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Alpego technology, all the qualities of the "Agile"

by Fabrizio Sereni
October 2021 | Back

Agile is an innovative machine designed by Alpego of Lonigo (Vicenza), for mechanical inter-row weeding in wine-growing crops. It consists of five elements (supporting frame, traversing system, tool group, transmission, accessory parts). The supporting structure consists of a main frame to which the tractor attachments are hooked at the front and the wheel attachments at the rear.

The tool-holder assemblies, on the other hand, are fitted at the ends of two pairs of hydraulic pistons, integral with the central frame: these allow the tool holders to move sideways, compensating for tractor movements and thus maintaining the tractor/implement combination on the crop rows. The translating system is controlled by an electro-hydraulic system equipped with sensors and feelers that intercept the line of plants by contact. Equipped with "BIOROTOR" rotary tools, each rotor has a working width of 25-30 centimetres in the area close to the under-row; the passage of the rotor is followed by that of the under-row blade with its own touching device that controls an independent hydraulic piston.

When it encounters an obstacle, the blade rotates backwards to avoid any collision and then returns to its working position. The movement of the external rotating units - explains the Vicenza-based manufacturer in a technical note - is generated by a patented central transmission equipped with an angular reduction gear and a cascade of gears connected to two telescopic shafts and controlled by the tractor's PTO. The wheel unit consists of two independent units moved by hydraulic cylinders that adjust the working depth. It is possible to exclude one of the two units by lowering the wheel on its side for single-row work. The control of the working depth and the adaptation to the variations of the soil profile are entrusted to two sensors that read the movement of the sliding feeler blades (they also perform the function of containing the tilled soil). One of the most innovative aspects of the Agile model is the self-centring system of the tool group, which uses the plants as a reference and in this way can both overcome any obstacles and guide the header keeping it in a central position with respect to the row (guaranteed correction of 100mm per side).

Alpego Agile offers top performance even in the most difficult working conditions, with hard or stony soils or with strong grass. Thanks to its high working speed, it is able to make a single pass per row working on both sides. However, the Agile model's greatest strength is its ability to carry out effective mechanical weed control operations that reduce the use of chemical products to a minimum, if not eliminate it altogether, ensuring maximum sustainability in vineyard and orchard work.

In addition, the machine stimulates the root growth of the plants because the working parts can intercept the superficial roots stimulating the plant to emit new ones, deeper than the previous ones. Finally, thanks to the possibility of working the soil in the row, Alpego Agile facilitates the flow of water and eliminates water stagnation near the plants’ collar.

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