Forage Harvester Cutting Systems
The job of a forage harvester is simply to chop a crop such as corn into animal feed. As such, the cutting system is the heart of the machine and the measure of its effectiveness. The self-propelled versions of these machines cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. The longer the cutting system remains sharp and efficient, the longer the machine can remain profitably operating in the field before the components are replaced. Also, a sharp and efficient cutting system increases throughput (speed) and reduces fuel consumption.
The term “system” is important, since the moving and stationary components, their design and registration are all critical to the machine’s performance.
Early on The Lund Engineered Products Division made its reputation by developing state of the art cutting system components that are used on virtually all types of forage harvesting equipment made by the major OEMs. Lund manufactures the rotating knives as well as stationary knives, or shear bars. As a result, Lund has developed an in-depth understanding of the entire cutting system and its interaction with the crop being processed.
The challenge is to continue to develop improved coatings and inlays to resist wear and increase the life of the system.
Over the years, Lund has continued to develop new tungsten carbide thermal spray coatings that are applied to the rotating knife edges. Recently, Lund developed a High Performance version of its latest coating formulation that provides significant wear life improvement with only a modest increase in cost. Also, Lund is currently refining the process of applying its ultra-high density proprietary Brazecoat material to rotating forage harvester knives.
While wear-life demands on the rotating knives are great, they are even greater on the stationary knife, or shear bar. There are multiple rotating knives in any forage harvester cutting system, but there is only one shear bar. Accordingly, the shear bar sees a multiple of the abrasion and impact wear. The shear bar is truly the heart of the forage harvester cutting system.
Lund can provide a range of specialized treatments to the edges of the shear bar to keep it square and sharp. These treatments include sprayed-on tungsten carbide coatings, submerged arc welded tool steel inlays and plasma transfer arc tool steel inlays. More recently, Lund began offering a super premium shear bar with the entire wear surface covered with a mat of its proprietary Brazecoat material.