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Schildroth, product manager for Kinze Manufacturing. “The North American industry is now catching up with the original intent of ISO.”

In 2012, Kinze announced production of its ISOBUS line of planters, which will be available this spring. A compo- nent of its ISO system is a single monitor in the tractor cab that allows farmers to manage operations.

Case IH is developing its ISO Task Controller system, a module that will improve functionality and performance by electronically sending and receiving data between different brands of tractors and implements.

The system lets farmers plug into the ISO connector, and the task controller logs the work that’s been done, Mecham explains. Then those tasks can be cre- ated, displayed or exported via a USB stick and recorded.

“Part of the reason for moving for- ward with this technology is getting the customers up and running faster through

be able to get customers down to one monitor and for that reason, ISO needs to happen…

improved software,” Mecham says. “How can we make it more seamless?” One industry goal, Schildroth says, is to broaden the availability of automatic controls, where a farmer wouldn’t have to manually input seed-rate changes or import prescription maps. Cur- rently, only a handful of tractors and implements support automatic control through ISO. Kinze’s new line of ISOBUS planters will support the automated-control func- tion, which means farmers can automati-

I’d love to

cally view their prescription maps on the go and change their seeds rates without having to touch a button. “I still think we’re one or two years out from that advanced functionality of working with any brand or make of tractor or implement,” Schildroth says. “But most manufacturers are working to get it there.”

This is promising news for precision dealers who have to provide a broader array of electronic compatibility solu- tions for customers.

The evolution of ISOBUS will give dealers the ability to not only retain, but attract new customers, notes Carlson. “This has to do with how quickly customers are turning equipment over and if they are shopping around, they may not be loyal to anything. Then you are just chasing them,” he says. “With ISO, we will be able finish off deals we’ve been waiting on to pro- vide customers with a complete com- patibility package.”

International Group Works Toward ISOBUS Adoption

The concept of ISOBUS is still relatively new to the North American farming sector, and its origins are based on farmer preferences to use one brand of tractor with another brand of implement. The ISO 11783 standard — agreed on by ag equipment manu- facturers throughout the world — is designed to simplify electronic communication between different brands of farm machinery. The ultimate goal is to provide “plug-and-play” compatibility through the use of one ISOBUS terminal.

One challenge in ISOBUS adoption is the lack of a comprehen- sive certification process for ISO components. The Agricultural Industry Electronics Foundation (AEF), an inde- pendent group formed in 2008, is working toward a solution by developing a list of ISO-certified products, through extensive test- ing, says AEF secretary Ken Edwards.

“These conformance tests are going to determine the industry standard globally,” he says.

The independent conformance tests are being performed on

tractors, implements and other ISO components, like virtual ter- minals and control units, to determine if they meet the ISOBUS 11783 standard.

“If the product passes the conformance tests — which AEF has been working on for the last 4 years — it gets a certificate,” Edwards says. “Then it’s entered into the database that can be accessed by dealers to determine if a product is ISO-certified.” The database — which is actively being populated with products — provides a reference guide to ISO-compliant components and will help reduce confusion about compatibility, Edwards says. “If a customer calls his dealer and is having trouble running

his Deere tractor with a Case IH planter, the dealer can run the serial numbers in the database to check their ISO compatibility,” he explains. “You can tell right away from troubleshooting what the problem is.”

The goal is less downtime for farmers because dealers will be able to identify compatibility problems sooner. Another benefit of the database is that it will give farmers better information about ISO-capabilities at the point of purchase.

“If the farmer is buying a new planter, he might want to select something that is compatible with his tractor,” Edwards says. “Today, it’s a bit of a lottery, and they may not get the efficiency out of the implement because it’s not completely compatible with the tractor.”

Conformance testing is only the first stage of improving compat- ibility between farm components, Edwards notes. AEF has six other groups working on different elements of ISO. These include:

Functional Safety of Electronic Controls: Designing and applying safety-related application guidelines for all manufacturers of ag equipment according to ISO 11783. Engineering and Implementation: Coordinating the market introduction of new ISOBUS features across the ag industry, along with monitoring of ISO engineering and imple- mentation processes.

Service and Diagnostics: Servicing combined ISOBUS sys- tems from different OEMs with tangible results to include quick and efficient troubleshooting. Sequence Control: Defining the sequence-control system with items that blends tractor and implement functions into a single system.

Marketing and Communication: Assuming marketing responsibility for ISOBUS technology both in the ag equipment industry and the general farming community. High Voltage: Working out a proposition for the standardiza- tion of an interface on the tractor providing external implements or components with electric power.


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