FARM EQUIPMENT REVIEW: November 2006
By Top Crop Manager
Four-wheel drive tractors
Over the last year, dozens of new models and designs of farm machinery have
been introduced by manufacturers. Many of you will have seen these introductions
at farm shows and in various industry announcements – but, can you remember
the details? This feature provides a reference for you. Peter Darbishire, Editor
While Top Crop Manager editors make every effort to be objective when reporting
on new products, they cannot be held responsible for claims made by companies.
Readers are encouraged to contact the companies for more details. -30-
Powershift transmission now available
Buhler Versatile has announced an optional powershift transmission for the complete
range of HHT (High Horsepower Tractor) series tractors. The Buhler Versatile
435, 485 and 535 will now be offered with an optional high capacity, high efficiency
direct drive Caterpillar TA22 powershift transmission mated to the Cummins QSX
15 litre Tier 3 engine.
The Cat powershift transmission has been designed to integrate and communicate
seamlessly with other Buhler powertrain components and machine systems to provide
the power, shifting options and ease of operation that tough farming applications
require. The fully optimized and fully integrated system will ensure that owners
are obtaining maximum power and efficiency.
The TA22 includes a heavy-duty cast iron transmission case, a high power density
planetary gear train, high capacity shafts and bearings, and electronic controls
with on-board diagnostics. The design is capable of absorbing full engine horsepower
in all gears.
The smooth shifting powershift transmission is controlled by the Buhler Versatile
bump gearshift lever. There are 16 forward speeds and four reverse speeds, with
eight gears in the heart of the critical field working range. Top speed is 40km/hr
(24mph). The transmission features several convenient options for shifting:
- Auto shift automatically shifts gears based on drawbar load and speed, similar
to the automatic transmission in a car. Pre-select the highest gear, press
the auto shift button, and the tractor will shift down and up to the pre-selected
gear based on drawbar load.
- Speed matching allows for automatic gear selection based on engine speed
and ground speed when the inching pedal is pressed and released or the shifter
is moved into neutral and back to forward.
- Pre-select allows the operator to select any gear up to sixth while in neutral.
- Auto modulation allows loaded starts in gears one to six by simply moving
the shifter out of neutral – no need to touch the inching pedal –
the control system will take over and modulate the clutches to provide the
smoothest possible start.
- Shuttle shift is ideal for silage packing. Shift directly from forward to
reverse, or vise-versa, without using the inching pedal. The tractor will
shift down to fifth and then auto modulate into reverse.
- Pulse shift by pushing the gear lever left or right to move up or down one
- Sequential shift allows the operator to continuously up shift or down shift
by holding the lever to the left or right, respectively.
This smooth shifting is achieved through five shafts, seven rotating clutch
groups and two stationary clutch groups. This design requires the engagement
of only two clutches for any gear, eliminating three clutch pack shifts. The
clutch engagement is dependent on drawbar load and the auto modulation of clutches
is achieved without using the inching pedal. -30-
Productivity and performance
Case IH has added performance across both the wheeled and Quadtrac versions
of its Steiger tractors. Increased drawbar horsepower in six new models is being
put to work in a durable package designed to drive power to the ground, while
still going easy on operators and fuel. The models were introduced in early
New Tier 3 compliant, 24 valve electronic engines provide power for all six
models, topping out with the STX530 rated at 530 horsepower in wheeled, Quadtrac
and scraper configurations. A 15 litre Cummins QSX15 engine offers 40 percent
torque rise, growing an additional 54 horsepower at 1800rpm.
Like the STX530, the other five new models also match engine horsepower to
their names. The wheeled STX280 and STX330, which feature AccuSteer versions,
use new 8.3 litre and nine litre engines, respectively. Both the STX380 and
the STX430 share a new 12.9 litre Case IH engine with 40 percent torque rise
and are available in wheeled, heavy-duty wheeled, scraper and Quadtrac configurations.
The STX480 offers the same configurations as the STX380 and STX430, and is powered
by the same engine as the STX530. These electronic engines continually monitor
operating conditions and adjust fuel and air flows. By automatically optimizing
performance, engine life and fuel efficiency are improved.
Each of the in-line, six cylinder engines are turbocharged and air-to-air aftercooled
using an efficient cross-flow head design that intakes air from one side and
vents exhaust directly out the other side. Compared to systems that exhaust
air on the same side as the air intake, the cross-flow head keeps air cooler,
provides smooth air flow and better coolant circulation for longer engine life.
To accommodate the extra cooling needs of higher horsepower engines, the engine
air filter for the STX380, STX430, STX480 and STX530 tractors has been relocated
under the hood, improving the efficiency of air flow and filter life. Engine
speeds have also been decreased to 2000rpm for the majority of the line, rising
to 2100rpm on the STX530.
To improve ride, reduce operator fatigue and extend the life of the transmission,
the Case IH 16F/2R speed full powershift transmission has been upgraded with
electronic pulse width modulated (PWM) shift solenoids. During a gear change,
these solenoids will modulate the pressure to the clutch packs for smooth engagement.
Producers can further automate their operations with the electronic end-of-row
function. The system will record and then control up to 30 steps in two sequences,
including up and down shifting, raising and lowering the three-point hitch,
using remotes, throttle and more, through a single switch, greatly simplifying
operation at the headlands. -30-
Two frame configurations
New Holland's new TJ Series II 4WD includes six models, ranging from 280 to
530 horsepower. They offer increased efficiency with new, higher levels of power,
comfort and control.
With 530 horsepower available on the largest TJ530 model, TJ Series II tractors
achieve power growth of up to 54 horsepower and a 40 percent torque rise to
pull bigger, heavier equipment, even in tough conditions. Fuel efficient, six
cylinder EPA Tier 3 compliant 'green' engines offer exceptional power and torque
rise as well as air emissions compliance.
In addition to higher horsepower engines, increased oil pump and engine cooling
capacities provide greater engine reliability and durability. Oil pump capacity
is now up to 25 percent greater than on previous TJ models, providing more engine
lubrication for longer life. Engine cooling capacity has also been increased
and a special water filtration system filters out contaminants and adds a conditioner
to maximize engine reliability.
The new TJ Series II tractors feature capacity matched frames based on horsepower.
A longer wheelbase on all frames and unique 'centre pull' design adds to the
stability and enables the TJ Series II to deliver at the drawbar. The row crop
chassis – TJ280 and TJ330 – makes the TJ Series II the only row crop
4WD tractor with true 30 inch row capability. The larger chassis – TJ380
and TJ430 – and high capacity chassis – TJ480 and TJ530 – versions
are designed for heavy-duty agricultural and commercial uses.
Power is matched by transmissions that provide a choice of work speeds and
smooth shifting performance. A 16×2 full powershift or 24×6 Hi-Low synchroshift
transmission – TJ280, TJ330, TJ380 and TJ430 only – are available.
The clutch free, push button, 16 speed powershift transmission now features
wider gears and extra clutch plates for more torque carrying capacity. The operator
can conveniently start travel in any of the first eight gears.
Also new on powershift transmissions is the convenience of AutoShift, which
minimizes manual shifting during both field and road operations. In field operation,
AutoShift automatically down shifts to maintain engine revolutions per minute
and torque as load increases, then up shifts as load decreases. In road operation,
AutoShift automatically selects the proper gears based on throttle input and
road speed. Fuel efficient AutoShift is standard on all powershift models.
The Custom Headland Management system, standard on powershift models with performance
instrumentation, can be easily programmed to make complex headland turns a snap.
One switch controls as many as 30 functions such as remotes, throttles, gear
shifts and three-point hitch to save valuable time at every turn. The flexible
24×6 Hi-Low synchroshift transmission is fully synchronized to allow easy shifting
on the go with a rolling load. Nine speeds are available in the four to 8.5
mile per hour working range.
For even greater convenience and control, TJ Series II tractors are available
with the factory installed IntelliSteer auto-steering system. IntelliSteer provides
state-of-the-art automated steering guidance and GPS satellite technology to
reduce inputs and enhance operator comfort and productivity for maximum field
performance. The system automatically guides the tractor in straight lines with
an accuracy of ± one inch (2.5cm) at speeds up to 29km/hr (18mph).
New Holland's exclusive MegaFlow hydraulic option provides huge flow capacity
and flexibility to power numerous functions at the same time without hindering
performance. MegaFlow pumps up to 94 gallons per minute through two separate
hydraulic pumps to meet the demand of power hungry implements such as beet lifters,
air-seeders and laser land levelling equipment. By utilizing two separate pumps,
MegaFlow delivers dedicated hydraulic flow to the implement even while operating
multiple hydraulic functions. Four remotes are standard, with an option of up
to nine remotes. -30-