Eaton's Hydraulics Solution and Corn Harvester

Corn matters, and so does the equipment that is used to bring it to those who use it. Eaton is dedicated to making what matters work, and that's why we keep innovating to support farmers in China every day..

What’s green on the outside, yellow on the inside and grows on every single continent except Antarctica? What crunchy vegetable does the world consume about one billion tonnes of every year? The answer is of course the humble corn on the cob. Yet, despite its status as one of the world’s most popular foods, many of us know very little about it.

In fact, corn has been farmed for thousands of years, ever since the Native Americans began cultivating a type of grass called teosinite; the ancestor to the corn we consume today. It is 100% domesticated, so you’ll never see it growing in the wild.

As well as being eaten by the cob, corn is also processed and used as in many food products like cereals, peanut butter, potato chips, soups, marshmallows, ice cream, baby food, cooking oil, margarine, mayonnaise, salad dressing, and chewing gum. Juices and soft drinks also contain corn sweeteners. A bushel of corn can sweeten 400 cans of soda.

Corn and its by-products are also found in many non-food items such as fireworks, rust preventatives, glue, paint, dyes, laundry detergent, soap, aspirin, antibiotics, paint, shoe polish, ink, cosmetics, the manufacturing of photographic film, and in the production of plastics.

But have you ever wondered how this incredibly versatile plant ends up in all of these products, or on your plate? Where does it come from and how is it harvested?

One of the biggest corn producing countries is China, which harvests about 208,258,000 tonnes per year – second only to the United States. In China, and elsewhere, corn farmers mostly harvested their crop by hand until the first mechanical harvester was invented in 1930 in the U.S. Today, most Chinese corn farmers still use this traditional mechanical ‘walking’ harvester. 

It may be more efficient and less toilsome than doing it all by hand, but there are disadvantages to mechanical harvesters too. Most of them can only harvest the cob, not the grains of corn, meaning the farmer needs to extract the grain separately, taking extra time, money and losing corn in the process.

But now, more and more Chinese corn farmers are turning to new hydraulic grain harvesters, which bring huge benefits. They improve transmission efficiency, protect the transmitting belt from wear and tear, cut burnout rates, and enable continuously variable transmission, meaning the machine operator can move between gears fluidly as needed.  


  • industry
  • industry
  • industry
  • industry

Hydraulic harvesters also malfunction far less often than traditional mechanical harvesters.

Eaton is leading the way in helping Chinese corn farmers to transform their businesses with hydraulic harvester equipment and services. Farmers told Eaton they need solutions that are reliable long-term, and if they do break, they need replacements quickly.

Eaton listened, and developed a complete solution to meet these needs, covering the full hydraulic harvesting process – from walking and working to steering systems. Eaton even invites customers to work with its engineers from the beginning to tailor-make solutions for their needs. A dedicated after service network is also on hand to help customers adjust to their machines.

With over 3,500 uses of corn, hundreds of industries and millions of consumers rely on this crop. And for the thousands of farmers in China, their livelihoods depend on providing it as efficiently as possible.