Machinery companies keep investing in new technology for their customers, even in the face of softer sales. Case IH is bringing a new driveline to its Steiger series; launching the Trident 5550 dual applicator; and has redesigned the Maxxum tractor too. Here's a rundown on the latest from the company.
The continuously variable transmission is now a common option across the major tractor brands you can buy today, but there's one area where the industry hasn't seen these innovative drivelines – the articulated four-wheel drive, big muscle machines. That changes for 2018.
Case IH is rolling out the CVX Drive for its Steiger line, offering the new transmission for machines up to 540 hp (or 605 peak hp) in the lineup. The optional system provides wide-ranging enhancements to operational efficiency and ease of use to these machines.
"What we have here is a strong, smart and simple tractor," said Mitch Kaiser, tractor marketing manager, Case IH, during a media event the company held to roll out its newest machines. Kaiser pointed out that Steiger tractors first started rolling in the field 60 years ago; it was 20 years ago that Steigers got Quadtrac added to its offering. Now comes the new transmission.
The new transmission comes in part to meet a growing need for continuous power managed during busy times. "High-speed planting systems require more horsepower, but they also need constant power to perform," Kaiser said. He explained that with the CVX at work, the engine, transmission and PTO are in communication to keep constant power to implements.
That's got value with new high-speed planters – a 24 row high-speed planter needs at least 500 hp to hit those in-field speeds. "But you want to make sure you have power to the planter, you can't have vacuum pressure drop because the tractor can't maintain output," Kaiser said.
The CVT, and its engine systems, can be used to set a tractor speed, and maintain output in varying conditions because the entire driveline is in communication at all times through sensors and plenty of computer programming.
The CVX does more than enable high-speed planting. With the system an operator can set three speeds – depending on the work. But you can vary speed in each of those ranges, for maximum control. For example, if you have 6 mph as your middle set speed, you can go from 0 to 6 by pushing the control all the way forward, but back off easily by pulling back. The idea of different set speeds means you may have a very slow speed for one task, a middle speed for operating (say a planter or tillage tool) and an endrow turn, or transport speed, and switch between them is easy.
In a silage packing demonstration, using the optional joystick to control a big blade, and the on-steering column shuttle, the machine moves material much more easily than in the past. It's really a system you have to operate to understand, but bringing the CVX Drive to the Steiger lineup (at least up to the Steiger 540) is a big move for the company. The CVX Drive is a $42,000 option for Steiger machines.
In the video below, Kaiser talks in more detail about the CVX Drive.
A do-all applicator
Case IH has a solid history with application equipment with its Titan and Patriot machines, now comes the Trident 5550 Dual-Applicator. And Mark Burns, application product manager, wants you to know this is a truly new machine. "We're offering an applicator that can be used for three seasons," he said. "We bring the dry fertilizer application capability for early season spreading; spraying for postemergence application; and you can switch back to dry for in-season use too."
The changing nature of both fertilizer and crop protection application makes keeping up during the season a challenge. The Trident is a machine that can do more for the buyer, he said. And its secret is that it's designed for a quick switch out from dry applicator to sprayer in less than an hour. You read that right.
"In our demonstration, we do use three people," Burns explained after showing a time-lapse video of the changeover. "That's three men for 42 minutes, or about 2 man hours." He noted that other combination machines on the market take four man hours for the changeover. The Case IH machine is specifically designed for a speedy change.
With this system, he noted it would be possible to spread dry fertilizer on the field in the morning and switch to spraying after lunch.
Keys to that quick changeover include a pre-drilled main bar that can be used with a telehandler and chain attached to pre-designed lift points on the dry box or sprayer for easy lifting off the chassis. Changing the main connection for different parts – dry box or sprayer – is simple too. Main connections to the chassis are spring-loaded bolts, and hydraulic connections have been designed to be error free.
"We've sized the connections differently, used male or female connections, to make sure that hookups are error free," Burns explained.
The dry box is a New Leader NL4500T G4 design which offers variable-rate application technology for maximizing fertilizer use. The sprayer is a 1,400-gallon system that also carries 200 gallons of rinse capacity – so it’s a 1,600-gallon sprayer. Both application systems offer a range of precision application technologies.
The Trident chassis has a range of improvements including an innovative ride compensation system that uses air power to dynamically manage the ride no matter what the chassis carries. It has four modes – transport, for which lowers the machine for transport on a trailer; minimum ride height in to lower the machine for entrance into sheds; standard ride height for in-field work; and tender.
"In tender mode the system is fully inflated as you fill, then the system will 'find' the normal height for operation," Burns explained. "This is more efficient that inflating the system once full before field operation."
Price of the chassis is $312,000, and the sprayer – depending on boom selection (90, 100 and 120-foot booms available) can raise the price up to $400,000. The dry box from New Leader is priced by the dealer, according to Burns and sold under a separate contract.
The new face of Maxxum
The Maxxum tractor first joined the Case IH line in 1989. And, a little history, it was the first true creation of the merged company's engineering department just a few years after Case acquired International Harvester's ag business. For 2018, the new Maxxum brings a new look, first hinted at with the launch of the Optum line two years ago, and a new transmission with a range of new features.
Cole Carling, marketing manager for Maxxum, Puma and Optum, explained that the versatile Maxxum line is getting its biggest update since the SCR-only engine announcement a few years ago. There's a new transmission choice for the Maxxum. The newest choice is the Active 8 dual-clutch transmission 24-speed powershift that offers 8 speeds in three electronically controlled ranges.
A powershift transmission is a popular option in this tractor size and the Active 4 16-speed drive has been popular, but the new transmission raises the stakes. Carling explained that the second range in the three-range Active 8 provides speeds from 2.4 to 10.7 mph with no shifting and no interruption in torque. "This will be the most popular range for operating this machine," he predicted. "We think that operators will use Range B for 90% of their operations."
Maxxum, which has had a CVT transmission for several years, keeps that option with its CVX drive.
The new PowerShift has some interesting programmed features. For example, the tractor 'remembers' your forward and reverse speeds. Say you went forward at 8 mph in range B, but the last time you ran the machine you were in reverse at 3 mph. The machine remembers, so for loader users its simple to get in and run, and not have to tinker with ranges. Case IH calls the feature the Memory Shuttle.
Most Maxxum tractors leave dealerships with loaders attached, having that forward/reverse logic at work just boosts efficiency of the machine. Another loader friendly feature is brake-to-clutch, where you can use the brake pedal to slow the machine and it clutches at the same time, providing smooth operation. The Active 8 is a significant upgrade in the power shift market.
Beyond the new transmission, the new Model Year 2018 machines get a new nose, that shows off the evolution of the Case IH lineup. Carling explained that the new tractors get an advanced new cooling system under the hood, which he said boosts fuel efficiency by 5% over the previous model.
And the new machines get a new Class IV HD front axle, beefing up these machines for the heavy loader work they do in the field.