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Valley introduces new X-Tec HS drive, Solar Solutions

Tyler Harris Visitors to Husker Harvest Days in Grand Island, Neb. in September got a firsthand look at the X-Tec HS
X-TEC IN ACTION: Visitors to Husker Harvest Days in Grand Island, Neb. in September got a firsthand look at the X-Tec HS drive in action. At a speed of around 95 feet per minute, a pivot equipped with an X-Tec HS drive can make a revolution in 90 minutes.
Valley showcases a full lineup of new products at HHD, including the new X-Tec HS drive and Machine Diagnostics in Valley 365.

Four years ago, Valley Irrigation introduced its X-Tec advanced drive motor, which uses FastPass technology to cut the time it takes for a center pivot to make a revolution by a half — from about eight hours down to four hours. For those who are making chemical or fertilizer applications through the pivot, that speed can make all the difference with a limited window for applications.

"Two years ago, one of our customers, who is a large potato grower, came to us and said, 'We need to be able to do a revolution in 90 minutes, what can you do?' Our engineering team went to work, and within four months we had four test machines running on their farms," explains Jake Hinrichsen, associate product manager at Valley Irrigation. "With that, we came out with the new X-Tec HS. It will do a revolution in 90 minutes. With 11.2X38 tires, you're looking at a speed of around 95 feet a minute."

That's about the pace of a brisk walk, as Hinrichsen demonstrated with an X-Tec HS pivot at Husker Harvest Days in Grand Island, Neb., earlier this month. He explains the X-Tec HS reaches these speeds thanks to a Yaskawa variable-frequency drive (VFD) paired with an inverter-duty 3-horsepower motor capable of up to 343 revolutions per minute. The center-drive ratio has also been reduced to achieve this speed.

"Really, what this allows growers to do is take on a new level of chemigations they weren't capable of before. It allowed this particular customer to do away with any aerial or ground rig applications. All the fungicide they were applying aerially, they are now able to apply with the X-Tec HS. It also means they don't have to wait for the applicator to come out and spray."

Machine Diagnostics

Many irrigators are used to the convenience of starting or stopping their center pivots with the touch of a button, and being alerted when a machine is down. Now, through Machine Diagnostics within Valley 365, irrigators can pinpoint exactly where a pivot fault has occurred. Preston Parmley, product manager with Valley Irrigation, explains Machine Diagnostics can be installed on any existing Valley center pivot — or a competitor's machine that has a Valley electronic conversion installed. It works through a series of sensors installed throughout the pivot, which feed information to the Valley Icon smart panel, which sends it to Valley 365 via Icon Link.

Courtesy of Valley IrrigationAn App on your phone by Machine Diagnostics within Valley 365, irrigators can pinpoint exactly where a pivot fault has occurred


PINPOINT DIAGNOSTICS: Through Machine Diagnostics within Valley 365, irrigators can pinpoint exactly where a pivot fault has occurred. The user is alerted when an issue occurs relating to tower alignment, tire pressure or water pressure, as well as the motor and gearbox. Machine Diagnostics will give the location as well.

"With Valley 365, the grower will be alerted when an issue occurred on a machine relating to tower alignment, tire pressure, water pressure, as well as the motor and gearbox, and it will give them the location as well," Parmley says. "The grower will be able to check Valley 365, see that Tower 2 is out of alignment, saving him potentially hours of time trying to figure out where the issue is occurring. It's helping to maximize uptime."

Parmley adds Machine Diagnostics can also receive fault detection alerts on Valley's X-Tec drive through the tower monitor board installed in the drive enclosure.

"We're able to communicate with the X-Tec drive to monitor its status and its health, and get very detailed diagnostic information," he says. "Knowing those specific faults occurring with the X-Tec drive can help minimize troubleshooting downtime when it's paired with that product."

EnCompass

Until recently, pivot corners remained one of the few areas of the field that were difficult to irrigate uniformly. This year, Valley unveiled EnCompass, which uses GPS data to automatically adjust corner nozzle control in real time, to help solve this problem.

"Historically, you really had to fine-tune irrigation on corners. You turned on banks of sprinklers and had to fine-tune to get uniform sprinkler coverage," Parmley says. "With EnCompass, we're simplifying and enhancing the uniformity of the water application. Users can load the GPS path and machine-specific characteristics, and it will pulse on individual sprinklers rather than banks of sprinklers to ensure optimum water uniformity for that field. We're excited to bring the coefficient of uniformity under the corner span close to the level of uniformity we're used to under the pivot span."

EnCompass makes automatic adjustments, and corner arm nozzles pulse on and off to provide the exact flow needed for the field.

"It's using our VRI-iS, variable-rate irrigation individual sprinkler control," Parmley adds. "We're using the same hardware we're using on the VRI-iS product line, and that's what enables us to have individual sprinkler control on the corner span."

Solar Solutions

Last year, Valley Irrigation announced the purchase of Brazil-based Solbras, a solar solutions provider now known as Valmont Solar. Now, through this acquisition, Valley has announced the expansion of Solar Solutions in the U.S.

Tyler HarrisMovable versions of solar panels

GOING SOLAR: Solar Solutions and services from Valley include everything growers need to begin using solar for their operations: distributed generation of photovoltaic (PV) energy, converting light into electricity; engineered design and approval of detailed technical projects; and consulting on new PV installations focusing on agri-business. Valley is offering fixed and movable versions of solar panels. Each 1-by 2-meter panel is 500 watts.

"There's a lot of interest being generated," says Haime Dias, business line manager, director North America solar solutions at Valmont. "We purchased Solbras in Brazil and used our existing network to sell solar solutions in Brazil in 2020. We did really well in 2020 and 2021 in Brazil, so we thought, 'Why not bring it to the U.S. for farmers here?'"

Solar Solutions and services from Valley include everything growers need to begin using solar for their operations: distributed generation of photovoltaic (PV) energy, converting light into electricity; engineered design and approval of detailed technical projects; and consulting on new PV installations focusing on agri-business. Plus, every solar installation from Valley offers remote monitoring capabilities through Valley 365. Valley is offering fixed and movable versions of solar panels. Each 1-by-2 meter panel is 500 watts.

"Just from one pivot corner on a quarter-section — about 6 acres — you can generate 3 megawatts of power," Dias says. "That's 30 times as much power on that corner as you need to power a pivot."

Dias adds the return on investment for a solar array is, on average, five to six years —and these solar panels are designed for last for 25 years.

"Valley is really looking to put this together in the next couple of months, to start shipping our first units," he says. "This is the beginning. There's a lot more to come in the future."

 

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