The Agriculture Mechanic Experimental Institute dated back at 1920 (Milan); it was instituted with the aim to coordinate own research activity with that one of Agriculture High Schools (nowadays University Department of Agriculture) promoting, through research as well as consultancy, the development of the national agriculture mechanic in order to adapt innovations to the demands of each Italian regions. In 1967, it became one of the Research Organizations of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and it took the name of ISMA – Agriculture Mechanization Experimental Institute, body governed by public law. In 1999, followed the 454 law, all the Organizations under the supervision of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, merged with the Agricultural Research Council and the ISMA transformed into the Agricultural Engineering Research Unit – CRA-ING, gaining new skills.
In all the developed countries, the research in agricultural engineering is considered strategic for the development of agriculture sector; in fact more than 70% of the total farm investment is focused on machineries, equipments and post harvesting structures. Though in our country, the agricultural machineries production is carried out mainly by small and medium-size enterprises, except some important firms, Italy is one of the first agricultural machineries producer in the world offering a large range of machines; thus it is becoming more and more important that the producers have an adequate scientific support to maintain global competitiveness.
So CRA-ING’s task is to carry out a research based on: 1. Facilities for water management; 2. Agricultural buildings; 3. Mechanization for animal and crop production, post harvesting; 4. Energy use in agriculture; 5. Logistics and safety; 6. Machineries and plants for products processing; 7. Optic, electronic and physical technological applications for fast and not destructing measurement; 8 Tests and certification on agricultural machineries.
CRA-ING is formed by the head office located in Monterotondo and the Research Laboratory in Treviglio (BG).
Optic, electronic and physical technological applications for fast and not destructing measurements: based on innovative technological studies (optoelectronic, sensors study), research activities are carried out with develop high technology applications for certification, safety and quality valorization of products and agro-food processing as well as risk or impact assessment in order to promote a sustainable agriculture. Prototypes development: fruits harvesting system for industry, chamomile harvest machine, electric system for artichoke harvesting as well as for grapes and its packaging. Prototypes for energy crops production both for herbaceous plants as prototypes for fiber sorghum harvesting, oil crops, machines for common cane and cynara cardunculus harvesting; woody crops prototypes for reducing implant costs, chipping prototype both for standing trees and for those previously felled and windrowed. Plants for biomass processing: research activities dealing with emissions in relation to the biomass used, the effects on health and on machines, methods to increase plants performance both for heat energy and for electric energy production. Forestry mechanization: compared analysis of machines performance and efficiency of working place management. Soil mechanics: studies and surveys were carried out on agricultural machineries and on relationship between external forces applied to the soil and effects on its functional qualities. Precision agriculture: monitoring of the physical-mechanical characteristics of the soil, samples automation and yield maps, quality of the products, way of running of the agricultural machine and workability. Reduced environmental impact assessment in agriculture: studies aimed to evaluate the efficiency/losses of sprayers as well as of fertilizer spreading machines distribution. Animal production mechanization: new technologies for farm animal especially for bovine holding, developing of new methods enable to give solutions to criticality of the system and find out methodologies serving to guarantee the quality and safety of animal production, in line with the European Union. Optimization of energy sources in greenhouse: researches related to climatological and spatial characteristics typical of the different production sites and logistical possibilities of finding alternative energy sources. Safety of agricultural machines. Ergonomic study of agricultural equipments, relief of physical factors (noise, vibration, microclimate, ….) in the fieldwork places, evaluation of risk from exposure to noise and vibrations sent both to whole-body and to hand-arm, assessment of microclimatic conditions into the cabins of tractors and agricultural self-propelled machines.
Certification and testing of tractors and machineries:
Tractors certification in the international frame of volunteer certification promoted by OCSE, together with 38 official testing centers in the world. Machineries certification according to ENAMA regulations recognized by ENTAM in European contest. CRA-ING is accredited by ACCREDIA according to the CEE 77/311, 82/890, 74/151 and 88/410 rules.
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