Reinvention and continuous improvement are important drivers in creation of new equipment and technology. The reinvention comes from looking at how something was being done, and rethinking the approach to come up with something better. Continuous improvement comes from listening to customers, and aiming for higher performance. Agco is using both approaches as it brings new products to market including a new track machine, an innovative sprayer and a high-speed tillage tool.
In this slideshow we offer more details on the products, but here's a quick summary.
The new MT700 track tractor takes on the look of its big brother the Challenger 1000 tractor. It may be the beginning of the new look of Challenger. The MT700 offers a revised cab that fits into the new family providing a more common operating platform from machine to machine. In addition, the track system has seen significant improvements focused on ride quality.
The new tractor also uses the Accu-VT continuously variable transmission technology pioneered in the wheeled Challenger 1000, and modifies it for track use. As Chuck Schrader, marketing manager, Agco explained during a cab conversation, the transmission offers smooth performance. "You can change the responsiveness of the transmission," he explained as he dialed in the performance he wanted.
"Softer" settings allow for a controlled shuttle from forward to reverse, but if you're into "sportier" performance, you can dial that in as well for quicker direction changes. The electronic brains of the new transmission provide higher levels of control for operators, Schrader explained.
The track system redesign also provides a smoother ride. Center wheels now ride on a more articulated gimbal design. Schrader noted that the track moves more with the ground that previous models. The main drive wheel also has a "cleanout design" that keeps soil moving away from the track.
The front track bar is also moved more forward in this design, and is linked to the frame with two spring-pairs that provide enhanced suspension for a smoother ride. "With the bar more forward," said Josh Keeney, tactical marketing manager, "we have changed the balance of the machine." This requires less weight up front to achieve the same performance.
That suspended bar, the changes to the mid-wheels in the track and a two-point cab suspension system provides a new three-stage suspension system for the tractor. Called the MaxxRide integrated comfort system, it provides better comfort during operation, and improved roading speeds too.
And the MT700 offers the option of a cartridge weight, with the ability to add and remove suitcase weights for proper ballast depending on conditions.
The revised cab provides the operator color-coded controls for easier use. And for farm workers who move from machine to machine, the MT700 gets the upgraded Agco platform that's being included in all new equipment from the Gleaner combine to the Challenger 1000.
The engine is the same 9.8-liter Agco Power diesel from this model's predecessor, but with the AccuDrive system, the engine can do the same jobs at lower rpm. That offers improved economy, and can lower engine wear too. The AccuDrive system provides full output at just 1,700 rpm and is designed to provide top torque when running between 1200 and 1600 rpm. It's a new way to think about tractor performance.
There are three models in the new MT700 series line with the second two numbers denoting engine horsepower - the MT738 at 380 hp; MT740 at 400 hp; and the MT743 at 430 hp.
New tech-filled sprayer
The RoGator sprayer is celebrating its 25th birthday in 2017, and the new RoGator C series row crop applicator is bringing plenty of new ideas to the market. We'll start up front, but the real innovation is the new Liquid Logic spraying system that provides features not found on a sprayer before.
First up is a look at the new drive system for the C series changes the way hydrostatic sprayers move through the field. Instead of four hydrostat motors - one at each wheel - on the machine, there's a single hydrostat providing power to all four wheels.
Craig Miller, market product specialist, explained that this single-hydrostat, four-wheel drive setup is the first for the industry. "It provides a kind of differential, so power goes to the wheels with no slip," he explained. If the system senses a wheel is slipping, power is diverted to those that still have grip, keeping you moving.
And you have ultimate control of your drive from the cab with two-wheel or four-wheel drive. If you add optional four-wheel steering, you'll find that the system provides a tight turning radius. In fact, during a ride-and-drive demo, with four-wheel steering engaged, the sprayer turned but left two tracks in the field, not four. The rear wheels followed the fronts easily. Miller explains this is an industry first.
The machine can road pretty fast, so in addition to the new drive system, Agco has added an anti-lock braking system to the machine too, preventing a skid on quick stops.
This new drive system also provides better fuel economy because you can better match engine power to desired speed, often running at a lower rpm to cover the same ground at a higher speed. There's a two-speed cruise control as well, so you can have an "in field" speed and an "end row turn" speed with an easy switch between the two.
There's also a single lever control for folding the boom, which is an operator comfort feature that provides improved day to day operation.
Perhaps the most important new feature on this sprayer is the Liquid Logic system, which provides a number of industry firsts. A knowledgeable sprayer operator will see the difference at the boom end, there's no end cap on the boom, instead there's a recirculation joint with a hose.
"This is the first in North America," says Mark Mohr, tactical marketing manager, sprayers. "There's no dead end to the sprayer."
With Liquid Logic, the operator can prime the boom without releasing material through the nozzles - which is a common practice today. This saves product, but also is more environmentally responsible. The system can be fully charged while the operator is opening the boom to start a run, which also improves productivity.
This design also provides very consistent hold-at-minimum pressure across the boom. "We're maintaining pressure within 1 pound per square inch across the boom," Mohr said. "This allows us to maintain a consistent droplet size across all nozzles."
Perhaps the biggest advantage of the new system is the end-of-day benefit of its cleanout features. This sprayer will recover all material in the boom back into the tank. There's a process the operator can go through which allows "pulling back" material from the boom into the tank. Once complete, when filters are drained, there's less than two gallons of material that drains off.
This process is also done from the cab, which improves operator comfort and there's the stewardship benefit of having that material back in the tank, the boom cleared and nozzles open for hitting the field the next day. No product is left to sit in the boom.
Agco has named the different parts of Liquid Logic. There's the FlowLogic recirculation plumbing that keeps product moving through the boom, plumbing and filters to reduce chemical buildup and help eliminate plugged spray tips. ClearFlow recover, an industry first, is a full-recovery system that uses air to force product from the booms to reload station back into the tank. And the new self-priming booms save time and money.
RoGator can still be outfitted with the Raven Viper controller, but for the new machine there's the upgraded AgControl rate controller that allows section control for either 35 sections with 10- or 15-inch spacing, or 36 sections with 20-inchs spacing. This is much more significant control than in the past.
The electronic controls of the system can even help the operator manage agitation to avoid foaming in the tank as product level falls. The RoGator C is setting a high bar in the application market.
There are three models in the C series - the 1100C (1,100 gallon tank); the 1300C (1,300 gallon tank) and the 900C (900 gallon tank). The two larger models get power from an 8.4-liter Agco Power diesel, the 900C is powered by a 7.9-liter Agco Power engine.
Agco rolled out the White planter with Precision Planting technology in 2017, and offers higher-speed planting. But it turns out that if you want to run that planter at high speed, the ground better be ready. That's the role of the new Sunflower SF6830NT series of rotary finishers.
Larry Kuster, Agco senior product marketing specialist, noted the company has launched the NT series rotary finishers. NT stands for narrow-transport and two models fold to less than 10-feet wide for travel.
The SF6830-18NT is 17-feet, 8-inches; the SF6830-21NT is 21-feet, 5-inches. The machine has front opposing gangs at 8-degrees and 7.5-inch spacing which can provide some primary tillage, but this machine is designed for finishing. A reel gang behind the opening tillage levels material.
Two-inch wavy coulters follow the reals to break up material. And the final portion is a row of "spider tines" at 7.5-inches apart to uproot weeds and do final finishing. The Rotary Spider Tines are patented.
Kuster pointed out the hydraulic leveler gang with four wavy coulter blades that can be hydraulically operated by the operator from zero to 10 degrees. This allows the user to have more control of the tool and can match soil conditions and ground speed for an even seedbed.