Suffolk engineer creates soil sampler machine to help farmers
PUBLISHED: 14:32 18 July 2017
An engineering entrepreneur has invented a new machine which he hopes will save farmers from an exhausting round of soil sampling by hand.
Bury St Edmunds-based Christian Deas, founder of iDeas Design Consultants, was commissioned by East Anglian company Keith Mount Liming to create a bespoke machine which would put an end to the labour-intensive process of taking samples.
The result has been a piece of equipment capable of taking nearly 17,000 samples, known as cores, a day – instead of around 2,500 in the same period.
“Soil sampling is such a vital technique, but it was clear from the client’s description of their current activity that it was taking a huge amount of time and effort – mostly by hand,” said Mr Deas..
“They were plotting out fields, then hopping off a quad bike at each stop and taking a sample with a drilling device known as an auger. Naturally, this was an exhausting process which meant they couldn’t have collated more than around 2,500 cores in any working day.”
Using his design engineering skills, and having worked with agricultural businesses in the region, Christian was quickly able to translate the requirement into a product which will transform the way the business operates.
“My design is now towed behind the quad bike, and captures around one sample every three metres, as it travels, so there’s no more need to get on and off, or to use the auger by hand,” he explained.
“In fact, the only time the quad needs to stop is when the sampler needs emptying.”
Christian believes the new device could be transformational for many more agricultural businesses across the UK. He has already been tasked to create a soil tester for the client, following the successful trial completion.
“Agriculture is a changing and challenging world, and one of the central objectives of my new company, particularly given that I am based in East Anglia, was to see how I could use my skills to serve business people in this sector,” he said.
“I’m really confident that machines like this latest invention could make a huge time and cost saving for rural companies, and I look forward to hearing from other firms who, like my client, knew that they needed to do something to keep up with the pace and adopt a better automated approach.”
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