Versatile uses Powershift transmission for big haul

Winnipeg – The trend to bigger air drills has created a need for more tractor power. With that comes a need for transmissions capable of handling the power.

That’s what prompted Buhler to introduce the Caterpillar TA22-M4WD Powershift transmission on its big Versatile tractors.

“This is in response to farmer demand for more power and better transmissions to handle that power,” said Versatile chief engineer

Al Minaker.

Versatile customers have traditionally bought 75 percent 12-speed synchro transmissions and only 25 percent Twin Disc Powershift transmissions.

However, the Twin Disc handles only 435 horsepower. Minaker said the trend to higher horsepower is linked to the demand for Powershift. He says there are a number of applications.

“Most of it has to do with changing your ground speed. That includes things like land levelling and drainage work where you slow down to pick up the load with your scraper and then increase your speed to dump it.

“A lot of farmers buy Powershift because it lets them start out slowly and gradually so there’s less impact on the implement. Silage packing is another area where Powershift is required. And it’s better if you’re in muddy conditions or you hit a wet spot or a soft spot in the field.

“This new transmission has extremely smooth shuttle shifting, so it’s easy to slow down to avoid obstacles or for turning in the headlands. It’s just a big, heavy duty, rugged transmission. It’s quite a bit heavier than our 12-speed synchro.”

The internal components in the Versatile version of the TA22-M4WD are the same as on the Cat rubber track version, but repackaged to suit a four-wheel drive configuration. The ratios are the same but the drive pump is specific to Versatile. There is no creeper available.

The new transmission can start in any gear up to sixth.

Minaker said Versatile is looking at increasing that to a 10th gear start-up capability. He said the company is also considering various power take-off options for the transmission, as well as a high-flow hydraulic option with a third pump.

“What we have here is a 600 horsepower transmission in a 535 horsepower tractor,” said Minaker. “We’re thinking about a 600 horsepower tractor, but that’s still on the horizon.”

The Cummins QSX15 engine installed in the big Versatile is tuned to more than 600 horsepower in highway semi tractors.