In recent years the comfort and the preservation of the health of the operators became central issues in the evolution of agricultural machinery and led to the introduction of devices aimed at improving working conditions. Thereby, for instance, the presence of air conditioner, soundproof cab and driver seat suspension became normal on agricultural tractors. The vibrations are one of the most complex issues to deal with, being determined by the characteristics and interaction of elements such as tyres, axles, mainframe, cab and seat suspension. In this respect, manufacturers are trying to improve their products, even integrating these elements with new devices such as the suspension on the front axle of the tractor, aimed at reducing the level of vibrations during the transfers at high speed. One of these underwent tests at CRA-ING. Since its purpose is to reduce the level of vibration transmitted to the driver, their measurements in different points of the tractor and in different operating conditions, were compared in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the device, expressed as time of exposure. The suspension system of the front axle is designed to absorb the oscillations (especially pitching) determined by irregularities in the road surface, allowing an increased control of the vehicle at high speed, as demonstrated by the test results and confirmed by the driving impressions outlined by the operator. The action of the device under these conditions results in an increase of the exposure time, important fact because of the relevance of the road transfer operations of tractors with mounted implements or trailers to tow and of the tendency to increase the speed limit for the road tractors (in Germany were brought to 50 km h–1 for several years). The action just described is less evident with increasing irregularity of the road surface and with the decrease of the travel speed. Nevertheless, in such conditions, the device appears to positively work along the other directions, in particular in the Z-axis, improving the action of the suspension of the driver seat.
vibrations, tractor suspensions, comfort, health protection.