Though the agricultural equipment industry is reportedly headed for a downturn in 2015, Italy’s biennial agricultural exhibition EIMA International saw a high volume of visitors during the week-long show which was held in November 2014. According to show organizers, there were a total of 235,614 visitors to the show; of those total visitors 38,773 were from countries other than Italy, indicating the show’s growing importance to the global agricultural market.
The state of the industry, both in Italy and abroad, was a key topic of conversation during the show. Overall, the domestic Italian agricultural market was down in 2014 and is anticipated to be the same in 2015. Exports, however, are a bright spot for many manufacturers in Italy and other European countries as developing nations, including the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China), continue to grow and require more mechanized equipment. FederUnacoma, the Italian Agricultural Machinery Manufacturers Federation, reported during the show that new areas for export possibilities also include Indonesia, Australia, Vietnam, and North and South Saharan Africa.
New product launches from OEMs and component suppliers were, of course, some of the biggest highlights of the show. Global and domestic OEMs such as John Deere, New Holland, SAME-DEUTZ FAHR and Antonio Carraro were among the 1,809 exhibitors showcasing new products. China’s Zoomlion and ArmaTrac from Turkey were among the many exhibitors from countries outside of Europe. These OEMs had a wide variety of equipment on display, everything from traditional equipment such as combines and sprayers to specialty machinery including tomato and vine harvesters.
EIMA Components, the special exhibition area dedicated to componentry, had a large increase in exhibitors for the 2014 show. FederUnacoma, responsible for organizing EIMA, reported 800 manufacturers signed up to exhibit during the show compared to the 760 who attended the 2012 edition. Exhibition space was increased 13% to accommodate the increase in exhibitors.
Italy and the global agricultural market
At EIMA, FederUnacoma held a press conference about the current state of Italy’s agricultural equipment industry, and its plans for the future. FederUnacoma said building relationships with other countries is of particular importance to the industry in order to increase exports. The association’s goal is to achieve 1.4 billion euro in export sales. To do this, the association is looking to continue growing international relationships which it did by hosting 60 delegations from countries other than Italy at the 2014 event. One speaker during FederUnacoma’s press conference said the aim is to not only promote Italy as a place of growth but also to support growth in other markets.
FederUnacoma said the U.S. continues to be an important area of growth potential. In the first eight months of 2014, exports to the U.S. increased 23% and the association anticipates that will continue to grow as more markets continue to open up in the country. Currently California, the East Coast as well as Texas and the Southwest are the largest markets for exports from Italy. This is due in part to some of the more specialized equipment that Italian manufacturers produce, such as vine harvesting machinery.
Beyond the U.S., FederUnacoma is looking to help Italian manufacturers enter many other international markets as well, such as Morocco and Kazakhstan. It said areas where more mechanization is needed will be key regions for exports. To better facilitate these international relationships, FederUnacoma is looking to be present at more international tradefairs, further grow the international draw of EIMA and provide support to Italian companies looking to get into other markets. It said this is especially important for smaller companies; as an association it can help these companies reduce some of the “red tape” and other issues associated with entering foreign markets.
Learn more about the Italian and European agricultural markets.
Incorporating more ISOBUS
Comer Industries introduced several products at EIMA 2014 including the new A-613 gearbox with electric actuator which was developed as part of the MIX@TRACTOR project developed by IDEAgri. Composed of several network companies (including Comer Industries), IDEAgri works to develop integrated systems which are ISOBUS compatible. It also works with the Agricultural Industry Electronics Foundation (AEF) to provide insight into the development of ISOBUS and its connected electronics, as well as works to promote the spread of ISOBUS technology and explore the possibility of combining already developed products to provide the industry with turnkey solutions.
The goal of the MIX@TRACTOR project is to show how mixing operations using trailed feeder/mixers can be improved through the use of technologies that are already available in the market. Its two main objectives are to increase the efficiency of mixing—thus lowering fuel consumption and the amount of time to complete the operation—and to improve the comfort and safety of the operator.
IDEAgri demonstrated through its MIX@TRACTOR project the addition of only a few components was necessary to achieve these goals. On the feeder/mixer the Comer Industries A-613 gearbox was added, while the tractor had a wireless gateway from ISOBUS to Bluetooth/GSM integrated into it. The gearbox includes an ISOBUS torque sensor and electrically actuated gear change system which allows it to monitor power absorption and automate gear changes based on the progress of the mixing process within the trailed implement.
Adding these additional electronic devices enables increased communication between the tractor and the trailed implement so the two can work in tandem to be as productive and efficient as possible. Monitoring and controlling much of the operating conditions in this manner makes it easier for the optimal cycle in regards to fuel consumption, emissions and productivity to be chosen without requiring the operator to have special knowledge or skills to make that decision. IDEAgri says a 10 to 15% fuel savings can be achieved by incorporating these electronics and ISOBUS components.
These devices also make it easier for information to be sent to the operator in the tractor cab, as well as smartphones and over the internet so operations can be continually monitored.
Mitas rebranding efforts for European OEMs
Mitas announced at EIMA that as of January 2015, its Continental branded agricultural tires would be rebranded in the European market as Mitas Premium. The goal is to have a single brand strategy for OEM customers, said Jaroslav Cechura, General Director of Mitas, during the announcement. OEMs are a key customer segment for the company, and having a single brand strategy will enable the company to continue growing the Mitas brand.
Tractor of the Year
Every year since 1998, the Tractor of the Year award is given out to recognize new, innovative tractor designs. A group of European journalists specializing in agricultural machinery are responsible for evaluating the various tractor designs, often submitted by the manufacturers of the machinery.
Tractors of any power rating are eligible for the award, but they must be in production by mid-September of the year in which Tractor of the Year will be awarded and not have received the prize in previous editions. Each jury member must have the opportunity to evaluate the applicants operating under field conditions. Features taken into consideration when evaluating the tractors include the engine, transmission, cab comfort, innovative technical features, design, hydraulics, standard on-board electronics, the horsepower to price ratio and optional features. Once the jury has evaluated all of the applicants under field conditions, a shortlist of nominees will be created for each of the three categories in which Tractor of the Year awards are given. Each category can have a maximum of seven nominees.
The three categories in which awards are given out are Tractor of the Year, Tractor of the Year – Best of Specialized and Tractor of the Year – Golden Tractor for Design. A new category has been added for the 2016 award, Tractor of the Year – Best Utility which will evaluate multi-purpose and utility tractors above 70 hp. Awards are presented to the winners during a ceremony held on the first day of a major agricultural tradeshow such as Agritechnica, EIMA, Sima or Fieragricola.
Tractor of the Year 2015 awards were given out on November 12 during EIMA International 2014.
Tractor of the year
Case IH’s Magnum 380 CVX tractor was named Tractor of the Year 2015, an award that honors open field tractors. According to the company, the use of a CVX continuously variable transmission on the tractor, as well as the multi-controller armrest and “Rowtrac” solution of rear tracks and front tires on the tractor contributed to it receiving the award.
Tractor of the Year: Best of Specialized
The New Holland Agriculture T3F tractor was given the award in the Best of Specialized category. This award honors orchard, vineyard, hill and mountain tractors; voting parameters for this category include the engine, transmission, comfort, agility and design.
The T3F features a compact design and was developed specifically for fruit growers and small- to mid-sized orchards and vineyards which require a small, agile tractor that can easily maneuver through the fields without disturbing crops.
Tractor of the Year: Golden Tractor for Design
The DEUTZ-FAHR 9340 was the recipient of the Golden Tractor for Design award. All finalist tractors are eligible for this award, which is focused solely on the overall design of the tractor. The 9340 is available in four models ranging from 270 to 340 hp and feature a TTV continuously variable transmission which helps improve comfort, efficiency and fuel consumption.
New product introductions—from engines and tires to tractors and harvesters—were a large part of the EIMA 2014 show. Below are just of few of the products launched at the show; search EIMA 2014 to find even more.