different locations.

The new 'glide bar', which we call Flowtast, is made from a wear-resistant plastic. Its shape delivers the best gliding characteristics - even when moving sideways.

"The 'glide bar' - fitted to one of our Top 842 C rotary rakes - tracks the ground along the full raking arc of each tine."

He added: "The suspension properties of the 'glide bar' allow a higher driving speed - by approximately 10%. Thanks to lower vibration and smoother running the rake is subject to less wear.

"Downtime is reduced, because repairs to worn or bent 'jockey wheels' are no longer needed."

Growth at Pottinger

In related news, Pottinger increased its turnover by 8% this year - to a new high of €382 million. That's according to its most recent financial statement (covering the 2018/2019 financial year).

It attributes this result to its 1,892 employees.

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Equipment destined for the grassland sector accounted for 69% of machine sales. The tillage sector (including seed drills) accounted for 31%.

90% of turnover is accounted for by exports (outside Austria – the company’s home market).