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An agricultural tea-harvesting vehicle built in the UK is using Brevini’s wheel drives.

The Brevini wheel-drive units permit a much neater design solution than axle drives and provide greater clearance for rough-terrain vehicles.

Tea harvesting is a tough process that requires vehicles that can withstand damp, dirty and uneven conditions while operating reliably.

Harvesting machines need to work in a host of inhospitable conditions ranging from rain-sodden, muddy fields, to areas so dry that dust ingress poses a constant problem.

These conditions mean that traditional transmission solutions are often unsuitable for use; fortunately Brevini wheel drives provide a solution.

The wheel drives incorporate a simple but robust gear design and are supplied in pairs with a built-in hydraulic motor and mechanical braking, available in left- and right-hand configurations.

They use a compact planetary drive system, which is designed for self-propelled vehicles and provide greater ground clearance on rough terrain than conventional drive systems, which require a fixed axle.

The wheel drives employ the efficient combination of a Brevini planetary gear unit and high-speed hydraulic motor.

This combination is more economical than using large slow-speed hydraulic motors alone and offers significant operating advantages.

In the event of hydraulic-fluid contamination, only the inexpensive package motor needs to be replaced and this can be removed and refitted in minutes, without having to jack up the entire unit.

The gearbox / motor combination can produce extremely low speeds and high torque when required.

Brevini’s wheel-drive units provide drive-torque capacities between 1,000 and 38,000Nm and radial-load ratings up to 200,000N.

The units supplied for the tea harvester were from the RF range.

Each unit used a two-stage reduction gearbox with a ratio of 25:1 and an SU2 plug-in male shaft.

The RJ series is ideal for use on self-propelled vehicles that have individually motorised wheels.

The drives incorporate a mechanical disconnect device.

This is manually operated from the hub end-pate and enables a vehicle to be towed in an emergency.

A range of braking options are available with the drives, including double-action drum brakes, hydraulic-service braking and mechanically activated parking brakes; this functions as an emergency fail-to-safe brake should the hydraulic pressure fail and is an important safeguard for any vehicle.

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