The R300 is the fastest single-head roll machine on the market, and in some conditions, it even rivals the productivity of double-head machines—at a much lower cost of ownership. The harvester cuts at speeds over 2 mph in many conditions. We have customers cutting at 2.2 mph, or 7.2 square feet of grass per second.
There are several processes that the R300 can complete at high speeds:
- The transfer of rolls from the roll-up to the accumulator is done very smoothly, even at high speeds
- The ability for us to synchronize our accumulator with our stacker, even at high speeds
- The extremely smooth and controlled motions of our stacker, even at high speeds
How is the R300 so fast?
One place where we gain speed is in our patented method of transferring the rolls to the accumulator.
When a harvester runs fast, the roll has a lot of speed coming out of the roll-up. If you add even more speed to it by dropping it onto a conveyor, it’ll have more of a tendency to loosen up. Most other manufacturers’ machines do just that—the roll falls down onto the accumulator, and various techniques are employed to help keep that roll from coming undone, including limiting speed.
The R300, on the other hand, can transfer rolls at high cutting speeds because they are lifted onto the accumulator. Once the roll has been measured and completed, the conveyor actually reverses to help move the roll more smoothly onto the accumulator. After the roll is ejected, we use gravity to our advantage to again slow the roll. The accumulator sits at a higher level than the main conveyor, so the Sho Arm transfers the roll in an upward trajectory. This design is one factor behind the R300’s capacity to run at higher ground speeds than any other machine.
Placing the accumulator and Sho Arm at a higher level also shaves off time because the stacker doesn’t have as far to move when lifting rolls onto tall pallets. Pallet change times are also faster because the pallet injector can inject pallets at much taller heights.
An additional component of the R300’s high productivity is its accumulator synchronization. Unlike many other harvesters, FireFly’s accumulator doesn’t need to have any rolls on it to get it started. The stacker can also pick up rolls while they are moving on the accumulator, because the servo-controlled conveyor is automatically synchronized with the stacker for FireFly’s patented pick-up process. This means there’s no limiter to how fast you can transfer rolls onto the accumulator, thereby speeding up harvesting capability substantially.
When a roll is rejected, the Sho Arm moves up and allows the scrap roll to exit without being transferred onto the accumulator conveyor. One really nice feature of the Sho Arm is that it can scrap a roll without moving either the accumulator conveyor or the main conveyor. This means that you can scrap while continuing to cut, and you can scrap while you are stacking.
In a nutshell, electric servo motors improve quality, consistency, speed, durability, and the range of grass and conditions that you can harvest. The motors that control the R300’s systems are the same kinds that you will find in industrial machine tools, such as machining centers and lathes. They yield very smooth and precise movements.
And just as smooth motions are gentle on grass, they also drastically reduce the wear and tear on the machine. The repeatability and consistency of the R300’s roll-up and stacker are second to none. As its components speed up and slow down, the rolls are undisturbed.
There’s an especially important reason why the R300’s accumulator is driven by electric servo motors. This system is the reason that FireFly has the only machine on the market that can pick up rolls while they’re moving.
Those of you that have operated roll machines understand that the basic bottleneck of a roll machine is its ability to pick up rolls. The rate that rolls transfer from the roll-up to the accumulator obviously depends on how fast you’re moving through the field. The faster you go, the faster the rolls are coming. On any other roll machine on the market today, the stacker mechanism must come down, pick up the rolls, and get out of the way in less time than it takes for that next roll to be transferred.
The R300 is the only roll machine on the market that doesn’t have that speed limitation. Because of its ability to perfectly synchronize the accumulator conveyor with the stacker—front and back—it can pick those rolls up while they’re moving without disturbing the rolls at all. It’s a perfect synchronization between the two movements. The electric servo motors give the R300 that ability, and the patented synchronization capabilities of our stackers are so key to our harvesters, in fact, that we’ve given them the name “SynchroStacker.”
In addition, electric systems are so much more efficient, only drawing the precise power needed. This reduces the engine size needed, which in turn uses much less fuel.