Several major tractor manufacturers have launched a number of new models and ranges coming into the last quarter of this year. The launches have largely been driven by the need to meet the next round of emission regulations, Tier 4A, for next year.
Most manufacturers are adopting one of two methods -- Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) or Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) -- to achieve the exhaust emission regulations. These methods are, of course, not used in isolation. There is also some pretty sophisticated fuel and turbo management controlling the engine. But SCR and EGR are regarded as the major factors in controlling engine emissions.
There are arguments both for and against each method of controlling what an engine pumps out. One thing is certain, though: manufacturers need to employ one method or the other to comply with the regulations to allow them to sell their wares.
Fendt, CaseIH and New Holland have all launched new or updated models, which have been designed to meet these regulations. These manufacturers have adopted SCR for the models launched.
At last month's Ploughing Championships, we were introduced to CaseIH's new Puma 130-161hp Puma CVX series -- all of which will be using SCR as a means of controlling exhaust emissions.
In addition to the new Pumas, CaseIH also launched new American-built muscle with the new Magnums and Steiger/Quadtracs. The firm states that all Case IH equipment above 100hp will ultimately use SCR technology to meet emission standards.
Again, using SCR developed in collaboration with Fiat Powertrain Technologies (FPT), the new Magnum 235-340 models use the 8.7-litre engine used in the Axial Flow 7120 combine as their power plant. There are five models in the new line-up, starting with the Magnum 235, with 274 peak engine horsepower, and at the top of the range, the Magnum 340 with a 389hp peak.
In the cab, operators get a new MultiController Armrest with the new AFS Pro 700 colour display integrated into it. Operating functions are displayed, plus other functions such as hydraulic flow and AFS AccuGuide auto guidance. The firm says the AccuGuide makes steering simpler but also uses Automatic Productivity Management (APM) to automatically select the most efficient gear ratio and engine speed combination and achieve the best possible fuel economy.
New Magnums now feature cab suspension in addition to front axle and seat suspension. Up to six remote valves can be fitted, plus they get a facelift with a new hood design.
New Steiger and Quadtrac models have also been launched to coincide with the new emission regulations. There are four models in the new Quadtrac-tracked range, from 502-690hp. There are six models in the wheeled Steiger line-up, with peakboosted power ranging from 391-670hp.
Again, all the Steiger and Quadtracs use SCR for emission control. The smallest Steiger uses the same engine as the Magnums but all other models use a 12.9-litre unit equipped with a two-stage turbo.
Like the Magnums, CaseIH now offers a suspended cab option on all the artic-steer models plus a 40 , righthand swivel seat to allow better surveillance of the tractor and implement.
Several cab controls have been relocated to the upper righthand side of the cab headliner, while the most frequently used functions are contained in the new MultiController armrest, says the firm. The MultiController armrest controls up to eight hydraulic remote valves, shifting capabilities and the automatic end-of-row function.
A new AFS Pro 700 colour display is integrated into the MultiController armrest and, similar to the Magnums, the Steiger and Quadtrac models use APM to automatically select the best gear and engine speed combination.
New electronic positioning remote control valves provide more precise flow and repeatability, according to CaseIH.
Meanwhile, Case's new Twin Flow hydraulic system provides up to 428 litres a minute for the most demanding of implements. For working at night, new HID lights are fitted which, Case claims, are five to six times brighter than standard lighting systems.
It is no surprise that there are similar changes over on the blue side of the CNH group with introductions in New Holland's mirroring, much of what has happened on the red CaseIH side.
The upper end of New Holland's T7 range has been upgraded with FPT's SCR 6.7-litre Nef engine for Tier 4A compliance. At the lower end of the horsepower scale, four new standard wheelbase models replace the outgoing five.
Power at the upper end of the T7 series now ranges from 218-269 maximum Engine Power Management horsepower (167-228 rated horsepower). At the lower end, new are the T7.170, T7.185, T7.200 and T7.210 -- producing between 171 and 212 maximum Engine Power Management horsepower (125-165 rated engine horsepower).
Similar to CaseIH, New Holland also employs an Engine Power Management system to continuously adjust engine output to match actual working conditions by an intelligent sensing of the PTO, hydraulic and transmission loads. The firm claims this ensures that the engine runs at its optimum power and fuel efficiency.
New Holland claims the SCR technology on the T7 range will offer customers up to a 10pc reduction in fuel consumption which, it says, should more than offset the cost of buying AdBlue/DEF.
The four smaller model T7s have been engineered to allow tyres up to 650/65/R42 in size to be used, according to New Holland. New Holland's Auto Command Transmission is now available on these models as well. The operator selects the desired working speed, and the Auto Command will adjust the engine speed and transmissions setting to achieve the most efficient performance.
Also available are 40kph ECO and 50kph ECO options where top speeds are reached at 1,600rpm and 1,700rpm respectively to keep fuel consumption down. The PTO can also be operated at a lower engine speed on these models as well to also help with fuel economy.
The SideWinder II and the multifunction Command Grip force based handle are fitted as standard. The integrated IntelliView III colour touchscreen can be used to monitor and continuously adjust a whole host of operating parameters while on the move as well as controlling ISOBUS equipment and the IntelliSteer-integrated guidance solution.
Not available in red, though, is New Holland's SuperSteer front axle, which steers the axle beam and wheels, producing extraordinarily tight turning capabilities.
The new numbering on the T7 series refers firstly to the range, T7, followed by a dot and then the last three digits denote the maximum Engine Power Management horsepower (maximum power with power boost).
The new, five-model T8 range delivers 232-335hp rated powers from the Tier 4A-compliant Cursor 9 engine developed by FPT. SCR is again used to control exhaust emissions and with Engine Power Management, the five models can produce maximum powers from 273-389hp. Like the T7s, the new models get their numbering from their maximum power.
Up front, the new T8s get a tighter turning circle, more travel in the front suspension, with an all new Terraglide front axle, and the introduction of cab suspension to further improve operator comfort.
Other improvements include new LED lighting and roof lighting. Also included is a SideWinder II armrest, CommandGrip controls and Integrated Control Panel.
On this range, Engine Power Management continuously adjusts engine output to match actual working conditions by an intelligent sensing of the PTO, hydraulic and transmission loads. New Holland has extended this concept further on the T8 range, automating the transmission control with Ground Speed Management, to the degree that it has all the functionality of a CVT transmission. Once the GSM mode has been engaged, the hand throttle becomes a speed lever and the foot throttle a drive pedal.
Optional equipment includes an exhaust brake, up to six remote hydraulic services and a Mega Flow hydraulic system, which produces a combined total of 274 litres a minute.
New Holland's T9 series spans six models from 354 to 608 rated horsepower and, again, its new numbering denotes the maximum powers (390-669hp). The new T9 range uses nine-litre (on T9.390) and 13-litre (on T9.450, T9.505, T9.560, T9.615, T9.670) Cursor engines developed by FPT.
New Holland says it has completely redesigned the T9's frame to handle the extra power, and has increased manoeuvrability with a turning circle of 4.9m.
The redesigned 'whisper quiet' cab has all the bells and whistle features when compared to its smaller siblings, including new Comfort Ride cab suspension.
The 16x2 'Ultra Command' full powershift transmission again can be operated like the smaller series in full auto mode with GSM to give CVT-like operation, according to the manufacturers.
There are extensive tyre options, including super-singles and, like their red cousins, there is up to 428 litres a minute available for hydraulic services.
New Holland will help its customers to adopt the SCR technology during the transitional period to Tier 4A by delivering a 1,000-litre, AdBlue tank together with an electrical pump free of charge.
All New Holland authorised dealers will also stock all products required to ensure conformity with new Tier 4A regulations, including AdBlue, in containers of varying sizes in order to suit an individual farmer's needs.
German manufacturer Fendt launched its new 900 Vario SCR range at the beginning of last month and, as you can guess from the name, has adopted SCR as its chosen method of meeting the latest emission regulations.
With the new range comes a new flagship model, and the firm has launched the 390hp 939 Vario Fendt. According to Fendt, it has a market share of more than 30pc in the 250hp+ bracket across Europe.
Fendt has used Deutz engines for quite a few years now and this has not changed -- all models in the new generation 900 Vario SCR range are all powered by a new six-cylinder, 7.8-litre capacity Deutz engine with SCR.
The new engine has a larger bore and longer stroke, increasing capacity to 7.8 litres. The common rail fuel injection pressure has also been increased to 2,000 bar and the engines are equipped with a new turbocharger with electronically controlled waste gate. There is also a new cooler and heat exchanger system for the transmission and hydraulic oil.
SCR exhaust treatment technology uses a second liquid, AdBlue, to treat the exhaust gases and convert the harmful NOx content into nitrogen and water.
According to Fendt's marketing director, Roland Schmidt, "there are a number of advantages to using SCR technology. But the primary reason is that it reduces fuel consumption by allowing the engine to be set for optimum combustion. Unlike EGR, using SCR creates less exhaust gas back pressure and does not consume fuel for filter recuperation. It also calls for significantly reduced cooling capacity."
The firm claims that fuel tests show a saving of about 7pc in fuel.
Standard on the new series is the new Variotronic terminal with a seven-inch screen (10.4-inch is optional) which integrates all the controls in one terminal, including the new Vario-Guide automatic steering, tractor operation, documentation, camera displays and ISObus implement controls.
Top speed from the Vario transmission remains at 60kph and, to improve safety on the road, Fendt is now introducing an ABS braking option. This will be available in the middle of next year. Also available around that same time is an optional integrated tyre pressure adjustment system, which is set using the Variotronic terminal.
Production of the new series is expected to start in December. While the most powerful 939 Vario now comes in at the top, the smallest 220hp, 922 Vario model will be discontinued from the range. Instead, the recently launched 822 Vario will take over in that power category.