ifm launches Agri-Mate to easily link implements

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The Agri-Mate connector, developed by ifm efector, joins ISOBUS-compatible products together without the delays of automation development time

ISOBUS-compatible tractors and implements can now be linked without costly and time-consuming manufacturer development, thanks to ifm efector’s latest product.

The German technology company has just launched the Agri-Mate, which is now available for the Australian market and promises to make implement automation easier, particularly for small to medium-sized original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

ifm efector’s new ISOBUS Agri-Mate

"Traditionally, you have a tractor and an implement such as a sprayer, and if you want to add any automation on an implement that goes on the back of a tractor – you usually have to communicate all the information from that implement to the display in the tractor, which is usually called universal terminal," ifm product sales manager for mobile control systems Adi Kunder says.

"That universal terminal follows an ISOBUS standard and traditionally it takes a lot of development time for implement manufacturers to get the information from the implement on to the tractor display. What ifm has done is take that development time away.

"With this ISOBUS Agri-Mate, it sits in between the tractor and the implement control system, so the implement control system will have all the ifm hardware and the ISOBUS Agri-Mate will take all the information from the implement and convert that into an ISOBUS standard and display it on the universal terminal in the tractor.

"It’s a plug and play solution with ISOBUS terminals and is designed for mobile equipment. It is very rugged and can handle all the shocks and vibration that come with these devices."

The Agri-Mate joins ifm efector’s stable of technology solutions for agricultural machinery, alongside other recent additions such as the O3M Smart Sensor, which provides a precision guidance system for tractors.

Described by Kunder as a "gateway", the Agri-Mate works with ifm’s other controllers and sensors and is ultimately aimed at saving automation development times for small to medium-sized OEMs, who often create several new implements every year and struggle to have the necessary resources to devote to automating these.

"The customer does not need to know at all about ISOBUS protocol," he says.

"All they need to know is what they know around Codesys, which is a programming platform used in the ifm control system.

"We can train the customers in the Codesys control platform and show them how to implement the ISOBUS function block that ifm has implemented in our controllers.

"The ISOBUS Agri-Mate will do the rest and push all the information to the tractor."

ISOBUS Agri-Mate easily links tractors to their implements

Thanks to optimised data processing, only the values to be visualised on the connected display are transmitted, reducing the load on the data bus significantly.

Kunder says the biggest benefit for the end user – the farmer – will be in the ability to have every piece of required information in the one display, rather than having multiple displays for multiple implements.

The Agri-Mate’s market launch comes after multiple years of planning from ifm’s German base and is described as Kunder as a "massive project" for the company.

The Agri-Mate also comes with ifm’s libraries, hardware and predefined configuration already loaded into the device.

It works with any ISOBUS-compatible tractor and implement, even if they are from different manufacturers, and includes all software libraries as part of the cost, with no additional licence costs involved.

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