The objective of this investigation was to undertake research relating to, and the development of a prototype guard interlocking system suitable for use on self-propelled agricultural machinery; with particular consideration of combine harvester grain tanks. Recent agricultural accident statistics are reviewed with reference to self-propelled harvesting machinery and particularly harvester grain storage and discharge systems, to enable identification and assessment of potential risks. The feasibility of utilising guard interlocking safety systems to prevent combine grain tank and other related accidents is investigated, and alternative designs of guard interlocking systems considered. A guard interlocking system design , based upon human presence detection sensors was considered most suitable for the application, and was subsequently installed upon a representative modern combine harvester. The prototype system was demonstrated and subjected to limited field evaluation, during which it returned promising performance. Whilst requiring further commercial development and field testing, the investigation has demonstrated the potential feasibility and benefits of such a safety system in this application.
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