Penny + Giles JC8000's Sensitivity Helps GRAMMER EiA Electronics Win Massey Ferguson Control Contract

Curtiss-Wright Controls Industrial has been supplying its Penny + Giles joystick controllers to GRAMMER EiA Electronics (formerly EiA Electronics) for many years, so when a more ruggedised joystick with improved feedback was required for the latest Massey Ferguson MF7600 series of tractors, GRAMMER EiA Electronics had no hesitation in turning to Penny + Giles for the solution.

Explaining the requirements for the new joystick, GRAMMER EiA Electronics' programme manager Marko Boving says that Massey Ferguson wanted a joystick controller with differentiated outputs on all the axes and an overpress function that would provide the positive feedback that is so important to Massey Ferguson's customers.

As a leading system integrator GRAMMER EiA Electronics is working with customers around the world to create ergonomic operator working environments for tractors, excavators, wheeled-loaders and fork-lift trucks. The company's multimedia operator interfaces, similar to BMW's i-Drive on road cars, are typically operated from its standard arm-rest range using custom joystick and handle solutions.

And this, as Marko Boving explains, is why GRAMMER EiA Electronics works closely with Penny + Giles.

"Penny + Giles already has an excellent range of joysticks, handles and interfaces so we don't need to develop our own such products. Consequently, we rely on their expertise from initial development right through to production. For this project we were asked to supply an alternative to a current Massey Ferguson joystick, with a specific requirement that it should provide the same feel and functionality. We passed a very detailed product and systems brief to Penny + Giles and they developed a joystick to our specification." He says.

An important element of the brief was the need for overpress functionality in every axis with improved feel on the shorter stroke, in order to achieve more direct and positive feedback. Penny + Giles latest 'ruggedised' JC8000 joystick controller already had the independent axis functionality built into its design and features a spring on each axis, which helped to achieve the desired forward and right directional operation as well as the operator feel that the customer wanted. The joystick always returns to centre but when it is pushed forward or right it provides a ‘click' to let the operator know that his instruction has been achieved. The vehicle electronics system from GRAMMER EiA Electronics recognises the overpress decision and translates it into a machine action e.g. return-to-dig or return-to-load.

Within the standard JC8000 design the outputs are configurable to meet the customer's requirements, making it a very flexible unit that can be programmed beyond the standard ‘square' outputs. The overpress facility is programmable to allow the JC8000 to deliver more travel in each direction, which in the GRAMMER EiA Electronics version is both right and forward. The joystick provides an analogue output that feeds into a CAN node on the vehicle's control arm.

The JC8000 is offered exclusively on MF7600 Series vehicles fitted with a front bucket. Standard operation employs switches but most buyers taking the bucket also choose the optional joystick, which is proving so popular with machine operators that it is almost a standard-fit item.

The heavy-duty JC8000 is a relative newcomer to the Penny + Giles joystick controller range, which has been specially engineered with a number of high-strength features. This makes it ideal for applications in physically-demanding working conditions such as skid steer loader controls or where operators traditionally use hydraulic joysticks. The increased strength of the JC8000 has been achieved by increasing the body material around the area supporting the operating lever; increasing the operating lever's diameter; and changing its pivot geometry. These fundamental changes have enabled the joystick to handle increased torque and improved the lever's bending and applied loads.

Designed for the most challenging applications, the JC8000 can withstand a 380Nm overload on the X and Y axes and 2000Nm on the vertical. It has also been tested to more than 60 million operations (15 million cycles) under laboratory conditions.

Summing up, Marko Boving says: "Penny + Giles created a very effective solution, developed and delivered a very reliable product, and we were absolutely satisfied with the service they provided throughout."

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