Composites Engineered for Mother Nature
Farm composite materials help farm and agriculture equipment withstand the natural elements that make farming an unpredictable business. From extreme and unforeseen weather conditions to decades of use, the equipment must operate smoothly, efficiently and offer a return on substantial purchase investments. Mar-Bal, a leader in thermoset compounds, produces composites used in agriculture to help farmers meet their equipment demands.
The heavy equipment used to plow, seed and harvest crops has traditionally been built with steel and cast iron. These materials are subject to corrosion from the elements and add weight to the overall piece of machinery. As larger pieces of equipment became more powerful and included more functions, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) needed to reduce the weight and increase the durability of the machinery. Today, most major agricultural equipment includes the use of thermoset composite materials.
Applications for Farming
Farming requires a multitude of machinery, including vehicles, to function competitively. Long gone are the days of horse-pulled plows and hand-planted seed. In today’s farming industry, including corporate farms and individually-owned properties, every function that can be mechanically performed utilizes the most efficient equipment.
The world of farming equipment has changed and with those changes have come new challenges for manufacturers. For example, 50 years ago, a large tractor weighed just over 7,000 pounds. Today, the equivalent tractor weighs about 27,000 pounds. And while early tractors left farmers exposed to the elements, contemporary tractors include large cabs with many comforts, also significantly adding to the overall weight.
Reducing weight became a goal for farm equipment engineers and manufacturers. Less weight leads to better fuel efficiency, lower operating costs, and better weight dispersion. It’s one reason tracks instead of tires are found on large farming equipment. Weight reduction has been the driving factor for the replacement of heavy materials, like steel and cast iron, with composite materials for farming.
Composite material applications for farming include overall body design, operator cabins, accessories and attached implements.
Applications for composite materials in farming also include:
- Equipment cases
- Body panels and substructures
- Electrical insulating elements
- Engine covers and panels
- Fire walls
- Headlamp housings
- Interior systems
- Plow hitches
- Trailer components
Every farming season includes cold, heat and moisture. Time is always of the essence and profitable production depends on immediate action when conditions permit. Many farms use chemicals that can corrode equipment. This combination of extreme conditions and potentially corrosive material requires equipment that is impervious to Mother Nature and will last for years.
Composite materials for farming are engineered to provide the durability, reliability and maintenance-free performance this demanding industry requires. These features include:
- Dimensional stability for lasting performance
- Thermal stability to withstand fluctuating conditions
- Corrosion resistance for deterioration-free operation
- Light weight to reduce operating costs and improve performance
- Elimination of secondary operations to increase efficiency
- Ability to hold finishes for aesthetically-pleasing appearance
- Combination of multiple parts into one part for less maintenance
Mar-Bal knows what OEMs require for agricultural equipment and can provide composite solutions for the most challenging farm equipment conditions.
A Trend Toward Lighter, Longer-Lasting Equipment
With the unknown future of fuel costs, the trend to reducing the weight of farm equipment is expected to continue. Components will continue to include composites as one means of accomplishing this goal. Advancements in the makeup of composites will bring more options to farm equipment.
Mar-Bal works with farm equipment OEMs to engineer and formulate composite materials for farming and manufacture solutions that will meet the stringent requirements of the farming industry.
Mar-Bal’s commitment to innovation, reliability, quality and customized solutions successfully meet the challenges of the farming industry. Combining the art and science of composite solutions is the hallmark of Mar-Bal’s success.
When you work with Mar-Bal, you get composites engineered and molded to your exact specifications, every time.