With Agritechnica in full swing, we take a look at the latest tractors and loaders on show.
At the heart of the tractor is a six-cylinder methane-powered engine capable of delivering 180hp and 740Nm – the same power and torque outputs as an equivalent diesel-powered engine, says the manufacturer.
The engine was developed by Fiat Powertrain Technologies, a sister brand of New Holland within CNH Industrial, which has been producing natural gas-powered engines for more than 20 years. It claims durability and service intervals will be on a par with a diesel motor, but be able to achieve up to 30 per cent running cost savings.
While still a concept at this stage, a commercially available version could hit the market within the next four years it says.
These include the 6120, 6130 and 6140, with power ratings related to the last three digits of the model number.
All are powered by 3.6-litre, four-cylinder Deutz engines, with power transferred via the manufacturer’s own 30 by 30 powershift or its TTV continuously variable transmission – both 50kph.
The cab frame is based on the old 5 Series tractor, which features a new joystick design for the TTV models, incorporating all primary tractor functions along with assignable buttons to configure controls to your liking. For further tractor setup and automation, the firm’s new eight-inch iMonitor can also be specified.
At Agritechnica, the firm showed the latest addition to its Lintrac tractor range, the Lintrac 110. Designed to climb the mountains of Austria, it features four wheel steering and a continuously variable transmission. Its 113hp comes from a 3.4-litre Perkins engine.
However, not content with making just another tractor, the firm has also future-proofed the 110 with the ability to operate autonomously, without an operator in the cab. Various autonomy modes can be used which include complete autonomy, the ability to follow a swath, a lead and follow mode or a record and copy function.
For now, legislation means the use of such a concept is not legal yet, but when it is, the manufacturer says the tractor can be retro-fitted with the necessary technology.
By laminating an additional layer into its windscreen, the Finnish firm is able to display a whole manner of information in the driver’s line of sight, such as forward speed, engine revs, loader and bucket positon and telephone alerts. Along with this, the firm says it is looking into incorporating car-like sensors to alert the driver when there are obstacles, such as people in the immediate area.
While lower specification Hi-Tech and Active will have a number of pre-set scrollable displays, the firm’s SmartTouch controller on Direct and Versu spec machines will allow the operator to select what information is shown on each page.
The option of SmartGlass is expected to appear in a year’s time.
Looking like a tractor which has been subjected to a Victorian rack torture device, the Multi Tool Trac is certainly an alternative design. Essentially a tool carrier, the Multi Tool Trac was designed to meet 3m controlled traffic farming in vegetable crops.
Its features include three linkages to reduce the number of passes required in a field, and hydraulically adjustable track width from 2.25 to 3.25m. And, despite axles measuring more than five metres apart, the manufacturer says its four-wheel steer machine can spin round within 12m.
Taking all of its drive from an on-board battery pack, the machine uses independent electric motors on each wheel, and at each of its three pto shafts. To extend the battery range, the Multi Tool Trac features a 210hp FPT diesel engine coupled to a high speed generator.
The firm says fuel savings of the electric-based system are about 20 per cent, as the engine does not need to run at higher speeds.
Called the Puma 140, 150 and 165 X, the tractors are aimed at customers who do not want all the bells and whistles. Respective rated powers of the tractors are 140, 150 and 165hp, with maximum outputs of 175, 190 and 210hp.
Many of the key changes are to be found in the cab, where they have a basic operator interface with digital information display and a base seat offering.
At the rear, the standard mechanical remote valves are non-configurable, while the rear wheels are fitted with narrow fender extensions. A two-speed 540/1,000rpm pto is standard.
Backed by Chinese company Foton Lovol, the firm has continued to develop its tractor range, which now includes the 5000 Series, about to go on sale in certain European markets, and will be making an appearance at the 2018 Lamma event.
The 5000 Series comprises three models from 110hp to 136hp. Two transmission choices include a 30 by 30 transmission with two-speed powershift and mechanical shuttle, or a 45 by 15 gearbox with three-speed powershift and electro-hydraulic shuttle. Power comes from 3.4-litre, four-cylinder, Kohler engines.
Featuring modern styling with a curved windscreen to help with visibility to loaders, Arbos says it aims to keep the tractors relatively simple for now, to appeal to a mass market.
The manufacturer’s next phase will see 6000 and 7000 Series tractors developed, with power ratings up to 260hp.
To provide increased pulling power, reduced compaction and narrower machine widths, Claas’ Axion 930 and 960 models are available in a half-track configuration. Replacing rear wheels with revised Terra Trac units, Claas says it is the first firm to launch such a machine which incorporates a suspension system to improve ride quality.
Three track widths from 450mm-635mm (18in-25in) are available to maintain a sub three-metre overall width. Revisions to the units include noticeably larger rear drive wheels for better traction, larger lugs for improved self-cleaning, and new transmission layout inside the track units to handle the higher torque passing through them.
Accessing the cab is now via new steps, as the fuel and Adblue tanks fill the void inside the wheel arch. As the tracks protrude further backwards than standard tyres, longer link arms have also been fitted.
Powered by a Caterpillar C13, 12.5-litre, six-cylinder engine, it is the most powerful tractor the firm has ever produced. Churning out 2,048Nm of torque, power is fed to the wheels via 16 by eight transmission, or 24 by 16 with creeper option.
The rear boasts a modest 10 tonne lift capacity, while the front can manage five tonnes.
Although, you will be hard pressed to see what is on the front as the position of the cooling pack means its nose is somewhere in the next county.
The 16 tonne tractor has a 3.3m wheelbase and can be fitted with 710/75 R42 rear tyres.
Still retaining three models, power has been lifted across the range, which now spans 520 to 610hp. As before, a 15-litre Cummins engine is featured, along with a Cat powershift transmission, however, it now uses diesel exhaust fluid to meet the current Stage 4 engine emission regulations.
Providing gains at the tracks, Versatile says gearing ratios have been revised with an increase in pulling power by 15 per cent. Braking has also been improved by adding another disc at the rear, providing two rear- and one front-end braking system.
To improve operator comfort, the cab now boasts suspension as standard on the tracked models, and a new touch screen terminal is also featured.
Along with more powerful models at the top of its range, Versatile’s UK importer JPM agriculture will also be showing a new, smaller articulated wheeled-tractor at the Lamma show in January.
All models are available now.
Keeping weight low to the ground, the Deutz-powered tractors use small diameter tyres and offer four-wheel steering. While this may not be uncommon for manufacturers suited to hillside farming, the RigiTrac also features a split-design with a large pivot at the centre allowing the front and rear sections to pivot independently of each other. This, according to the firm, allows its tractor to better stay in contact with the ground and provides greater stability.
With its smallest 100hp model on show, the firm also announced the introduction of a new 160hp machine. A mid-sized 110hp model completes the range. Drive on all models is hydrostatic, and linkage lift capacities range from 3,100-5,500kg at the rear and 1,800-3,500kg at the front.
With a look to alterative power sources, Fendt has shifted its R and D focus onto a fully-electric tractor. Called the e100 Vario, this fledgling Fendt sees a 200 Series Vario have its thumping diesel heart replaced with a whopping battery and electric motors.
Filling the engine’s void is a 650-volt lithium-ion battery which boasts a 100kWh capacity. The tractor’s electric motor couples to the Fendt Vario transmission, along with hydraulic and pto drive for implements. To suit electrically-driven implements, two electrical connectors are also fitted.
As well as providing about five hours working time, the e100 could also be used to store power generated by renewable energy devices until the electricity is required for use at a later time.
In collaboration with Deutz-Fahr dealer and forestry contractor, Rottenkolber Umwelttechnik, truck modification company Paul Nutzfahreuge has created a reverse drive version of a Deutz-Fahr 9 Series tractor.
Via hydraulically-operated linkage and turntable, the cab has the ability to be raised by 300mm and rotated by up to 200 degrees. This allows machines such as wood chippers to be operated more conveniently, but also opens the doors for the 340hp tractor to be used with reverse drive implements such as mowers and foragers, for example.
Not restricted to just working in forward or rearward facing positions, the cab can be used in any position within its 200 degree range of movement.
The additional framework under the cab adds about 170mm to the overall height of the tractor when the cab is in its forward/lowered position.
Cost of the modification is about €50-60,000 (£44-53,000).
Due to a labour shortage in Japan, authorities have allowed the use of autonomous tractors in fields.
The tractor on show is based on the firm’s 60hp SL60A model, but the firm says the technology involved could easily be migrated to other products in its portfolio, including its largest M7 tractors.
Developed in collaboration with TopCon and Nippon Telecommunication Technology the tractor uses radar sensors and 360 degree cameras to navigate and monitor its surroundings. Single or multiple tractors can also be programmed to work in one field.
To get the tractor from job to job, the cab is retained so an operator can still drive it. The next step could be full autonomy without a cab, says Kubota.
In addition, an automatic hitching system allows the tractor to hook up to implements on its own, even the pto.
These slot in under the current X6 range, which will now be called X6.4.
Using the cab of the X5 and the transmission of the current X6, the aim was to create a more compact tractor, says the company.
Power for the new models comes from a 3.6-litre, four-cylinder Deutz engine. Rear linkage lift capacity is 6,000kg, while an optional front linkage can handle 2,250kg.
Replacing its previous 6 Series, the four new models see Perkins’ engines replaced with Farmtrac’s own motors. Currently these engines are Stage 3b complaint, however, the firm says they can be upgraded to Stage 5 when required to meet the up and coming engine emission standards.
To set its latest tractor range apart from the classic Ford machines which it produces under licence in India, Farmtrac appointed car manufacturer Porsche to take care of the tractor’s styling.
Despite only being represented on a 26hp compact machine, the firm says it is looking to expand its electric tractor concept once the cost of battery powered vehicles becomes more feasible.
Called the TM420, the firm says it boasts a 4.1 tonne lifting capacity through its entire range, and an additional 200mm lift height to better load over feeder wagons and into tall bunkers.
Height to pivot pins now measures 5.4m, and tear out force has been increased, now up to 7,500kg.
Beefed up components can be seen around the main articulation point and at the loader end, where beefy castings replace the fabricated units of the TM320 to cope with additional forces.
As well as incorporating the updates released on the firm’s second-generation TM320S last year, such as its graphite-inserted bushes allowing for 500-hour greasing intervals and revised cab interior, the TM420 also benefits from JCB’s regenerative hydraulics system, and heavier-duty axles allowing for larger wheel and tyre combinations.
As on its TM320S loader, JCB’s 4.8-litre four-cylinder EcoMax engine is featured, which sends 145hp through its six-speed powershift transmission, with torque converter lockup in gears two-six. Options include all-round LED lights, hydraulically-driven cooling fan with auto-reversing, rear camera and 15 tonne fixed, or eight tonne pickup hitch.
Instead of an oil burner occupying the rear engine compartment, this is replaced by a battery pack and two electric motors; one looking after the machine’s hydraulics and the other taking care of the transmission.
Called the 23e, its lithium-ion battery is said to be guaranteed for five years of service. One or two batteries can be specified, with a single battery offering up to four hours of work, in theory.
Two charging options are available; a standard 230 volt system which will see the machine charged in about three to four hours, or a 400 volt quick charge version which will have the battery 80 per cent replenished in 30 minutes.
Benefits of such a machine include its near silent running capability and a lack of emissions produced – useful in livestock buildings.
It is also said to offer reduced running costs compared to a diesel, especially if the farm produces its own electricity.
With a straight tipping load of 1,300kg, the 23e is due to go on sale in the second half of next year.
Called the 9080, the new flagship is powered by a four-cylinder Deutz engine with the option of two power ratings; 136hp or 156hp.
A new hydrostatic transmission was developed for the 9080 which sees a single range unit propel the machine from 0 to 40kph.
For now, the machine is only available with fixed loader arms, with plans in the pipeline for a telescoping boom version. The long arm version of the machine on show has a 5,300kg straight tipping load capacity.
Availability will be around the middle of next year.
Comprising seven models across three different categories, Claas’ Torion range spans 63-228hp, with full turn tipping loads of 3.45-13.4 tonnes. In its compact range, two models feature Yanmar Stage 3b engines and two-range hydrostatic transmissions. Loader geometry is only via Z-linkage setup.
Three mid-range models feature four-cylinder Stage 4 Deere engines, offering up to 167hp. Claas says these models are suited to a mix of farming and contractor duties, with a three-speed hydrostatic transmission for greater control and up to 40kph top speed. Loader-arm setup is available in either parallel or Z-bar geometries.
Top range 1812 and 1914 models boast Stage 4 Liebherr engines to offer 195 and 228hp respectively. Weighing in at 18.7 and 19.5 tonnes, the two heavy-weight loaders come with a hydrostatic transmission which incorporates mechanical drive at 10kph and its 40kph top speed.
However, the firm says it is here to stay this time and is already available to order.
One model is on offer for now, the MLA-T 533-145 V+. Catchy. As the model number tries to allude to it gets a 5.2m lift height, a 3.3 tonne lift capacity, a 143hp engine and the firm’s clever M-Vario Plus transmission.
Power comes from a 4.1-litre Deutz engine. Offering a top speed of 40kph, the transmission comprises a four range, hydro-mechanical unit, giving a mix of accurate speed control and pushing performance, it says. For dispensing materials such as bedding, the forward speed and engine revs can be controlled independently.
In the cab the joystick is fixed to the armrest and moves with the seat. A cool box is also standard.
Externally, a handy depressurisation button helps when attaching/detaching implements, and boom suspension is an option. Regenerative hydraulics are also an option, which makes use of gravity to lower the boom, rather than ‘power’ it down, and tyres up to 500mm wide can fitted.
An optional intelligent hydraulics package can be specified which offers up three working modes; simultaneous boom lift and extension, return to position and bucket shake.
On the stand was the Agri Star 35.6 Evo 2 with a 3.5 tonne lift capacity and 6m lift height. It is powered by a 140hp FPT engine, married to a two range, hydrostatic transmission offering speed ranges of 0-18kph and 0-40kph.
Also on show was the Agri Plus 42.7 VS Evo 2, powered by a 153hp FPT engine and offered with a choice of hydrostatic or powershift transmissions. This higher-spec machine features four operating modes; Eco which is designed to save fuel, Full Power which offers up everything the machine has, Loader mode which restricts speed to 0-18kph and Creeper mode which allows engine revs and forward speed to be independently controlled.
Agri Plus models can also now be fitted with 500mm wide tyres.
Both ranges feature a brand new, suspended cab, which is offered in two specification guises; Efficient and Premium. The latter gets an LCD screen for machine monitoring and set-up.
A new bonnet design is also said to offer improved all-round visibility, and boom retraction cushioning is now standard.