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Twistable readycable® cables from igus® fulfil high demands on energy and signal supply in ZEMA harvesters


  • Application: Special harvesting machines for semi-automatic harvesting and processing in the agricultural sector
  • What was needed: Ready-to-install cable sets for power and signal transmission
  • Requirements: UV and moisture resistant, torsional resistance, temperature stable, notch-resistant & low wear
  • Product: Twistable readycable® cables as fully harnessed energy supply system
  • Field of application: Harvest grounds in the agricultural environment
  • Success for the customer: Time and cost savings compared to internal assembly as well as long service life and flexible handling of the cables used

Harnessed readycable in ZEMA harvesting machines The harvesting machines from ZEMA allow a semi-automatic harvesting and processing operation right in the field. (Source: Josef Zeyer GmbH)

About ZEMA Spezialmaschinen: In Europe there are only a few manufacturers of these harvesting machines for vegetables and salad, and ZEMA is the only one in Germany.  A special feature is that the harvester in the field can "piggyback" on a conventional trailer in which the finished goods are stacked and which a tractor can transport away straight from the field. The producer does not even have to repackage the ready-to-ship product before it is sent to the wholesale market or other customer. 
The machines drive automatically into the field on a wheeled undercarriage or crawler chassis or with a tractor. There they "unfold" from three metres to up to nine metres in width, whereby even the sun and rain protection for the harvesting personnel on the bridge was taken into consideration. The automatic feed and discharge units for the typical "vegetable crates" via conveyor belts are also integrated.

The challenge

In the field, the machine travels behind a tractor, either automatically or under sensor control in 'platooning' mode. But the driver must always be able to readjust. To do this - as well as for turning at the end of the field - he uses a wired remote control, which can be used to control all relevant functions. In addition to control and data signals, this also includes, for example, the CAN bus for drive control or level regulation of the machine.
Compared to classic automation or robotics applications in the industry, the flexible cable connecting remote control and vehicle does not have to perform a high number of cycles or extreme movements. Nevertheless, the stresses and strains should not be underestimated. Ulrich Reinhardt, Head of Mechatronics at Josef Zeyer GmbH: "The cables are exposed to UV rays and moisture, but in particular also to various torsions and very different temperatures. And, as they are often pulled along the ground, the amount of wear increases. “


Since conventional cables do not meet the ZEMA requirements for service life, the company basically uses chainflex cables from igus for remote controls. These cables were developed from the ground up for use in moving applications - for example in robotics. Andreas Zeyer, CEO of Josef Zeyer GmbH of the second generation: "We have had very good experience with these cables. They achieve a long service life on the field and hence make the handling of the remote control easier as they are flexible and therefore more mobile. “
ZEMA purchases the cable sets as fully harnessed readycable energy supply systems. This offers several advantages at once: "We save time and do not have to stock plug-in connectors or other accessories. If we consider the internal costs of harnessing,readycables are no more expensive than unharnessed cables. In addition, every readycable at igus has its own part number, which can only be ordered by us". And despite the commitment to one standard, Josef Zeyer GmbH remains flexible because the harnessed cables can be ordered in different lengths.

For twistable readycable® cables

readycable products in use

Ready-to-install readycable cable set
readycable in harvesters


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