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Challenger set to test the market with new RoGator

600 'B' self-propelled sprayer attracting significant interest thanks to boom options, diverse spec and strong performance

At the LAMMA Show earlier this year in Britain, Challenger launched its new RoGator 600 'B' Series self-propelled sprayers. The self-propelled sprayer market in Britain is estimated to be in the region of about 200 machines. While the Irish market is certain to be significantly less, there has still been considerable interest in the new RoGator 600 'B' Series, according to William Judge, area sales manager for Challenger in Ireland.

Challenger is part of the AGCO group and Challenger RoGator Sprayers, together with Spra-Coupe Sprayers and Terra-gator three, four and five-wheel spreaders and sprayers are all manufactured at Challenger's Grubbenvorst facility in the Netherlands.

Despite the American connection to Challenger products, Mr Judge is keen to point out that the firm's RoGator 600 'B' Series self-propelled sprayers destined for the European market are designed and built to suit European conditions and Europe's unique marketplace. This is reflected in the specification of the machine and the boom options available.

SISU

In-line with Stage 3b/Tier IIIA exhaust emission regulations, the launch of the new 'B' Series RoGators sees the introduction of Selective Catalytic Reduction as a means of controlling exhaust emissions on the larger two models in the three-model series. The RoGator 645 'B' and RoGator 655 'B' are both powered by Finnish designed and manufactured AGCO SISU POWER e3 engines. The SCR process uses AdBlue diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) in conjunction with a diesel oxidation catalyser (DOC) to treat the exhaust gases after combustion.

The new engines develop a maximum power of 223hp on the RoGator 645B and 242hp RoGator 655B, both at what Challenger call 'an economical 1,950rpm'. The smaller 175hp RG635 model is powered by a standard AGCO SISU engine without SCR. Despite the additional emission control systems on the two bigger models, all engines remain in their original side-mounted location in the centre of the machine. The 40l AdBlue tank is located with the fuel tank on the right-hand side and includes a heater coil to stop the liquid freezing in cold conditions.

Environment

Cab air quality is important in all agricultural machines but is especially important during spraying operations.

According to Challenger, the RoGator 600 series is the first and only farm machine to achieve a Category 4 rating for its cab air quality.

Category 4 rating, as quoted by Challenger, 'reduces the quantity of dusts, as specified in 3.2 EN 15695-2:2009, aerosols in 3.3 EN 15695-2:2009 and vapours in 3.4 EN 15695-2:2009'.

This essentially ensures operators are protected from dust, aerosols and vapours to that standard. To achieve this unique clean air rating, Challenger uses a high specification pressurised cabin from the Challenger MT tractor range. It has a sealed back window and increased airflow with higher capacity fan, combined with a new special filter which cleans air to Category 4 standard.

Control

As an option, the new 'B' Series RoGators are available with the new ISOBus compliant C3000 control terminal. It has been developed in conjunction with Topcon to monitor and control all elements of chemical application, including mapping. All spraying information and control functions are accessed through a 12.1in (30cm) touch-screen colour display. On it, up to three 'mini-view' windows can be opened to display additional information as required.

It also boasts a user-defined 'dashboard' view as well as an interactive keyboard and detailed information displays. Challenger says this is easy to read, even in direct sunlight, and is back-lit by LED for night work. The company also says its new GPS SGR-1 antenna provides highly accurate and stable pass-to-pass precise positioning. In addition, its multi-constellation receiver is able to obtain signals from both GPS and GLONASS satellites, as well as corrections from EGNOS, WAAS and Omnistar VBS.

Function and control features of the C3000 include:

• Application rate control to maintain dose rate in relation to forward speed;

• Auto boom section control on/off for headland and gearing management;

• Variable rate control;

• Coverage logging and mapping which can be exported as applied maps;

• Job reports downloaded in PDF file format;

• Ability to import prescription maps and jobs in 'shape' and ISOXML formats;

• Auto field recognition for quick and simple identification and loading jobs;

• Calculation and display of areas covered and remaining areas.

Driving

All models of RoGator 600s are built on a single-beam chassis and feature hydraulic adjustment of both working height and wheel track. Clearance under the machine can be increased hydraulically by 450mm from the standard lowered position and is still able to work at speeds up to 20kph in higher crop Challenger states. Track width can be adjusted to cater for row crop or tramline widths of 1.8-2.25m. Both height and track adjustment can be made from the driver's seat.

Top speed on the road is 50kph and independent suspension on all four wheels works on the road and in the field to help stabilise the machine. Four-wheel steer is also standard and the RoGators can be operated in two-wheel or four-wheel steering modes. Drive to all four wheels is through completely new wheel motors that incorporate planetary reduction units, as well as n-board brakes. All the motors are linked through an Active Slip Regulation system, a sort of hydraulic differential lock.Challenger does not build the sprayers' booms, instead opting for booms from specialised British firm Chafer or aluminium booms from French firm Pommier. Several width options are available, including 24m and 36m. Sprayer booms are fitted on a boom-mounting arm, positioned just in front of the rear axle, which Challenger says is the best position to maintain stability. The new RoGators can also be equipped with twin stainless steel spray-lines for high volume applications of liquid fertiliser.

Liquid capacity options on the new 'B' series increase up the range, with the RoGator 635 fitted with a 4,000l tank. The mid-range 645 has the option of a 4,000l or a 4,800l tank, while the biggest model in the range, the 655, has a further 6,000l option. Challenger has designed the tank to provide a low centre of gravity, plus optimum balance and weight distribution of 50:50 on the front and rear axles with the boom unfolded.

All machines have a Hypro 800l/min capacity centrifugal pump. Prices for the new Challenger RoGator 600 'B' Series self-propelled sprayers start at £186,000 + VAT (€222,909 + VAT). For more information see www.challenger-ag.com

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