As the world’s worst secret, Fendt finally reveals its highly anticipated new 900 Vario tractor series. James Rickard reports from its Marktoberdorf HQ, Germany.
More than just a cosmetic update, Fendt’s latest 900 Series is effectively a brand new tractor. In particular, key elements such as engine, transmission, axles and hydraulics have all been completely overhauled, taking much of their development inspiration from the larger 1000 Series.
Spanning 296 to 415hp, the five model range (930, 933, 936, 939 and 942) has also grown in power, now sporting a new flagship tractor. Conversely, the smallest 927 has been dropped.
Like its predecessors, which started with the 260hp Favorit 926 Vario in 1995, the new 900 Series has been designed as a high power to weight ratio tractor. With an un-laden weight of 11.7 tonnes, the tractor is said to be suited to a mix of work – not just a one trick pony like many in this class. This includes PTO and transport work, and can be ballasted up to 20 tonnes allowing for heavy draft work. The latter is also aided by the firm’s VarioGrip central tyre inflation system, enabling tyre pressures to be altered on the move.
Designed for Fendt to match the capabilities of the transmission, all 900 Series models are now equipped with nine-litre, six-cylinder, MAN engines.
Previously powered by Deutz, the firm explored many engine options, it says, including its own AgcoPower motors, but concluded the required dimensions and performance offered by MAN fit the bill. In addition, service intervals have been boosted to 1,000 hours.
Meeting Stage 5 emissions compliance, rated engine speed is down to 1,700rpm, while at idle, the engine spins at a lowly 650rpm. Maximum torque of up to 1,970Nm is produced at 1,100rpm on the 942. On the road, this sees the tractor able to hit 60kph at 1,450rpm, or achieve 40kph at just 950rpm.
Featuring one hydrostatic pump and two hydro-motors (one for each axle), the 900 uses the same continuously variable transmission as the 1000 Series. Via the motors, torque is distributed between the front and rear axles, which varies depending on the ground conditions. In effect, the tractor is in constant 4WD, below 25kph. Above this, drive to the front axle is disconnected.
The manufacturer says this transmission concept avoids tension on the road and on bends and allows full traction in the field. Especially at the headland, the tractor is pulled around the curve by the 'pull-in turn' effect, giving the new 900 a tighter turning circle over its predecessor.
However, should the tractor detect too much wheelslip difference between the front and rear wheels, 4WD is automatically engaged mechanically via a clutch.
From an operation point of view, due to effectively using a single range CVT, there is now no need to make a range change and power to the front and rear axles is all automatically managed.
Offered with flange or bar axles, a variety of different tyre combinations can be fitted. There is also a 1.5m (60 inch) track variant available, popular for row crop applications in North America, for example. Complimenting this, the tractor’s central tyre inflation system option can now adjust the pressures of dual wheeled 900s.
If certain parameters are pre-set for a particular job, Fendt’s ‘Grip Assistant’, via the terminal, can be used to determine the ideal ballast and the right tyre pressure at a pre-defined speed, or it can work out the best possible working speed and tyre pressure if the ballast on the tractor is already fixed.
Helping get power to the ground, a new large 750/70 R44 tyre has been specially developed, with a maximum diameter of 2.2m.
The 900 features a modular hydraulics system, with two load-sensing pump options; 165 or 220 litres per minute.
You can also specify an optional 430l/min high-performance hydraulics package, with two independent hydraulic circuits; one 220 and one 210l/min. This allows different flow and pressure levels in two active hydraulics circuits. Featuring built-in pressure limit valves, the pumps supply the right amount of oil in their active circuits according to the pressure, says the manufacturer. Through one hydraulic coupling, up to 140l/min of oil can be pumped through it.
As an option, a new extendible multi-functional tool compartment is built in to the right hand side of the tractor. Depending on how you want to use it, there is room for a pull-out toolbox or a washing box with a 12 litre water tank.
Via tractor implement management (TIM), IsoBus attachments can now take control of the tractor. Like the firm’s forage wagons or balers, load sensors on their drivelines can be used to determine what is the best forward speed, with the implement automatically ‘telling’ the tractor to speed up or slow down.
As for headland management control, this can now be tied in with the firm’s VarioGuide guidance system. Which, based on a virtual boundary, can be used to automatically trigger a headland management sequence.
As well as the conventional locking system with conventional key, the new series will also be offered to customers with a safety locking system and combined immobiliser. This coded key is for the cab door, ignition lock, bonnet and fuel tank (unique for that vehicle).
Up top, things have stayed pretty much the same, physically. However, its electronic architecture has received an overhaul.
Featuring the capability to display machine data from the 900 in real time, the firm’s basic 'ready' telemetry package, it has all the hardware you need to capture and send on the data for a variety of services. This includes Fendt Connect, a central telemetry system for analysing and managing machine use, helping fleet management in particular. As well as details about the machine's position, it also collects CAN bus data from the tractor.
Via a PC or smart device, the owner or manager can retrieve a wide range of information, including a map view showing the position and driving route of the tractor, fuel consumption, speed and working time of the machine, as well as machine use. You can also view error messages and service intervals. With the consent of the vehicle owner, the dealer can also access the machine data, helping to plan servicing for example.