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Jun 27, 2018

Gold Country Hydraulics: Steerable Wheel Motors

Gold Country Hydraulics specializes in hydraulic repair and design as well as in building fruit harvesting equipment. They are located in Northern California, with locations in both Chico and Orland, CA, and their offering includes a number of different shakers, receivers, and bin carriers. Gold Country Hydraulics strives to provide farmers with access to top-of-the-line, machines that offer many of the same features as custom-modified commercial orchard equipment. The benefits that their shakers and receivers bring farmers include improved durability, decreased cost per hour to run, and increased acres per hour. Terry Tompkins of Gold Country Hydraulics recently shared his experience with Poclain Hydraulics’ products and their role in helping Gold Country deliver these benefits.

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MG05 vs Gearbox and Wheel Motor Design

In looking to deliver these added benefits for their customers, Gold Country decided to improve the design of their axles in order to slim down the machine and give it a shorter turning radius. After examining their options, they decided to move away from a gearbox and wheel motor design in favor of Poclain Hydraulics’ MG05 steerable wheel motor. This solution allowed them to reduce the width on their shakers/receivers and bin carriers. When compared to a gearbox and wheel motor design, Poclain Hydraulics’ MG05 steerable wheel motor offers a durable and significantly more compact design, as well as precise steering accuracy. “It’s taken our steer radius down by 30% and taken our space savings up. In other words if you built an axle, it would be say 6’ long, and then you add another 18” to either side to get to the wheel center. A lot of that was too wide for what we were doing, so we had to use other means.” Terry Tompkins, Gold Country Hydraulics Director shared, “[The MG05] could take anywhere from 12-15 inches out of an assembly, which made things a lot better for us.” By combining three components (gearbox, motor, and brake) into one, the MG05 allows for closer wheel centers and a slimmer machine than would be possible with an axle design. This translates to a smaller turn radius and increased productivity for the customer.

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Reduced Maintenance

When evaluating the purchase of a new machine, total cost of ownership has a strong influence on the purchase decision for farmers. Reducing maintenance is key to reducing the total cost of ownership, and increasing machine up time. The MG05 combines three components to reduce the possible points of failure, and to eliminate the need to service gearboxes or brakes. “The durability has been excellent on most of what we do – gets our hours of production way up without problems, we don’t have gear oils to mess with and there’s no service – you don’t have to service that piece.” Terry continued, “Maintenance guys are starting to like this part more and more because it’s outlasting their gear boxes, probably 2:1 and they just don’t have to deal with servicing it, it either works or it doesn’t.” In terms of increasing machine durability, the MG05 offers a few features that set it apart. Rigid plumbing that does not turn with the motor means less wear and tear on the hoses. The MG05’s built in camber angle not only improves steering ability, but also reduces tire wear. Additionally, the forged casting steering frame provides the sought after ruggedness that is so important in agricultural applications. Terry goes on to share, “It [the MG05] is actually a stronger part because it’s forged and cast”

Eased Production

The MG05 reduces fabrication time and installation cost by eliminating the need to fabricate an axle and reducing the number of pieces that need to be installed. It also frees up space to streamline design and engine placement. Gold Country Hydraulics reported a space savings of 25% realized with the MG05. With a 6500 psi rating, there is no need to make sacrifices to power to save space. “[The MG05] has allowed us to put 10lbs in a 5lb bag and still have room to work. It’s a space saver, big time space saver.’

Poclain Service/Support

Throughout the design and production process, Poclain Hydraulics and their local distributor have partnered with Gold Country Hydraulics to help ensure the success of their machines through heavy testing on-site as well as remotely. The collaborative relationship between Gold Country Hydraulics and Poclain Hydraulics has allowed for improvements in design that bring more benefit to the customer. Terry finished by saying: “Wherever we’re going, we’re hoping that Poclain goes with us.”