Maintenance free openers – Dnipropetrovsk scientists’ revolutionary development!

The main results of the development of disc-hoe openers of wide-cut sowing machines Turbosem II 19-60, requiring the lowest maintenance with increased service reliability are presented. Field tests proved the working ability of the developed opener, the non-requirement for the maintenance of sliding joints and the full compliance with all agrotechnical requirements for assembly units.

The experience in operating the sowing machines “Turbosem II 19-60” of Agro-Soyuz showed that sliding joints of disc-hoe openers, so-called collars of the lower parallelogram, guide marker, opener safety systems, lever collar of press-wheel coverers must undergo maintenance every 48 hours. Under conditions of high-intensity field works, every hour spent on the sowing machine maintenance costs insufficient sowing of 6-10 ha. Every 48 hours the machine has to be stopped for 3-3.5 hours for maintenance. After 528 operating hours, losses of the insufficient sowing are about 220 ha, time and the cost of the maintenance (33 man-hours) must also be taken into account.

The purpose of the work was to develop a fundamentally new disc-hoe opener that wouldn’t require maintenance, and service life of its sliding joints should be as close as possible to the service life of a sowing machine. Analysis of the existing modern designs of the various types of openers showed that all of them require constant and intensive maintenance. In addition, some models of hoed seeding machines have a large number of lubrication points.

Scientific Research Laboratory of Dnipropetrovsk State Agrarian and Economic University has considerable experience in creation and comprehensive study of new composite materials of nonmetallic origin with unique properties: high temperature and wear resistance, low friction coefficient and specific weight (5 times less than that of steel). Taking this into consideration, under the agreement on research and practice collaboration between Dnipropetrovsk State Agrarian and Economic University and Research and Development Enterprise Soyuz-Composite, LLC, tasks of developing of a special material with given properties for work on specified assembly units were set up. It was recommended to use the specially-modified composite material with the solid lubrication in its structure that has necessary properties: elasticity, hardness, friction coefficient, works without wear under the conditions of abrasive friction.


A production tests were performed in the village of Maiske of the Synelnykove District of the Dnipropetrovsk Region in the territory of Agro-Soyuz, PJSC from 21.04.2014 to 14.05.2014. The tests were conducted under the control of the leading experts, scientists of Dnipropetrovsk State Agrarian and Economic University and Harran University (Turkey). Sowing machine “Turbosem II 19-60”, completed with openers, performed standard tasks. For the objectivity of the results, experimental openers were installed in different places of the sowing machine. Meanwhile, in contrast with the series manufactured openers, no maintenance was conducted on the experimental openers.


After the cultivation of 866 ha, the technical conditions of the experimental openers were checked, after which the test was continued. During this period, the result of the work of the machine was 1932 ha and there were 9 stops for maintenance. After all that, the development of experimental openers was carried out. The measurement with the micrometer showed that the experimental collars were in a great condition of the final fitting, had full functionality, and there was no need to carry out maintenance services. This shows a significant positive economic impact. At the same time, the corrosion and uneven wear of metal parts prevented the smooth disassembly of the series manufactured openers.


In July, the machine was fully completed with the experimental openers and started the sowing of green manure crops, and since August 2014 continued the work on the sowing of lucerne and winter rape. All works were carried out on the agricultural background of the stubble remains of early grain crops. The sowing technology no-till was performed without carrying out of preliminary works of the field surface. It is remarkable that by  the 1st of August, the green manure crops, sowed in the middle of July, sprouted, confirming the strict observance of agro-requirements to experimental openers.

It should be mentioned that for all the time, the control of the technical conditions of the experimental openers was carried out, the adjustments of some joints, which were breaking-in, were performed. No other maintenance services were conducted for the whole time of testing of the new product! Operators had no remarks on the machine, no deviations from the technological sowing have been found.

As at the 13th of August, the result of work of the machine was 3,206.5 ha, in the meantime, a significant quantity of the plastic lubrication was saved, the time of maintenance services was reduced, and the seed productivity rose by 5-7%.


Since the beginning of the test, the result of the work of the machine is 9,179.5 ha without maintenance of the specified elements. Concerning this innovation, 2 positive decisions on the grant of patents of Ukraine for invention were obtained. Moreover, the “Development of the sowing machine completed with maintenance-free openers” was approved for the Prize of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine for development and implementation of innovative technologies, in addition, the invention was registered in the National Register of Records of Ukraine in the nomination “The largest area sowed by using a sowing machine without the maintenance service of sliding joints”.

Simultaneously with the creation of the technology of implementation of polymer composite group in new sowing machines, the technology of renovation of machines, that were in operation and require repairing, was developed. This technology provides for the transportation of machine sections to the service centre with their further disassembling on the spot. This is due to difficulties during disassembling/assembling of sliding joints, caused by corrosion mass, defects, etc.

Repaired machines may be maintained at farms without transportation to a service centre. This is due to the materials corrosion resistance, amenability during repair, low ware rate, the impossibility of damage of the metal group and the highest geometry preservation of counterparts.

As a conclusion based on the laboratory and real field works, it has been shown that using the developed composite parts is possible and reasonable. The idea significantly reduces working hours on maintenance service and increases daily output of the sowing machine in accordance with all agrotechnical requirements and the regulations!