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Title:
APPARATUS FOR SEPARATING FEED
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2015/167327
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Apparatus for separating feed provided with a grabber with a cutting plate and a rear arm. The cutting plate is provided with a bottom edge with a knife. The rear arm is provided with a base plate and can be moved between an open position and a closed position wherein the base plate and the cutting plate engage each other. The grabber can be moved up and down along a linear guide.

Inventors:
LIET, Cornelis Hendricus (Denekamperdijk 38, TJ Losser, NL-7581, NL)
Application Number:
NL2015/050284
Publication Date:
November 05, 2015
Filing Date:
April 28, 2015
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
LIET, Cornelis Hendricus (Denekamperdijk 38, TJ Losser, NL-7581, NL)
International Classes:
A01F25/20; A01K5/02
Domestic Patent References:
WO2008118005A12008-10-02
Foreign References:
DE9208490U11992-09-03
EP1516530A12005-03-23
US0938338A1909-10-26
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DE VRIES & METMAN et al. (Overschiestraat 180, 1062 XK Amsterdam, NL)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. Apparatus for separating feed provided with a grabber with a cutting plate and a rear arm, wherein the cutting plate is provided with a bottom edge with a knife, and wherein the rear arm is provided with a base plate, which rear arm can be moved between an open position and a closed position wherein the base plate and the cutting plate engage each other, characterised in that the grabber can be moved up and down along a linear guide.

2. Apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the linear guide comprises a roller guide and/or a rack and pinion guide. 3. Apparatus according to claim 1 or 2, wherein the linear guide comprises two parallel raised sections.

4. Apparatus according to one of the preceding claims, wherein the linear guide inclines forwards in the direction of a guantity of feed to be separated.

5. Apparatus according to one of the preceding claims, wherein the cutting plate is provided with two side walls extending in the direction of the rear arm, wherein the side walls have a bottom edge at essentially the same height as the bottom edge of the cutting plate, wherein the bottom edges are provided with knives .

6. Apparatus according to claim 5, provided with a shut-off plate or valve for shutting off the open side of the space enclosed by the side walls and the cutting plate, which valve can be moved between a closed position and an open position.

7. Apparatus according to one of the preceding claims, wherein the rear arm is a swivel arm which can be rotated vis-a-vis the cutting plate between the said open position and the said closed position.

8. Apparatus according to claim 7, wherein the rear arm is hinged vis-a-vis the cutting plate by means of a rack and pinion mechanism. 9. Apparatus according to one of the preceding claims, wherein the grabber is mounted on a support arm along which the grabber can be moved horizontally by means of a linear guide, for instance a rack and pinion mechanism. 10. Apparatus according to one of the preceding claims provided with one or more sensors for determining the quantity of feed in the grabber in the closed position.

11. Apparatus according to claim 10, wherein the one or more sensors are designed for measuring the average height of a separated slice of feed.

12. Apparatus according to claim 10 or 11, provided with a control unit and weighing means for weighing the weight of a separated slice of feed, wherein the control unit is

programmed to calculate the specific weight of the feed on the basis of the measurement by the weighing means and the one or more sensors, and to calculate a desired volume of a quantity of feed of the same type to be separated in a next cutting cycle.

13. Apparatus according to claim 10, 11 or 12, wherein the one or more sensors are mounted on a panel at a distance above the bottom edge of the cutting plate. 14. Apparatus according to claim 13, wherein the grabber is mounted on a support arm which can be moved up and down along the said guide.

15. Apparatus according to claim 14, wherein the grabber is movably mounted on the support arm in order to be moved between a loading position in which the grabber can separate feed, and a discharging position.

16. Apparatus according to claim 15, wherein the loading position is adjustable for setting the thickness of a slice of feed to be cut.

17. Apparatus according to claim 16, wherein the position of the rear arm with the base plate can be set by means of a rack and pinion mechanism to a position wherein the space between the cutting edge of the base plate and the cutting edge of the cutting plate corresponds to the thickness of the slice of feed to be cut. 18. Apparatus according to one of the preceding claims comprising a collection bin for collecting the feed separated by the grabber .

19. Apparatus according to claim 18, wherein the collection bin comprises a floor which is formed at least in part by a conveyor belt which, by means of a passage in a rear wall of the collection bin, extends outside the collection bin.

20. Apparatus according to claim 19, wherein the collection bin comprises a valve which can be moved between an open position and a closed position wherein the section of the passage above the conveyor belt is shut off.

21. Apparatus according to one of claims 10 - 20, wherein the front of the collection bin is provided with a shut-off valve .

22. Apparatus according to one of claims 19 - 21, wherein the collection bin can be moved up and down along the guide.

23. Apparatus according to one of the preceding claims, wherein the apparatus is provided with movable frame on which the guide is disposed.

24. Apparatus according to claims 22 and 23, wherein the collection bin and the support arm are provided with

complementary coupling means for moving up and down along the guide together.

25. Apparatus according to claim 24 provided with lifting means for tipping the guide between a forwardly inclined working position and a more vertical position when the collection bin is lifted upwards.

26. Apparatus according to claim 25, wherein the lifting means comprise pressure cylinders which mesh with front wheels of the movable frame for tipping the movable frame upwards vis-a-vis the front wheels.

27. Apparatus according to one of claims 18 - 26, wherein the collection bin is provided with one or more mixing rotors .

28. Apparatus according to claim 27, wherein the apparatus comprises a folding frame which can move along a rail in a first direction and which by means of folding and unfolding can move the grabber and the collection bin in a second direction . 29. Apparatus according to claim 28, wherein the folding frame comprises a first leg with a lower end which can be moved along the floor rail and an upper end which has a hinged connection with an upper end of a second leg of the folding frame, which second leg has a lower end which is connected to the movable frame.

30. Apparatus according to claim 29, wherein both the first and the second leg are provided with an angle plate with two angular legs at right angles, of which one angular leg is inclined vertically downwards, while the other angular leg at one end has a hinged connection to the corresponding leg of the folding frame and at the other end has a hinged

connection to a bar which forms a four-bar linkage with the angular leg, the corresponding leg of the folding frame and an upper section of the folding frame, wherein the vertical angular legs of the two four-bar linkages are placed

diametrically opposite to each other, wherein at least one of the two angular legs is provided with a remote sensor. 31. Apparatus according to claim 23, wherein the apparatus is self-propelled. Apparatus according to claim 31 provided with gation system, for instance a GPS module.

Description:
APPARATUS FOR SEPARATING FEED The invention relates to an apparatus for separating feed, for instance from a block or bale or from a silage pit, more particularly an apparatus for use in a feed kitchen where a feed composition can be prepared from various components. EP 1 516 530 Al discloses a movable diet feeder cart for mixing feed. The diet feeder cart is provided with a grabber which is mounted on a swivel arm and can separate feed from a supply of silage along a vertical cutting face. The grabber is designed to travel the full length of the cutting face in one go. The weight or the quantity of separated feed in the grabber cannot be determined and is random. As a result, precise dosing for compounding feed mixtures is not really possible . The object of the invention is to provide a system which is especially suitable for use in a feed kitchen where a feed composition can be prepared for several feed components. To this end precise separation and dosing of the required quantities or feed is necessary, in order for them to be subsequently collected and, if so desired, mixed.

The object of the invention is attained with an apparatus provided a grabber with a cutting plate and a rear arm, wherein the cutting plate is provided with a bottom edge with a knife, and wherein the rear arm is provided with a base plate, which rear arm can be moved between an open position and a closed position, wherein the base plate and the cutting plate engage each other. The grabber can be moved up and down along a linear guide.

The linear guide makes it possible to move the cutting plate of the de grabber along a section of the cutting face, so that a desired quantity of the feed can be separated in a precise way. Closing the base plate cuts off the feed at the bottom and encloses the separated feed, so that the feed can be moved without much spillage, for instance to a collecting or mixing bin. This way the feed component in question can be dosed precisely for a feed composition made up of several components .

The linear guide can for instance be vertical or inclined such that a rearwardly inclined cutting face is obtained. In that case the linear guide inclines forwards in the direction of a quantity of feed to be separated.

In a specific embodiment the linear guide comprises two parallel raised sections. These sections can for instance comprise rail guidance for guiding rollers. This way a precise positioning of the cutting plate can be achieved. Good results can be obtained if the guide comprises a rack and pinion mechanism.

The cutting plate can for instance be provided with two side walls or side panels which extend in the direction of the rear arm. Preferably, the side walls have a bottom edge at the same height as the bottom edge of the cutting plate, with the bottom edges being provided with knives. In that case the feed, per block, is separated on three sides and enclosed by the grabber. The space enclosed by the side walls and the cutting plate can for instance be shut off with the aid of a shut-off plate or valve, which can be moved between a closed position and an open position. This way during grabbing feed is prevented from dropping outside of the space enclosed by the grabber.

The rear arm of the grabber can for instance be a swivel arm which can be rotated vis-a-vis the cutting plate between the said open position and the said closed position. The rear arm can for instance be hinged vis-a-vis the cutting plate by means of a rack and pinion mechanism. As a result of this the rear arm can be controlled very precisely.

More precise control yet of the grabber can be achieved if the grabber is mounted on a support arm along which the grabber can be moved horizontally by means of a linear guide, for instance a rack and pinion mechanism.

The loading position of the grabber, i.e. the working depth of the grabber vis-a-vis the supply of feed, is preferably adjustable for setting the thickness of a slice of feed to be cut. In that case preferably the position of the rear arm with the base plate can be set by means of a rack and pinion mechanism to a position where the space between the cutting edge of the base plate and the cutting edge of the cutting plate corresponds to the thickness of the slice of feed to be cut .

In a particular embodiment the cutting plate can be provided with one or more sensors, for instance above the cutting edge at some distance therefrom on the side facing the base plate, for determining the quantity of feed in the grabber in the closed position. To this end for instance one or more remote sensors can be used.

The sensors can for instance be designed for measuring the average height of a separated slice of feed. In that case the width of the slice can be determined by the space between the bottom cutting edge of the cutting plate and an opposing bottom edge of the grabber, for instance the bottom edge of a hinged valve. The width of the slice to be separated can be determined using remote sensors on the insides of the side walls facing one another.

In a preferred embodiment the apparatus comprises a control unit and weighing means for weighing the weight of a

separated slice of feed. The control unit can be programmed to calculate the specific weight of the feed based on the measurement by the weighing means and the one or more sensors. Based on the calculated specific weight, the control unit can then calculate the desired volume of a quantity of feed of the same type still to be separated in a next cutting cycle. As a result of this, the quantity of separated feed can be determined and dosed very precisely.

The sensors can for instance be mounted on a panel at a distance above the bottom edge of the cutting plate.

In addition, the apparatus can be provided with a collection bin for collecting the feed separated by the grabber. The collection bin can for instance be situated beneath the grabber when it has been placed in the open position. The collection bin can for instance comprise a floor which is formed at least in part by a conveyor belt, which by means of an opening in a wall of the collection bin facing away from the grabber extends outside the collection bin. This way the collection bin can be emptied quickly and completely, so that all the dosed feed ends up in the mixer and dosing can be more precise still.

The collection bin can for instance comprise a valve which can be moved between an open position and a closed position in which the valve shuts off the section of the passage above the conveyor belt. As a result of this a large discharge opening can be created without the possibility of the feed dropping out of the collection bin prematurely.

The front of the collection bin, i.e. the side facing a supply of feed during use, can also be provided with a shut- off valve. This makes it possible to load loose feed, such as potatoes or meal, without using the grabber.

The apparatus can be provided with a slide plate, for instance on the side facing the supply of feed. During the separating of the feed this is slid underneath the supply of feed .

In a specific embodiment the collection bin can also be moved up and down. In that case the collection bin can be moved up to be emptied into a mixer of conventional height. In order to enable the collection bin and the support arm to move up and down together, the two parts can be provided with complementary coupling means, such as a hook on the support arm which can collaborate with a pin on the side of the collection bin, or the other way around.

During the upward movement of the collection bin it will generally be filled. In order to guarantee the stability of the apparatus in the process, the apparatus can for instance be provided with lifting means for tipping the guide between a forwardly inclined working position and a more vertical position when the collection bin is moved upwards. The lifting means can for instance comprise pressure cylinders or a pair of extendable bars which mesh with the front wheels of the movable frame for tipping the movable frame upwards visa-vis the front wheels. The pressure cylinders or extendable bars move the wheels forwards as the collection bin moves upwards. As a result of this the space between the rear wheels and the front wheels is increased and the frame is tipped backwards, with the joint centre or gravity of the full collection bin with the grabber being located between the front and the rear wheels.

The extension of the bars or the pressure cylinders causes the apparatus to be lifted on the side facing the supply of feed. As a result of this the slide plate is also tipped upwards and comes off the ground, so that, consequently, the apparatus can be moved more easily.

In order to be able to further separate the feed already in the collection bin or mix it with other components, the collection bin can be provided with one or more mixing rotors, for instance augers with a spiral mixing ribbon. So as to be able to move the apparatus, it is preferably provided with wheels. To allow it to be driven, such a movable apparatus can for instance comprise a folding frame, which can move along a rail in a first direction and which can be moved in a second direction by the folding and unfolding of the grabber and the collection bin.

Such a folding frame can for instance comprise a first leg with a lower end which can be moved along the floor rail and an upper end which has a hinged connection with an upper end of a second leg of the folding frame, which second leg has a lower end which is connected to the movable frame. The two legs of the folding frame can for instance each comprise two parallel standards with horizontal and/or diagonal cross bars or cross rods.

For such a folding frame the position of the mixing bin and the grabber can easily be determined by measuring the space between the two unfolded legs. This can be done for instance with a remote sensor on the bottom side, but then there is the risk that an intervening object will hinder the remote sensor's view. This can be solved by having both the first and the second leg provided with an angle plate with two angular legs at right angles, of which one angular leg is inclined vertically downwards, while the other angular leg at one end has a hinged connection to the corresponding leg of the folding frame and at the other end has a hinged

connection to a bar which forms a four-bar linkage with the angular leg, the corresponding leg of the folding frame and an upper section of the folding frame. The vertical angular legs of the two four-bar linkages are placed diametrically opposite to each other in that case, with at least one of the two angular legs being provided with a remote sensor. This way the vertical angular legs will always be vertical and it is always possible to measure the space between the two vertical angular legs. Thus it can be determined to what extent the folding frame is unfolded and what the position of the movable frame is.

The apparatus according to the invention is especially suitable for separating and collecting supplies of feed from silage pits or feed kitchens, where various kinds of feed components are arranged by kind. However, the apparatus can also be used for collecting silage which has been stored outdoors, for instance in the form of bales, blocks or silage heaps. The apparatus in that case can for instance be self- propelled and, if so desired, contain a navigation system, for instance with a GPS module.

The invention will be further elucidated with reference to the drawings. Herein:

Figure 1: is a representation in perspective view of an apparatus according to the invention;

Figure 2A: is a representation in side view of a grabber of the apparatus of Figure 1 in the open position;

Figure 2B: is a representation of the grabber of Figure

2Ά in partially closed position;

Figure 3: is a representation of the apparatus of Figure

1 with a closed grabber;

Figure 4: is a representation of the apparatus according to Figure 1 with the grabber in discharge position; Figure 5: is a representation of the apparatus of Figure

1 in side view with the collection bin in discharge position;

Figure 6 : is a representation of an alternative

embodiment in side view with the collection bin in discharge position.

Figure 1 shows an apparatus 1 for separating silage from a supply of feed 2, such as a silage pit, a bale or block. The apparatus 1 comprises a grabber 3 supported by two parallel support arms 4, and two parallel columns 6 on which the respective support arms 4 have been mounted by means of a guide 7, so that the support arms 4 can be moved up and down with the grabber 3.

The apparatus 1 further comprises a receiving bin 11, which likewise can be moved up and down by means of a guide 12 along the same columns 6. The receiving bin 11 has a bottom which is formed by a conveyor belt 13. On the side opposite to the grabber 3 the receiving bin 11 comprises an opening through which the conveyor belt 13 passes, so that the conveyor belt can take feed which is in the receiving bin 11 outside .

The columns 6 are supported by a support frame 14, which is provided on the bottom with wheels 16 or tracks. Thus with the aid of a driving gear to be described below, the

apparatus 1 can be moved backwards and forwards in the direction of the supply of feed 2.

The guides 7 and 12 comprise shafts with at the ends have a gear 17 which can be moved along a toothed rack 18 on the rear side of the column 6, and supporting rollers 19 for guiding the move. The gears 17 in that case are driven by means of an electric motor (not shown) provided with a brake. The grabber 3 is shown in greater detail in Figure 2. The grabber 3 comprises a front arm or cutting arm 21 and a rear arm or closing arm 22, which can be swung around a pivot 23 by means of a rack and pinion mechanism 24 vis-a-vis the front arm 21 between an open position (Figure 2A) and a closed position (Figures 3 and 5) . Figure 2B shows an

intermediate position in which the grabber 3 is partially closed, as is elucidated more fully below.

The front arm 21 comprises a vertical cutting plate 26 and two side walls 27 extending in the direction of the rear arm 22. The cutting plate thus is U-shaped in cross-section, with an open side facing the rear arm 22. On the bottom the front arm 21 comprises a section 28 which is bent somewhat

rearwards . The cutting plate 26 is provided with a bottom edge 29 with a knife. The two side walls 27 likewise are configured with bottom edges 31 provided with a knife. The knives on the bottom of the side walls 27 are at the same height as the knife 29 on the bottom edge of the cutting plate 26.

On the inside of the front arm between the two side walls 27 the bent lower section of the front arm 21 is bounded by a horizontal panel 32 which on the bottom is provided with sensors 33, which while shown in the figures are actually shielded from view in side view by the side walls 27. On the side facing the closing arm 22 the horizontal panel 32 comprises a shaft 50 from which a valve 51 is suspended hinged (shown in dashed lines in Figure 2A) . In the closed position this valve is suspended parallel to the bent lower section of the cutting arm 21, which prevents separated feed from dropping from the grabber 3. During the separating the feed inside the grabber 3 is pushed upwards in the direction of the sensors 33. When discharging the feed from the grabber 3, the valve 51 can be hinged upwards by means of a

schematically depicted pressure cylinder 52. When the valve 51 is closed, the space between the bottom edge of the valve 51 and the cutting edge of the cutting plate is decisive for the width or thickness of the slice of feed to be separated. This means that only the height and the length of the slice remain to be determined, for instance with the aid of remote sensors, as elucidated below.

The rear arm 22 is provided with a base plate 34, which extends in the direction of the cutting plate 26. In the aforementioned closed position (Figure 2B) the front end of the base plate and the lower end of the cutting plate meet each other. In that position the base plate 34 shuts off the open bottom side enclosed by the cutting plate 26 and the side walls 27. The front edge 35 of the base plate 34 is provided with a cutting edge or knife.

On the top side the grabber 3 comprises a horizontal top panel 44. The top panel 44 extends from the upper end of the cutting plate 26 in the direction of the columns 6 and is of one piece with the cutting plate. On the top side of the top panel 44 an electric motor 45 is mounted for driving a shaft 46, which is provided on both ends with gears 47, 48. The top sides 49 of the two support arms 4 are provided with teeth and form a rack which meshes with the gears 47, 48. This enables the grabber 3 to be moved gradually along the support arms 4.

When the apparatus 1 is put in front of a supply of feed 2, the support arm 4 with the grabber 3 can be moved upwards along the column 6 until the grabber 3 is positioned entirely above the top of the supply of feed 2. The apparatus 1 can then be moved further in the direction of the supply of feed 2 until the grabber 3 is positioned directly above the supply of feed 2 with a working depth which corresponds to the width of the side walls 27. The grabber 3 is in the open position and can now be moved downwards. While the support arm 4 with the grabber 3 is subsequently moved downwards, the knives on the bottom edges 29, 31 of the front arm 21 cut through the feed 2 in order to separate a block. The grabber 3 can be moved as far down as the floor, as is shown in Figure 1. The frame 14 is provided at the front with a slide plate 25, as a result of which the grabber 3 is better able to pick up the bottom feed. The slide plate 25 is extended with a thin steel plate in order to absorb the cutting forces exerted by the knives 29, 31 during the cutting. During the separating the sensors 33 determine the quantity of separated feed. The sensors 33 can for instance be remote sensors, which can be used to determine how much feed is to be enclosed by the cutting plate 26 with the side walls 27. If sufficient feed is enclosed, the cutting by the edges 29, 31 can be stopped and the rear arm 22 with the base plate 34 can be moved forwards. In that case the feed on the bottom is cut further by the cutting edge 35, until the grabber 3 is in the closed position. The separated feed is enclosed in that position by the grabber 3, which can then be moved upwards with the support arm 4 (see Figure 3) . The sensors 33 extend between the two side walls 27 and are designed to determine the average height of the separated slice of feed. The width or thickness of the slice of feed is determined by the opening between the knife 35 and the bottom edge of the valve 51. Sensors for accurately measuring the length of the separated slice can also be mounted on the mutually facing insides of the side walls. The volume of the separated slice can thus be calculated. Weighing means in the grabber or in the collection bin can then measure the weight of the separated slice, after which a control unit can calculate the specific weight. On the basis of the calculated specific weight the volume can then be calculated of the quantity of the same feed needing to be separated in a next cutting cycle. When the receiving bin 11 is for instance almost 90 % full, a further narrow slice of the feed can be separated as a supplement, as shown in Figure 2B. In the shown position the base plate 34 partially covers the underside of the cutting arm 21, with the front end of the base plate 34 butting against the existing cutting face of the silage; when the grabber 3 is moved downwards, a slice is separated of a thickness which corresponds to the space between the front end of the base plate and the front cutting edge of the cutting arm 21. When the slice has been cut over a sufficient level, the base plate 34 can be closed to separate the slice. The slice can then be discharged into the receiving bin 11. The columns 6 along which the support arms 4 can be moved up and down are inclined slightly forwards in the direction of the supply of feed 2, so that during the separation the grabber 3 forms a rearwardly inclined cutting face. The angle of inclination basically corresponds to the angle of the lower section 28 of the front arm 21, so that the knife 29 is pushed straight through the feed.

The grabber 3 can be moved by means of the gears 47, 48 and the racks 49 vis-a-vis the support arm 4. In the top position the grabber 3 can be positioned above the collection bin by means of this guide, after which the rear arm can be moved backwards, so that the separated feed will drop from the grabber 3 into the collection bin 11, as shown in Figure 4. Next, the grabber 3 can separate a new quantity of feed, either from the same supply or from a supply of a different type of feed. This way a mixture of the desired composition can be precisely prepared. The receiving bin 11 can be provided with one or more mixing rotors, such as for instance augers. Also, the receiving bin 11 can be provided with one or more weighing means, such as weighing bars, or other means for determining the quantity of feed collected in the receiving bin.

On the front side facing the feed to be collected the receiving bin 11 is provided with a slide 40, which can be moved between a closed position (as shown) and an open position In this position the receiving bin 11 can be used to collect loose feed components, such as potatoes or meal. After the receiving bin 11 has been filled with the desired quantity and composition, the grabber 3 is moved to the far tip of the support arm 4 and the base plate is put in the closed position, after which the support arm 4 with the grabber 3 is moved to the lowest position. The support arm 4 is provided with a hook 39. The receiving bin 11 is provided on the sides with a pin 41, onto which the hook 39 of the support arm 4 can be hooked to connect the support arm 4 to the receiving bin 11. The support arm 4 can then be moved upwards, with the support arm 4 carrying the receiving bin 11 upwards with it to a top position, wherein the conveyor belt 13 can be arranged above the top edge of a mixing bin or mixing robot 42, as shown in Figure 5. The conveyor belt 13 can then be activated to thus move the feed collected in the receiving bin 11 outside and dump it into the mixing bin 42. Next, the feed in the mixing bin 42 can be transported to the desired destination for dosing. The mixing robot 42 as shown in Figure 5 comprises a guide 43 with which it can be moved by means of ceiling rails. Other types of mixing bins or robots can also be used.

In feed kitchens different feed components usually are arranged in rows side by side. In order to be able to move the apparatus 1 easily between various rows with different feed components, the apparatus can for instance be provided with a cross conveyor 30, for instance a cross conveyor such as shown in Figure 1.

The cross conveyor 30 comprises a folding frame 31 which can be moved between a folded position, with the wheels 16 having rolled onto a panel 32 (see Figure 5), and an unfolded position, as shown in Figure 1, with the wheels 16 having rolled off the panel. The folding frame 31 comprises a first leg or frame 33 with a lower end connected to the panel 32, and a upper end which has a hinged connection with the upper end of a second leg or frame 34 which has a lower end which is connected to the support frame 14. On the upper end of the leg 33 a gear 53 is mounted. On the other leg 34 an electric motor 54 is mounted which drives a second gear 55, which meshes with the first gear 53. Rotating the second gear 55 and moving it vis-a-vis the first gear 53 enables the folding frame 31 to be folded or unfolded. With such a folding frame 31 the support frame 14 with the grabber 3 and the receiving bin 11 can be positioned very precisely.

The panel 32 comprises an edge 36, which as transverse guide meshes with a floor rail 37 to move the panel 32 with the folding frame 31 and the support frame 14 sideways. The panel 32 can be moved across the rail 37 using a driving unit (not shown) . When the folding frame 31 of the cross conveyor 30 is folded, the support frame 14 with the receiving bin 11 and the grabber 3 is positioned on the panel 32, as shown in Figure 5. The panel 32 can now be moved sideways with the support frame 14 along the floor rail 37. The support frame 14 can thus be arranged in front of a row of bales to be processed. The cross conveyor 30 makes it possible for the support frame 14 to be precisely positioned and aligned with the supply of feed 2. When the grabber 3 is aligned with the supply of feed to be processed, the folding frame 31 of the cross conveyor 30 can be unfolded, with the support frame 14 being pushed off the panel 32 and placed right in front of the supply of feed. The grabber 3 can now be activated to separate a desired quantity of feed. As shown in Figure 1, both the first leg 33 and the second leg 34 are provided with an angle plate 56, 57 with two angular legs 58, 59 placed diametrically opposite to each other, with the one angular leg 58 being inclined vertically downwards. The other angular leg at one end has a hinged connection to the corresponding leg 33, 34 of the folding frame and at the other end to a bar 61, 62. The bar 61, 62 together with the respective angular leg 58, 59, the

respective leg 33, 34 of the folding frame and a top section 63 (shown in Figure 1 in dashed lines behind the gear 53) of the folding frame forms a four-bar linkage. As a result, the vertical angular legs 58, 59 of the two four-bar linkages are vertically and diametrically opposite to each other in every position of the folding frame. One of the two angular legs 58, 59 is provided with a remote sensor. This way the space between the two vertical angular legs can always be measured. Thus it can be determined to what extent the folding frame is unfolded and what the position of the movable frame is.

The two bars 61, 62 are spaced such that they do not run into each other near the top section 63.

Figure 6 shows an embodiment in side view such as in Figure 5. However, this embodiment is provided with two parallel pressure cylinders 64, of which the pistons 65 are connected to the front wheels 16 and of which the cylinders 66 are connected to the guide 6 and the movable frame 14. When the pressure cylinders extend, the movable frame 14 with the guide 6 tips upwards. As a result of this the forwardly inclined guide 6 is put in a more vertical position. This way it can be prevented that the apparatus becomes top-heavy and falls over when the filled receiving bin 11 is in the top position.