Gentle on the field, fast on the road

Reading time: approx. 4 minutes
Text: Juliane Gringer
Photos: ISM IndustrieService Müller GmbH, Futtertrocknung Lamerdingen eG

In agriculture, too, more and more productivity is required, and the machines used are challenged accordingly. With a four-axle high-speed vehicle with BPW axles that can also travel up to 80 kilometres per hour on the road, ISM FahrzeugService Müller has created a vehicle that a customer in Bavaria uses to efficiently and gently collect grass from meadows and fields for processing into animal feed.

Robust on the road and at the same time gentle on the field : these two requirements should be met by the vehicle used to fetch Futtertrocknung Lamerdingen eG mown grass from fields to produce animal feed. In cooperation with the Bavarian commercial vehicle industry, ISM IndustrieService Müller a four-axle high-speed truck with a 20-tonne usable load was developed that is optimally suited to this application. “For everything that is not standard, you need a niche manufacturer like us”, explains ISM Managing Director Holder Müller. “We don’t produce mass, but individual solutions.”

Feed livestock well all year round

Plants such as grass, lucerne, corn, soybeans or lupins are processed into bales or cobs at the facility of Futtertrocknung Lamerdingen eG in Ostallgäu. “This is dried green fodder in finger-sized, cylindrical form,” explains Managing Director Matthias Vögele. “They are produced by chopping and pressing the raw materials and dehydrating them in our special drying plant. The advantage for customers is that the dry fodder in the form of bales or cobs has a shelf life of around twelve months and is therefore ideal for building up a stock of fodder and thus providing farm animals with a constant supply of vitamins, protein and minerals throughout the year. A 20-tonne cartload of young, protein-rich grass taken from the field with the high-speed runner yields so much concentrated feed, that 20 cows can be fed with it for a whole year.

The customers and suppliers of the Lamerdingen fodder drying plant are primarily dairy farms, that have local protein feed produced here from the grass from their own fields, as well as arable farms that want to break up their crop rotation by growing clover grass or lucerne, or farms that are looking for a buyer for grasses and legumes that they cannot feed themselves. In addition, there are feed companies that, for example, produce compound feed for horses or small animals and buy their raw materials from the Lamerdingen feed drying plant in order to sell them to end customers in smaller containers and in feed mixtures.

Gentle yet precise and powerful

The Lamerdingen feed drying plant collects the mown grass directly from meadows and fields with loading wagons after the farmers have mown and raked it there: this means that the farmers rake the grass into rows with an appropriate machine, which is then easier to pick up. “We needed a vehicle that not only travels as gently as possible and does not compact the soil, but also works precisely and applies the necessary power to fill the loader wagon quickly,” says Vögele. If progress is too slow, there is a risk that the grass will “must”: this compacts it into a tough pulp that is almost impossible for the drying plant to process.

»We needed a vehicle that not only travels as gently as possible and does not compact the soil, but also works precisely and has the necessary power to fill the loader wagon quickly.«

Matthias Vögele, Managing Director Futtertrocknung Lamerdingen

The most important requirement for the vehicle: it should be able to cover longer distances at normal speed on the road; at the same time, it should be gentle on the field when driving on it. This is because, unlike other agricultural vehicles that usually only travel a few kilometres on the road to surrounding fields, Futtertrocknung Lamerdingen is a service for many farmers and companies and therefore covers distances of up to 100 kilometres between field and plant. “If there are only three to five kilometres between the farm and the field, a classic 40 km/h tractor with agricultural tyres is sufficient,” explains Matthias Vögele. “But if you want to drive 60 or 80 km/h, the situation is different. There is no vehicle on the market for this requirement.”

He approached Holger Müller from ISM IndustrieService Müller to create a custom-made product. “We were faced with the challenge of converting a three-axle vehicle into a four-axle vehicle,” explains Holger Müller. “Thanks to our good contact with BPW, we found suitable axles and were able to equip the running gear with four BPW axles – two of which are steering axles.” The vehicle is easy on the field thanks to its 16 wheels in total: they are fitted with tyres from commercial road haulage, which are allowed to be driven at 80 kilometres per hour on the motorway and are fitted as twin tyres with corresponding special rims – this distributes the load.

Digital calculation complements manual Know-how

In the beginning there were complex calculations, including the steering angle. “We sat down with the technicians from BPW and calculated the load-bearing capacity according to the geometry of the base vehicle,” Müller reports. “We were then able to determine the ride height via the frame height.” Futtertrocknung Lamerdingen specified the tyres and procured matching special rims. The ISM team calculated the necessary spring deflection. “We went through everything in advance on the computer and adjusted the steering angles precisely by hand,” says Müller. Compliance with the legally prescribed dimensions of the installation space for agricultural vehicles also had to be taken into account.

Every project has its own challenges, Müller explains. ISM also builds special trailers for agricultural vegetable cultivation, for example, which help customers to cut vegetables directly on the trailer while still in the field. “We have to follow the existing lanes,” explains the expert. ”Often, the vehicle should be built as low as possible – but then you also need tyres with the appropriate load-bearing capacity.” So every conversion is an individual cooperation between ISM, the customer and the supplier.

»We are there for our customers from the first idea to delivery – and also in the years afterwards.«

Holger Müller, ISM Managing Director

Support from the first idea inwards

ISM’s goal is always to offer the customer the optimal solution for their transport problem according to the technically available possibilities on the market. “In the process, we sometimes push the limits,” says Holger Müller. “At the same time, we offer after sales and service. We are there for our customers from the first idea to delivery – and also in the years afterwards.” An eye for detail is important to him: we make sure that the superstructures are visually attractive, that the toolbox is in the right place or that the cables are neatly laid on the loader wagon. The customer should drive off the yard with a smile – and that smile should stay with them throughout the vehicle’s service life.”
His grandfather and uncle once founded the company. From childhood onwards, Holger Müller experienced the passion with which the two ran the business. “I’ve always been fascinated by trucks and technology, and I’m very lucky that we’ve found customers who think alike. Above all, the personal conversations motivate and inspire him: “When I go to Lamerdingen, everyone knows everyone, it’s a great atmosphere. You have a cup of coffee together, and then sometimes new ideas come up in conversation.”

The Lamerdingen fodder drying team is already using ISM’s fourth high-speed machine. This enables the company to meet the growing demand for domestic feed for ruminants. The hot air drying process used by the company also enhances the quality of the raw material’s proteins. “This way, you can provide the cows with more nutrients all year round than if they only eat the grass directly from the pasture in summer,” says Matthias Vögele. The company developed the process itself. Now the signs are pointing to expansion: Vögele wants to expand production capacities. The fast runners have laid the foundation for this path.

ISM IndustrieService Müller GmbH

The ISM IndustrieService Müller GmbH builds vehicles according to the individual requirements of its customers. Flatbed, crane and heavy transport vehicles or swap bodies are designed using the CAD process, and the team works out the necessary modifications before the plans are implemented in the company’s own workshop. The ISM team includes 20 people in sales and construction. In Dinkelsbühl/Sinbronn in Bavaria, they work on the individual special constructions in a 2,000 square metre hall with two crane bales – in some cases this takes around 1,000 hours of working time. For work in the field of flame-cut parts and laser parts, ISM cooperates with suppliers: for example, steel parts or BPW axles are delivered; ISM welds, has them painted externally and then takes on the completion of everything from electrics to brakes itself.

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