Swedish steel prize nominee 2009
Stron albatros a boost to agriculture
2009 | Andreoli Engineering S.r.l. | Italy 6 min read
The inspiration derived from the world’s biggest bird is clear. The new, sleek Albatros spray bar from the Italian companies Andreoli Engineering and Bordoni Bonfiglio is impressive in its width, shape and strength. Advanced high strength steel has enabled the companies to develop a design that is 40 percent lighter, can withstand more, is more efficient to use, and is more kindly to the crops. The Albatros is one of four products that have been nominated for the Swedish Steel Prize 2009.
”We decided at an early stage to use high strength steel for our new spray bar,” recalls Francesco Andreoli, Managing Director of Andreoli Engineering S.r.l. ”If the aim is to create a lightweight and reliable design, there is actually no alternative to high strength steels.”
Lighter, stronger and more efficientLower weight is the key to the improved properties that Andreoli Engineering has achieved in its new spray bar. In combination with a new design idea, the company has succeeded in cutting the weight, while also achieving a stiffer and stronger spray bar. The benefit of this is that it reduces the risk of the spray bar oscillating while in use. As a natural consequence, the loading and wear on the entire structure is lower, which reduces the operating and maintenance costs. The strain on the operator and vehicle is also reduced – while spraying precision improves, which also results in reduced consumption of spray chemicals.
The new spray bar is a framework structure consisting of two laser-cut plates that are joined together with a minimum number of welds. Cutting by laser and the necessary bending of the plates are carried out by Bordoni Bonfiglio – a company that specializes in these particular operations. The plates are then delivered to Andreoli, where they are welded together and the parts are then painted before being assembled and equipped with the hydraulics, cabling and sprayer.
Lower production costsThe weight of the spray bar has been cut from 300 kg to 180 kg, largely due to the change in the material used. Traditional structural steel was used in the past, and the thickness then varied between 3 and 5 millimetres. An advanced 800 MPa grade high strength steel is used in the new design, and the thickness is 2 millimetres throughout. In addition to reducing the material thickness, Andreoli designers have also been able to produce a design that is simpler and less expensive to produce. As an example, the number of welds has been cut, and the total production cost reduction achieved is almost 25 percent.
The Albatros has been a design success for Andreoli and, after several hundred hours of testing, the product has now been launched on the market.
”We have very favourable experience of high strength steel, and we expect the Albatros to sell well in view of the user benefit it offers,” concludes Francesco Andreoli. “Our nomination for the Swedish Steel Prize is additional proof of quality, and we will certainly be telling our customers about it. We are pleased that, according to the jury, we have produced one of the four foremost designs”.