Vineyard post driver

This innovative solution won an award from the Nelson Tasman Chamber of Commerce.

A local grape grower approached FPS with a request: could they automate a post driver to ensure he could place posts in straight lines? The grower wanted to avoid the time consuming work of measuring distances and the possibility of human error. Equal distances between rows would also mean tractors and other wheeled equipment could drive between rows without worry.

FPS’ lead designer Gary Allen worked on an innovative solution. He designed the steering to be fitted with an electronic linear transducer to ensure control of the steering direction and modified the steering hydraulics. A laser receiver was fitted to an extension arm and an automated hydraulic levelling system was fitted to the post driver. Finally, a hydraulic ripping bar was fitted to the under-carriage of the tractor.

The final result is a totally automated steering system that follows a laser emitter placed 750m away down the vineyard. The degree of accuracy of the posts is +/- 20mm, and the posts are driven in perfectly level, regardless of the camber of the ground.

FPS was pleased when the post driver won that year’s innovation award at the Chamber of Commerce Business Awards. Since then, FPS has built more of these machines for other clients.