Back in 2010, Canadian hog farmer Jake Kraayenbrink started searching for a tire inflation system in North America that would work well in ag applications. His search turned up little results, so he traveled across the Atlantic to see what was being used on farms in Europe.
“On the first trip, we went to five countries and met with six manufacturers and several universities,” says Kraayenbrink. “However, we couldn’t get a company to sell us a system and support it. We weren’t comfortable with that, so we ended up buying an inflation system designed for the trucking system.”
Unfortunately that system proved to be inadequate for ag applications. “There is a big difference between the tires on a truck, which need high pressure and low volume, than for most ag equipment, which needs high volume and low pressure,” explains Kraayenbrink.
So Kraayenbrink, along with engineer Maurice Veldhuis and truck mechanic Steve Bailey, set out to build their own system: the Automatic Air Inflation Deflation (AAID). The system is marketed through Kraayenbrink’s company called AgriBrink.
AUTOMATIC AIR INFLATION DEFLATION
Unlike most of the air inflation systems available in Europe and the handful now available in North America, AAID releases air right at the tire through release valves. “This patented solution is what allows us to deflate so quickly – in as little as 20 seconds,” says Kraayenbrink. “With other systems on the market, the air has to go back through the hoses to one central place where it is released.”
When you deflate tires to the proper field inflation, the footprint expands by 60%. “This decreases soil compaction, reduces fuel use, and can extend tire life,” says Kraayenbrink.
There are three parts to the system:
- The air supply, which includes the air compressor, air tank, and hydraulic motor
- The air control, which is the AVT and ECU of the AgriBrink system
- The delivery system, which includes the swivels, valves, brackets, and hoses
To further set its capabilities apart, AAID also features an innovative controller. The controller logs the air pressure and speed of the tire over time – another patented feature. This log is available to the farmer to evaluate the condition of the tire and for warranty issues.
A toggle switch on the control box makes it easy to switch from road to field pressure. “Take a manure tanker tire for example. You need 40 pounds of pressure to go down the road at 30 mph and 20 psi in the field. Flip the toggle switch down to deflate to 20 psi and flip it up to go back to 40,” explains Kraayenbrink. While it varies based on the air compressor, in general AAID is able to inflate tires in 5 minutes.
A medium psi setting is also available, so when the tanker is empty the tire pressure is less to prevent tires from bouncing on the road.
In addition, the controller is built with ISO building blocks to further develop the system to ISO down the road.
At this time, AgriBrink is seeking dealers to market the AAID system. About 25 units have been sold in Ontario, primarily for manure tankers, as well as a system for a large seeder in Europe.
Kraayenbrink is also testing the technology on tractors and self-propelled sprayers. He is looking for demo sites in the U.S. and is willing to sell to interested American farmers.
Prices vary based on the system, but on average a four-tire system for a tanker runs at about $16,000 Canadian dollars or $12,400 in the U.S.