New destoner web from Griff
Black Country-based manufacturer, Griff Group, has put its new destoner web through tough durability tests.
The company is the web manufacturer of choice for machine manufacturers and some of Europe’s largest crop growers with two centuries of chain making heritage.
Therefore, it claims it understands the importance of strength in harsh conditions.
As its commercial manager, David Wood, explained:
“Destoner webs experience the toughest conditions of machines in the field. Therefore, it is important for us to test their durability before customer use.”
“During the destoning process, the web sees extreme conditions that can potentially reduce the lifespan of the web.”
He stated that the amount of material on the machine, combined with long working hours during destoning season, can be detrimental to the web’s integrity.
He said that “we are also seeing tighter and tighter timescales for modern farmers”.
This, he said, means it is becoming even more important to minimise downtime where the company can.
The firm has tested its newest rods in a lab to understand how it can “make them as durable as possible”.
Griff joined forces with the University of Birmingham to test the grain structure and strength of its web rods.
The project aimed to see how web rod heavy duty centres (HDCs) could be improved for modern farmers, following an upgrade to the manufacturing equipment that creates them.
Dr Richard Turner, research fellow, University of Birmingham, said:
“We tested the new heat treatment used by Griff, along with the additional 80% of steel used in the HDC, to determine strength and ductility compared to its old heat treatment method.”
“Through various tests, we discovered the new webs’ strength, flexibility, and internal properties, finding the new heat-treated steel exhibited much higher strength than previous models.”
“With this type of material, it is often a trade-off between toughness and strength. If a material is too strong, it can be brittle.”
“Therefore, it is important to promote toughness, strength, and flexibility,” he added.
The uni’s analysis of the internal fractography of the new rod revealed the arrangement of the fractured cross-sections were a microstructure that promotes both “excellent” strength and the required flexibility to maintain structural integrity for a “considerable” amount of time.
Essentially, the research found the tested web rods can achieve the optimum mechanical properties of strength and durability for an HDC during use.
He said the university recognised the need to advance its current destoner webs by improving the rods it uses.
“Some of our end-users are working with webs that are destoning for 14 hours per day, with stones weighing over 50kgs.”
“This means there can be two tonnes of material on a web at any given time. Therefore, it was important to focus on improving the toughness of the material to reduce downtime,” explains David.
“The centre of the web is where it experiences the most force. This is often also the least supported part of the web. It can be easy for this section to give way and cause significant downtime.”
To combat this, the firm developed a new web rod with a heavy-duty centre.
David claims that in addition to the new heat treatment, these rods have 80% more material in the middle section to account for the additional weight and improve overall robustness.
Having fine-tuned the product and completed academic testing, it is now beta testing webs in fields.
“We want to understand the exact lifespan of the rods and web, so we can best reduce downtime during destoning season,” concluded Woods.
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