Farm Ireland

Thursday 23 November 2017

JCB claims latest loader can boost farm productivity

Derek Casey

Derek Casey

JCB has launched a new version of one of the most popular high-performance wheeled loaders on the market, a move which the firm claims can increase the productivity of larger farms and contractors.

The JCB Farm Master 435S Agri builds on the success of its predecessor – the 434S Agri – as the industry's first heavy-class wheeled loader built exclusively for agricultural applications.

"The 434S established new levels of performance for heavy-duty farm loading and handling operations with features and specifications designed specifically for agriculture," says Edward Roach, JCB's agriculture product marketing manager.

"Its replacement builds on a successful formula with improved traction, faster travel speed and greater comfort and convenience for the operator – and a significant reduction in fuel consumption bringing lower running costs."

Like its predecessor, the new 4.2t payload Farm Master 435S Agri is powered by a 6.7l Cummins QSB six-cylinder engine but with catalyst and particle filtration exhaust after-treatment technologies to meet European stage 3B emissions rules.

It also has a variable geometry turbo, generating increased performance at lower engine speeds. Peak outputs are unchanged at 230hp and 945Nm torque, so the machine's impressive power-to-weight ratio of 16.8hp/t, which gives it agile silage clamp climbing performance, remains uncompromised.

However, apart from the inherent fuel efficiency of the Cummins engine, an ECO power setting that limits engine speed to 1,800rpm for light duties is joined by a new 'low idle' feature. This automatically cuts engine speed to just 700rpm after 30 seconds of inactivity – when waiting for a silage trailer, for example – and can be augmented by an optional auto engine shut-down if required. Together with a lower cooling fan speed to cut power loss, JCB claims these features contribute to a significant reduction in lifetime fuel usage.

With 750/65 R26 MegaXBib tyres installed, the 435S Agri has impressive traction and flotation for a machine weighing more than 13.6t. But a new option of an automatic locking front axle differential adds further tractive effort in challenging conditions as an alternative to the standard limited slip differentials at both ends.

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"Service intervals for the loader's axles have been extended to 1,500 hours and wheel speed braking is introduced for reduced heat build-up, less brake wear and increased efficiency," says Edward Roach. "These all contribute to lower lifetime running costs."

Further efficiency gains come from the unique driveline for a wheeled loader – a six-speed powershift transmission with automatic shifting and torque converter lock-up in all gears giving no-slip mechanical drive to the wheels.

The new 'Powerinch' feature disengages the clutch when full engine speed is required at low ground speed for optimum loader tear-out and lift. On the road, the transmission gearing provides a 48kph top speed option to enable the machine to keep pace with other vehicles in a silage-making or muck spreading crew.

Operators get to enjoy a quieter working environment in the new cab, where maximum noise level is down to 70dB(A). Climate control air conditioning with increased ventilation and air recirculation is a new alternative to the standard system and an Actimo XXL luxury air suspension seat is introduced as an option for best comfort through a busy working day.

"There is also a new instrument display combining analogue dials and colour LCD screen with additional features," says Mr Roach.

"It provides the operator with more useful information, such as fuel consumption, to help manage and record the loader's use."

For service and maintenance access, all daily checks can be performed at ground level. Gull-wing doors expose the engine bay and a swing-out hydraulic drive fan gives clear access to the cooling package for cleaning. Operators who appreciate how the loader arm suspension can boost productivity by absorbing vehicle movements over a rough surface can now exploit the system at slower speeds. The current machine must exceed 6kph for the suspension to become active but with the 435S Agri, the operator can ask the dealer to set smooth-ride suspension activation at any speed.

"Together with other new features, the new JCB Farm Master 435S Agri is even more operator-focused than before," adds Mr Roach.

"For example, float, kickout and return-to-dig are now selectable rather than permanent features of the loader control system, and we have, as standard, an electrical quick-hitch implement attachment from the seat for safety as well as convenience. Big farms and contractors who need a loader of this calibre have a choice."

Irish Independent