A mechatronic Depth Control system for efficient rotating harrows

With the innovative Depth Control system designed by Rima for rotating harrows it is possible to monitor the length of teeth and to adjust automatically and precisely the soil working depth. With the 25% saving of time and fuel.


An innovation that will allow manufacturers to improve their technologies and users to increase productivity, to save time and fuel, to decrease the costs and the wear of machinery and to improve safety. It has been invented, patented and released on the international market by Rima (Brescia, Italy), a company specialized in the production of components for machinery used in agriculture, building and in the industrial sector.

Rima has designed and patented Depth Control, an innovative mechatronic system for rotating harrows.
Rima has designed and patented Depth Control, an innovative mechatronic system for rotating harrows.

It is Depth Control, a mechatronic system designed for mounting on rotating harrows that can be anyway used also on other ground working equipment. It allows controlling the length of teeth and adjusting in automatic and extremely precise manner the soil work depth, with significant benefits in terms of yield. This important novelty has been developed in collaboration with Oleodinamica Geco, which has supplied the electronic control motor adapted to this specific applicative requirement.

An idea born on the field

The input to develop the Depth Control has come just from those who are accustomed to using the rotating harrows daily to prepare the seedbed after ploughing and must estimate by eye at what depths their machinery must work. A depth that must always be the “right” one in relation to a series of parameters not to overload the equipment and to wear out teeth too quickly.
Today, with Depth Control, farmers can manage automatically, directly from the cabin through a touchscreen display, their operations, with a time and fuel saving estimated in around 25% and with a consequent minor overall machinery wear. How does the Depth Control operate? Rima engineers have worked for more than one year to design, to test and to patent this mechatronic solution: the system they have developed, when the harrow is on the field, allows reading the tooth length by means of some sensors and it is precisely this the invention introduced by Brescia company’s engineers.

Geco Oleodinamica has supplied the electronic control motor for the operation of this solution.
Oleodinamica Geco has supplied the electronic control motor for the operation of this solution.

The user, according to this datum that is transmitted to the PLC, will set then the equipment work height that will be automatically adjusted by hydraulic cylinders that lift and lower the equipment. The difficulty in designing this solution resided precisely in implementing a magnetic reading system that emits a beam into the metal mass. To read the tooth length, the beam has been shielded and they have implemented specific sensors that are protected against whatever possibility of environmental contamination. The sensors transmit the datum to a control unit that controls the hydraulic system; the latter intervenes on the rear roller keeping the working depth constant. The Depth Control is ideal to be mounted on new big-size harrows; for each model, in fact, it is necessary to study the adaptations according to the equipment typology. It is not therefore a standard solution but it must be customized: in practice, Rima technicians, starting from the 3D design of the customer’s equipment, engineer the attachment of the Depth Control that becomes integral part of the harrow. The saving that the user can attain in terms of both time and money allows paying back the initial investment in the lapse of little more than one year.

The collaboration with Oleodinamica Geco

The other novelty introduced by Rima, and for which the collaboration with Oleodinamica Geco was strategic, concerns the levelling bar used to break up the soil: also for the operation of this mechanism they have invented a solution that allows lowering and lifting it no more manually but directly from the display in the cabin. To reach this result, Oleodinamica Geco has studied in detail the entire mechatronic system and has supplied a hydraulic motor equipped with encoder that allows the operator to adjust also the motion of the levelling bar through PLC. The motor has been mounted on a specific pair of brackets sliding in the two senses and integral with the bar, it is equipped with a special sensor that produces an electric signal that, opportunely processed by Rima central unit, allows achieving the useful information for the regulation. The solution developed by Rima and by Oleodinamica Geco allows then not only saving time and money and executing more precise operations but also safeguarding the operator’s safety.

Depth Control permits the self-reading of the tooth length and the automatic adjustment of the depth at which the machinery must work.
Depth Control permits the self-reading of the tooth length and the automatic adjustment of the depth at which the machinery must work.

An international company with a bent for innovation

Rima company started its activity in 1972 manufacturing parking jacks and steel wheels. Over the years, the company has grown and widened, developing new productive lines, staking on the introduction of forefront technologies ad on the opening to new markets and applications.

Rima S.p.A. offers its customers as many as 4 divisions: production of parking jacks and mechanical/hydraulic landing gears, production of hydraulic cylinders upon customers’ design, production of slewing rings and industrial slewing rings with and without toothing, sales department with warehouse of the entire product range of the various sectors, as completion of customers’ demands.

Today Rima Group can rely on almost 45 years of experience. The company, with headquarters at Montichiari, in Brescia province, is present in over 50 Countries on a global scale, has an organization of production plants in Italy and Europe, sales branches and a widespread distribution net. The components manufactured by the Lombard company find applications in over 150 categories of machines and equipment.

Oleodinamica Geco S.r.l. started its activity in 1962 and it was the pioneer in the design and manufacturing of hydraulic motors in Italy, concentrating that activity in Piedmont. Already in the Seventies, it landed in the USA, where it mechanized the first equipment with which the first oil wells in Texas were perforated. Today it can boast a distribution worldwide, with a diffused sale network. Thanks to the constant commitment lavished in R&D in 2000 and in 2002 the Piedmont company won two International Novelty Awards, just already centred on the axis control, and still today it is boosted to reach further innovative targets, like the one stemmed from the collaboration with Rima S.p.A.