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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ask the expert time:
We've got an old MF #9 baler that we use to put-up about 1500 bales/yr. As expected it's "knot" a 100% "knotter" and presents us with a broken bale usually 1 in 10 bales.
The knotter assembly was removed and rebuilt two winters ago replacing bushings and sleeves but with parts in short supply for the ol' baler the billhooks were not replaced.

Last season we entered the season with high hopes but results were the same as before without any significant improvement. Late in season, I shot the following video which does show at least one knotter in operation multiple times & in slow motion. At the end of the video, the twine breaks leading me question the twine itself or some sharp-edge causing the twine to hang-up & break.

With many of you having far more experience with knotters than me:
  • Does anyone see anything significantly wrong with the timing or operation of the knotters?
  • Obviously I need to investigate the cause of the twine breakage. Anyone have any non-obvious suggestions what to look for?
  • Any & all constructive input welcome!
Slow Motion video link on YouTube:
 

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Get yourself a owner's manual for the baler if you don't have one. Most baler manuals have a fairly good knotter troubleshooting section. I haven't ever been around an older Massey baler. With that said, if it was painted green I would say look at the twine from the broken bales. Do they all have knots on the front end of the twine (needle end), the back end isn't knotted, and the broken twine is shorter than the unbroken side? If it was an older International, or a green baler I would say that the twine is either being pulled from the twine disk, or sheared out of the twine disk. I have never watched a slow motion video from that angle before, in yours I could see the twine bouncing back and forth a lot, at least at the start of a new bale. I'm not sure if that much movement is normal, or excessive. Does your baler have hay dogs, and do they work?
 

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First problem I see is a dull twine knife. There should not be mangled shreds of twine hanging where I drew the blue circle. The twine knife is immediately behind those dangling shreds, and is dull, so dull that the slo mo shows bits of twine flying during the cut like it is being shot through by a bullet. It should be razor sharp. That is not likely your only problem though. What happened at 3:32 with the knotter looks like an unrelated problem. Couple of ideas. Junk twine. It looks like the twine holder caught the twine properly. So a good sound twine shouldn’t unravel and pull apart like it appears to have done. Another possibility is that the twine is getting partially severed in the twine holder by roughness on the twine holder, an occasionally you get unlucky and the twine breaks. It would be interesting to see what the short tails that drop out of the twine holder look like. If they look undamaged then my second theory is no good.


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Looking at #6 you can see that immediately following the tie cycle the twine in the twine holder begins to slip with the very first flake (look at the end of the twine that is left after the knife makes the cut). I don't think your twine holder is holding twine consistently and it's not a break you're experiencing, but a slip.

As to what is causing that... I'm not super familiar with how the twine holder on those balers is constructed, but I would consider adding more tension if your tails aren't took long (over an inch).
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Get yourself a owner's manual for the baler if you don't have one. Most baler manuals have a fairly good knotter troubleshooting section. I haven't ever been around an older Massey baler. With that said, if it was painted green I would say look at the twine from the broken bales. Do they all have knots on the front end of the twine (needle end), the back end isn't knotted, and the broken twine is shorter than the unbroken side? If it was an older International, or a green baler I would say that the twine is either being pulled from the twine disk, or sheared out of the twine disk. I have never watched a slow motion video from that angle before, in yours I could see the twine bouncing back and forth a lot, at least at the start of a new bale. I'm not sure if that much movement is normal, or excessive. Does your baler have hay dogs, and do they work?

Wethay:
I'll give MF some credit they do have a pretty good troubleshooting
section in the manual. It has numerous suggestions and details of what to look for and possible causes/solutions. Our fear is making changes to the knotters that make things worse and not being able to bale-up the hay we have down. Granted that a risk we'll eventually need to take. We'll likely put down several hundred bales early this season with the intention of fooling with the knotters and trying to make some the adjustments being suggested. I'll have to pay closer attention to the knots on the broken bales, it's been months since we last saw looked at it closely. Others have also suggested slippage in the twine disk. Maybe it's the twine itself or more tension needs added. We'll likely start with a fresh bale of quality twine (that could be a whole post itself asking which twine to use!). I too and somewhat suprised to see how much "bunce" is in the twine durning early stages of forming the bale. The hay dogs are present and freely working. I agree it seems it should have more constant tension.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
First problem I see is a dull twine knife. There should not be mangled shreds of twine hanging where I drew the blue circle. The twine knife is immediately behind those dangling shreds, and is dull, so dull that the slo mo shows bits of twine flying during the cut like it is being shot through by a bullet. It should be razor sharp. That is not likely your only problem though. What happened at 3:32 with the knotter looks like an unrelated problem. Couple of ideas. Junk twine. It looks like the twine holder caught the twine properly. So a good sound twine shouldn’t unravel and pull apart like it appears to have done. Another possibility is that the twine is getting partially severed in the twine holder by roughness on the twine holder, an occasionally you get unlucky and the twine breaks. It would be interesting to see what the short tails that drop out of the twine holder look like. If they look undamaged then my second theory is no good.


View attachment 91739

Gearclash:
I agree the knives need some attention and I'll get them sharpened-up. The comments on the twine itself is justified. Maybe inconsistent twine diameter is causing slippage in the twine discs at various times. I would rather not get into disassembling the discs and checking for sharp edges but if a new bale of twine does not resolve the issue I might be forced to. I'll also check the whole twine feed system to see if there are any sharp edges along the route the twine has to travel. I'll pay attention to the exiting knots and maybe provide some pictures once we make another attempt with it here in the coming weeks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
It's hard to tell from the video from that angle, do you have sisal billhooks or multi twine? Doesn't look like sisal to me.

Also agree the knives need some work.
Sea2Summit:
The billhooks are sisal to the best of my knowledge and don't have the recess under the jaw that I believe the multi-twine billhooks are known for. Knife sharpness has been noted!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Looking at #6 you can see that immediately following the tie cycle the twine in the twine holder begins to slip with the very first flake (look at the end of the twine that is left after the knife makes the cut). I don't think your twine holder is holding twine consistently and it's not a break you're experiencing, but a slip.

As to what is causing that... I'm not super familiar with how the twine holder on those balers is constructed, but I would consider adding more tension if your tails aren't took long (over an inch).
Maxzillian:
If I'm looking at the same thing you are (3:14-3:24 in the video), good observation regarding slipped of the twine in the disc! I hadn't noticed that before but that very well could be what was the root cause of the missed bale. I would like to try another bale of twine at the start of this season. If there is evidence of continued slippage within the disc, we'll start making adjustment to the disc to ideally prevent the slippage. Good catch/eyes!
 
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