Henri Bertrandie is a farmer in central France who owns 250 hectares of grain fields, 50 hectares of which have very rocky and abrasive granite soil. Bertrandie’s farm was one of the test sites for new agricultural discs made by Forges de Niaux from ArcelorMittal’s newest grade of boron steel.
The lifespan of an agricultural disc has traditionally been linked to the type of soil in which it is used. But today, the speed of modern tractors is playing an important role in determining the longevity of a disc.
Bertrandie explains: “We use a harrow with 40 discs pulled by a 285 horsepower tractor. With the new Niaux 200 discs, we have seen much less wear, although we work at speeds of 10 to 12 kilometres per hour. The old discs only allowed us to work at 7 or 8 kilometres per hour.” As well as improving productivity, the new discs deliver a significant drop in fuel consumption and a sharp rise in efficiency.
After the large ploughing machine has come to a halt, Henri Bertrandie kneels down to inspect the discs. “We hit quite a few heavy stones but everything seems intact.” Then, picking up two pieces of rock: “These discs really have no difficulty in smashing up stones.”
The Niaux 200 agricultural disc uses a new grade of boron steel which ArcelorMittal specifically developed for applications where wear resistance is critical. As well as agricultural applications such as discs, boron steels are utilised in the construction and automotive industries.
“The obvious advantage of boron steel is its high tensile strength,” explains Patrick Pauwels, a member of ArcelorMittal’s Technical Client Team. “Even in an unquenched state all of our boron grades show very good resistance to wear and breakage.”