New Claas Terra Trac system lands top prize for reducing shear-effect grass damage
German firm's new Terra Trac system reduces shear-effect grass damage to land top prize at SIMA Awards, writes Derek Casey
The 2019 SIMA machinery exhibition is taking place in Paris this week. This is a huge event that usually attracts close to 300,000 visitors. The show has been bolstered by a growing Irish following in the last 10 or so years and for those who like their machinery gigs, they don't come much bigger than this one.
Several Irish manufacturers have been flying the tricolour, including the likes of McHale and Keenan.
One of the aims of SIMA is to provide a glimpse of the latest engineering and innovation breakthroughs in the industry. This is done through the SIMA Innovation Awards, which are recognised by professionals in the agricultural industry worldwide.
In order to be selected as a possible prize winner, the judging criteria say that successful candidates must be "innovative or perfect an existing solution, show originality, improve equipment or generate savings".
This year's jury awarded two gold and five silver medals.
Claas Terra Trac
Claas, renowned for its range of Terra Trac crawler track units for combine harvesters, won a gold medal for removing the main obstacle to the use of tracks on forage harvesters: churning up the headland during turning manoeuvres. The German company impressed judges for their automatic system that raises the front drive roller, substantially reducing the shear effect when working on grass covers.
This system is smartly triggered beyond a certain turning angle without damaging soil structure.
The average soil pressure exerted by the remaining surface area (approximately 60pc) is lower than that of a standard set of tyres. Claas claims (and the judges agreed) this arrangement, combined with remote rear tyre inflation, constitutes a genuine advantage in terms of soil protection.
A common complaint with tracked systems to date, the technological breakthrough was achieved simply by adapting the hydraulic systems already fitted to the set of suspended crawlers.
Depending on the turning circle, the hydraulic pressure on the crawler support rollers automatically increases.
Only the support rollers and the rear drive roller remain in contact with the ground, reducing the contact area by about a third.
For Claas, the crawler unit increases the length of the Jaguar 960 TT forage harvester by about a metre.
However, the German firm claims this new extended wheelbase delivers an upside in terms of maintenance by offering easy access to the corn cracker and the accelerator.
On the road, the vehicle can travel at 40km/h with an external width of three metres.
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