The primary objective of this project was to reduce risk of injury associated with operating a rotary mower driven by a tractor power take-off (PTO) by developing and evaluating design improvements and determining their economic feasibility. Researchers have concluded that alteration of machinery design has a greater impact on the reduction of accidents than safety training. Implementation of an Operator Presence Sensing System (OPSS) and removal of the PTO are the two injury-reducing, engineering modifications evaluated by this research. Hydraulic power allows this to occur by providing dynamic braking, few moving parts (removal of the PTO), and controllable power. A hydraulic circuit was developed to power the mower and to enable an OPSS. Tractor hydraulics were simulated using a hydraulic training bench. Two mower configurations were tested: 6.55 cm3 rev-1 (0.4 in.3 rev-1 ) displacement motor with a 0.748 kg blade and 47.5 cm3 rev-1 (2.9 in.3 rev-1 ) displacement motor with a 9.4 kg blade. A PTO-driven rotary mower was not used to test the circuit due to spatial and safety limitations of the hydraulic training bench. Results from the first mower configuration verified the concepts behind the hydraulic circuit. The second configuration verified the OPSS and indicated the applicability of the circuit to a rotary mower.
Full article can be found in: Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
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