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The vacuum meter system gently pulls and holds individual seeds to the holes of the seed disk for population control and spacing accuracy, equaling better crop stands and profit. Vacuum seed meters can plant a wide variety of crops and seed types by simply changing seed disks and adjusting vacuum level. Vacuum seed meters are available for planters with MaxEmerge™ 5 row-units.
Additional features of the vacuum seed meter include:
Vacuum meter seed disks
The ProMAX 40 Flat Disk: The flat-disk planting solution field-proven to work since 1991
The MaxEmerge 5 Meter shape has also been redesigned for better seed flow. The current production mini-hopper is starved of seed when operating on side hills greater than 9 degrees. The enhancements made to the mini-hopper design with this program allow the planter to successfully operate on side hills up to 14 degrees. This correlates to the planter able to run on a 55 percent greater slope without loss in meter performance.
Both the MaxEmerge 5 vacuum meters are equipped with a heavy-duty hub spring and disk latching handle. The spring ensures the seed disk stays properly positioned when operating flat-style seed disks and higher vacuum levels. Proper seed disk positioning means repeatable seed singulation, time after time. The disk latching handle is designed for easy operation and effortless seed disk changeover. The hub is also machined to tight tolerances to further ensure alignment of metering components.
The vacuum seed meter is capable of operating at faster planting speeds than mechanical meters (up to 8 mph). However, planting accuracy will be influenced by seedbed conditions and the operating characteristics of the seed meter. Rough seedbeds and fast planting speeds (above 8.9 kmh [5.5 mph]) typically deteriorate seed placement accuracies when using seed tube technology.
The chart illustrates the effect operating speed has on population when using the vacuum meter. The operating band (color area) illustrates how the vacuum meter performs in relation to the desired population (indicated by horizontal line). The width of the band is due to various sizes and shapes of seeds and planting rate variations.
When operating on slopes above 15 degrees, increased or decreased population may result. To minimize this effect, reduce speed and consider using a flat style seed disk with increased vacuum level.
Vacuum is created by a hydraulically driven vacuum blower assembly mounted on the planter frame. The vacuum blower requires a tractor with a closed-center hydraulic system and a separate selective control valve (SCV). For tractors with open-center hydraulic system, a vacuum 540- or 1000-rpm power take-off (PTO)-driven hydraulic pump system is available. PTO pumps offered from the factory are limited to 15 row applications or less. For applications of 16 rows or more, contact a John Deere dealer.
Vacuum blower assembly capabilities and reliability continue to improve with time. The increased reliability of today's vacuum blowers (since 2006) can be attributed to a larger displacement case drain motor (3.5 cc vs. 2.2 cc) driving a larger diameter blower fan of 47-cm vs. 44-cm (18-5/8 in. vs. 17 3/8-in.) that runs at a slower speed, providing the same amount of vacuum pressure at the seed meter. Another advantage of the larger-diameter fan and larger-displacement case drain pump is that it eliminates the need for a second vacuum blower assembly on a 12-row planter when using a flat seed disk. Current vacuum motors are capable of providing vacuum for 12 row-units running flat disks, or 16 row-units running celled disks.
Different vacuum levels are required depending on the crop to be planted. A hydraulic control valve lets the operator regulate vacuum blower speed, thus changing the vacuum level. On late model John Deere tractors, vacuum levels are set from the tractor seat using the SCV TouchSetTM controls. The control valve is not needed. At full flow, the system flows up to five gpm per motor. Only very large seed or flat seed disks require this much flow.
Convenient vacuum gauges located on the planter hitch give a visual indication of the vacuum level. When using a SeedStar™ monitor, the vacuum level can be displayed on the monitor. Consult the vacuum metering seed charts in the operator's manual for initial vacuum setting recommendations.
John Deere has been making this flat disk since 1991. The ProMAX 40 Flat is designed as a component of the entire John Deere VacuMeter™ system with the intention that the producer will not have to buy a hopper to make it work.
The design of the ProMAX 40 Flat, as well as the positioning of the disk within the meter, allow seed to be released from the optimum position above the seed tube. The Flush-Face seed tube allows seed to drop uninterrupted through the tube, so every seed is properly released into the tube, and every seed clears the tube with even spacing.
The ProMAX 40 Flat does not have cupped cells to help carry the seed, but rather utilizes flat holes and a higher vacuum level to ensure every hole is populated with one or more seeds. A double eliminator gently removes all but one seed at each hole for precise population control. A knockout wheel makes certain that each hole is clear of any debris after the seed is released from the disk.
Seed disks are made of a durable plastic composition. The unique cell disk design allows planting a variety of seed sizes without any additional parts or individual meter adjustments. Another advantage of cell-type seed disks is the lower vacuum requirement compared to flat-style seed disks. Lower vacuum levels mean less hydraulic demand from the tractor.
Both the MaxEmerge and Pro-Series vacuum seed meters can also utilize flat-style seed disks. These disks are recommended in crops where seed is typically difficult to singulate due to inconsistent seed size or shapes, or on slopes where achieving target populations can be difficult. Flat seed disks do not have a cell to help carry the seed, and thus require higher levels of vacuum to meter seed. Flat-style seed disks do require additional meter components to operate.
A double eliminator and knockout wheel assembly is needed to singulate seeds when using a flat seed disk. The knockout wheel is installed in place of the wiper used with celled disks.
The MaxEmerge 5 vacuum meter has an external, adjustable double eliminator. This double eliminator uses a knob with numbers to indicate where it should be set for different crops. This feature makes achieving a high level of singulation easier and more consistent.
The adjustment knob is capable of 21 unique positions. The dial is numbered zero through ten in increments of one, but the gearing allows for half increment adjustments as well.
Adjustment time for this double eliminator is estimated to be 10 seconds per row unit, with repeatable results. This means that adjustment can be made three times faster than Pro-Series XP™ units, and eight times faster than MaxEmerge XP units.
Flat and celled type seed metering disks are available to allow planting a wide variety of seed types.
Mini-hopper row-units, which are used only with the Central Commodity System (CCS™) are compatible only with crops that the CCS is approved to plant.
NOTE: Due to small seed size and low planting populations, sugar beets can be planted with mini-hopper style meters by adding hopper extensions and not using the CCS tank. These hopper extensions can also be used for planting test plots.
IMPORTANT: Proper seed disk selection is essential for optimum seed meter performance.
All planters with vacuum metering systems have case drain motors on the vacuum blowers. As of May 2004, all case drain lines will have a flush-face case drain coupler on the planter and will require a corresponding flush-face case drain coupler on the tractor. The flush-face coupler simplifies implement attachment by allowing operators to easily identify the case drain. The unique hose tip is unable to hook into another coupler on the tractor, ensuring the correct setup.
It is important to hook up this case drain hose to prevent the continuous and complete draining of hydraulic fluid due to the relief feature that opens the coupler when the pressure reaches 10 psi. This relief feature is designed to protect the motor shaft seal if for any reason the case drain hose was not connected to the tractor. The flush-face hose tips have less back pressure than International Organization for Standardization (ISO) case drain tips, and the flat surface makes these couplers easy to clean, providing less chance for contamination.
The case drain line is also used with all CCS fan motors.
The Pro-series TR and MaxEmerge TR row-units provide the same extra performance, extra productivity, extra precision, and extra profitability of the XP row-units for the twin-row market. The narrow profile of the TR brings the twin-row planter to life. Twin rows can be placed as close as 19 cm (7.5 in.) apart while utilizing much of the design and durability of MaxEmerge™ XP and Pro-Series XP™. While the row-units may look quite different, there are many similarities.
These similarities can be found throughout the design of the TR row-unit starting with the ductile iron-cast shank. Ductile-iron casting is a unique high-tech process that produces a single-piece row-unit shank that replaces the traditional 13-piece welded shank. The properties of ductile-iron castings are such that they deflect without bending, withstand great impact without cracking, and can be machined to close tolerances for precise alignment of mating components - perfect properties for a row-unit shank.
Another one of the trademark capabilities of John Deere planters has always been the ability of the
Tru-Vee™ openers to provide a perfect seed furrow acre after acre in all types of field conditions. The TR row-unit utilizes the same long-life components that reduce maintenance time and provide value to the grower in reduced cost of ownership over the life of the planter.
The thickness of the Tru-Vee opener blades was increased from 3.0 mm to 3.5 mm with the introduction of the XP row-units. This increased opener blade thickness will provide 20 percent longer wear-life.
Consistent depth control is crucial to seed placement and even emergence. John Deere planters provide consistent seed-depth control in all field conditions. Depth control is a function of the Tru-Vee openers, the downforce system, and the gauge wheel assembly.
The gauge wheels for the TR row-units are made from the same durable nylon composition as the XP but only 6.35-cm (2.5-in.) wide. This narrow design accommodates the twin-row configuration. Pneumatic downforce is included in base with the TR row-units and provide an infinitely adjustable application up to 181.80 kg (400 lb). Rubber tire closing systems are used for the most conventional, minimum-till and no-till planting conditions. Level of spring force is easily set with the integrated T-handle adjustment for the closing attachment.
Additional closing wheel options include: