Wrapping silage bales in the field preserves feed quality, prevents crop damage or loss, and simplifies handling. Until now, bales have been loaded into and unloaded from bale wrapping machines manually. The Kuhn SW 4014 bale wrapper combines automated electronic controls with hydraulic power to eliminate manual handling, speeding field operations for increased capacity and ensuring consistent quality. The SW 4014 is designed and manufactured by Kuhn North America, Brodhead, Wis.
Hydraulic cylinders retract the width of the SW 4014 to only 98 in., making it road-ready to move from one field to another.
For road transport, hydraulic cylinders retract the machine’s sliding frame that contains the wrapping arms to an overall width of only 8 ft 2in. (2.5 m). Upon arriving at the field, the operator simply pushes a button, and the wrapper’s width extends to its operational width of 13 ft. (4 m), providing greater stability and enabling drive-through operation over rows of hay bales. The machine’s satellite receiver also goes to the zero position, and the loading arms move to their pre-load position ready to begin the process, which includes loading, wrapping and unloading bales.
At its working width of 13 ft, the SW 4014 moves with stability through the field, loading, wrapping, and unloading bales while the tractor stays on the move.
Kuhn’s autoload function was awarded the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers AE50 Award for innovations in its field and is based on Category II Laser technology. During operation, a laser sensor in the top cover at the front of the machine, scans the area ahead of it at ground level until it senses the edge of a bale. As it continues sensing, it detects the end of the bale, allowing the bale length to be calculated by counting pulses from a wheel sensor on the left wheel. Once the laser sensor detects the bale edge and the bale length is determined, loading arms are activated at the precise time to load the bale into the center of the machine’s rollers. With the bale in position, the wrapping arms rotate around the bale, encasing it completely in film before placing it back in the field. While this is occurring, the operator can continue driving ahead to the next bale, making it a continuous operation.
“In the past, the driver had to look back and estimate when the bale was centered in the machine,” explained Bart deVries, Kuhn product and marketing manager. “Now, all the driver has to do is drive up and the machine is doing all the rest. It’s non-stop wrapping at up to 3 km/hr as it picks up and wraps one bale after another in the field. Before, you had to stop. Now it’s fully automated.”