Editor's Choice

Quality gearboxes for irrigation

May 2024 Editor's Choice Motion Control & Drives

SEW-EURODRIVE is offering a complete gear solution for centre pivot irrigation systems, as an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) close to South Africa’s farming sector. “As a key strategic sector in this country, the agricultural industry deserves to be serviced by OEMs – not just by resellers of imported products,” says Jonathan McKey, national sales and marketing manager at SEW-EURODRIVE. “We are a global company with a world-class reputation, and our strong local footprint across South Africa and Africa ensures that the farming community gets the support it needs from us.”

Through its strategy of ‘closing the loop’, SEW-EURODRIVE is able to supply, install and service the centre drive and wheel drives for pivot irrigation systems, and also the drive technology to power the system. “Our SEW-EURODRIVE gearbox solutions have proved themselves in this application since the 1980s in Brazil, where numerous units are sold every month into the country’s farming sector,” says McKey.

Aligning to the shaft sizes and flange connections on existing centre pivot irrigation equipment, SEW-EURODIVE provides a plug-and-play solution consisting of gearing, casing and motor. Business development manager, Willem Strydom emphasises that the company presents a game-changing concept in sustainability, serviceability and cost effectiveness, which is exactly what the local agricultural sector needs.

“Generally, the drive systems on this type of equipment are simply replaced when they no longer perform, and there is little capability in South Africa to repair them,” says Strydom. “Not only will we assemble our own gearboxes in-country, but we can also repair and refurbish the various components to our stringent OEM standards.”

The company’s infrastructure includes service teams that visit customers’ sites, whether these are commercial farms or smaller privately owned enterprises. These teams are highly experienced in various gearbox systems and applications, so they can inspect existing installations and advise on optimal solutions.

“Large operations can even be supported with formal service level agreements where the size and efficiency of their operation warrants it,” he says. SEW-EURODRIVE can serve the market’s standardised wheel ratios of 50:1 and 52:1 to accommodate the specifications of the key suppliers of centre pivot irrigation systems.

According to Strydom, the depth of the company’s technical capability is demonstrated by the fact that it has designed and manufactured interchangeable internal gearing. This allows for commonality of parts, which in turn facilitates efficient stockholding and quick turnaround times.

“One of the benefits of our gearboxes for the centre pivot market is that we use the same internal gearing as our popular and robust 7-series range,” he explains. “This has proved itself beyond doubt over decades in many arduous applications and industries.” It also means that SEW-EURODRIVE already has extensive stockholding in its large and modern facility in Aeroton, west of Johannesburg, and all the necessary expertise to assess and refurbish gearboxes using these components. The company also has its own quality motors for these irrigation systems. These are available in either a 0,55 kW, 0,75 kW or 1,1 kW option.

“This agricultural equipment may need to be moved from one location to another on the farm, for instance,” he says. “In some cases, this process can damage both the gears and motors, so it is vital to check regularly that the performance of the equipment is still optimal.” The attention of trained service staff from SEW-EURODRIVE can make this process easier and less time consuming for farm managers. The onsite assessment can also confirm whether cost-effective repairs are possible, rather than replacing whole gearboxes. Repairing or replacing just the internal gears will allow the casing to be preserved, minimising the wastage and cost.

Another growing concern for farmers is the rising cost of electricity, and Strydom says that SEW-EURODRIVE’s solutions for centre pivot systems also help address this challenge. This is done through the use of energy-efficient motors, rated in the IE3 class in terms of international energy standards. “Most competitors in this field use standard efficiency IE1 class motors,” he explains. “To save our customers on the cost of their electricity, SEW-EURODRIVE standardises on the use of premium efficiency IE3 motors.” The energy efficiency of motors is becoming important for all sectors in South Africa in the light of government plans to introduce Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) this year.

“We are proud to be a full-service OEM in the agricultural space,” says McKey. “We are also excited about the opportunities in this sector, where we will be closing the loop by offering an ever-wider range of complete solutions for our customers.”

For more information contact SEW-EURODRIVE, +27 11 248 700, bfutter@sew.co.za, www.sew-eurodrive.co.za


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