517 h.p. Fendt steps into big tractor ring

With 517 drill-pulling horsepower, the Fendt 1050 Vario has put an end to the days when farmers viewed Fendts as yard tractors. Fendt is now competing with North America’s big tractor manufacturers.

Featured last week at the World Ag Expo in Tulare California, the 517 h.p. model 1050 Vario emphasizes technologies designed to make the tractor appealing to farmers who try to maximize efficiency.

Fendt introduced their Vario transmission, the world’s first step-less transmission in a high horsepower tractor in 1995. The name Vario is based of the Latin word “varius” representing various, variable and variety. In transmission language, the Vario allows the operator to select the proper speed for every application by using the power reserves normally hidden in the areas between gears. In effect, Vario is like an ultra-close ratio gearbox in a race car.

Grip — One of these technologies is the Fendt VarioDrive designed to deliver power to the tires that most need it. With the Torque Distribution system, if the front wheels slip, the intelligent four-wheel clutch automatically closes. Torque is automatically shifted to the rear axle, which has grip. When rear wheels don’t grip, torque is shifted to the front axle.

Correct ballasting is made easier with the Grip Assistant program, which explains tire pressure and ballasting needed for a defined ground speed when in the Speed Select mode. If you instead switch to Ballast Select mode, Grip Assistant recommends the ideal working speed as well as tire pressure for a defined ballast.

In their quest for a large contact area and optimal traction, Fendt engineers went wide with the rear tires and they went tall. Rear-tire diameter measures 93 inches (2.35 metres). This contact area has a positive impact on traction and pulling power, but optimal traction requires optimal air pressure in each tire.

The VarioGrip Central Inflation System (CIS) is integrated into every Fendt 1050 Vario.

Tire pressure is adjusted up or down with a click in the Varioterminal. According to an Agco Fendt news release, air is filled into or released from the tires while driving. Compared to tractors without CIS, farmers can achieve up to 10 percent more pulling power and cover up to eight percent more area while achieving an eight percent reduction in fuel consumption.

In addition to tire pressure, ballasting and ground speed are also significant factors in putting power to the ground. The Fendt solution is called Grip Assistant. Which is fully integrated in the Varioterminal. The optimal tire pressure, optimal ballast weight and optimal ground speed can be determined quickly. Depending on the implement and ballasting already on the tractor, Grip Assistant recommends correct front- or rear-wheel weights and optimal working speed, according to the Fendt website.

The Vario has highly flexible ballasting options. Front weights range from 870 kilograms to 3,300 kg. Strong axles are designed for twin or triple tires. This doubles or triples the contact area and weight distribution.

However, at 517 h.p. Vario still falls a bit short of that arbitrary 600 h.p. mark set by the North America tractor companies. To compete with the top domestic tractors, Fendt will eventually need a 600-plus h.p. tractor.

With 517 horsepower, the new Fendt 1050 VarioDrive is ready to compete with the big North American tractors. To make a comparison to cars and pickups, the new drive system is more like a modern AWD rather than a conventional 4×4 drive system. | Agco photo

Agco’s Kelli Cook said the current Vario engine and tractor platform are capable of carrying out most of the work farmers need it to do but it is not designed for more horsepower.

“The Fendt 1000 Series was uniquely designed with a light base weight of 30,864 pounds plus it has the ability to ballast up to 50,706 pounds. This allows the tractor to be used for row crop and transport work as well as heavy draft work. So the farmer can use just one tractor for a variety of jobs. However, the Fendt 1000 Series was not designed to operate over 600-plus h.p. Tractor platforms that exceed 600 h.p. typically require ballast in the area of 55,000 plus pounds.”

The self-levelling independent front suspension provides optimal ground contact under all conditions, while preventing power-hop and operator comfort at road speeds up to 60 km-h.

The 1050 Vario is powered by a MAN six-cylinder, 12.4-litre displacement engine designed to deliver high torque at low r.p.m. The “high torque, low engine speed” concept is integrated into all aspects of the tractor, including engine, transmission, fan, hydraulics and all secondary loads. The engine always runs in the maximum torque range for the lowest fuel consumption, meaning that high power is delivered at low engine speeds.

The working band ranges from 650 rpm to 1,700 r.p.m. In the main working range, speeds run from 1,100 to 1,500 r.p.m, which is easier on components and implements. The 1050 Vario engine delivers 1,770 foot pounds (2.400 Nm) torque at 1,100 rpm, ideal for heavy draft work. At a transit speed of 60 km-h, the engine turns at 1,450 rpm. At a safer transit speed of 40 km-h, the engine chugs along at just 950 r.p.m.

The MAN engine complies with the latest emissions standard EU Stage 4/Tier 4 employing SCR exhaust technology without diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC) or diesel particulate filter (DPF). The engine is especially economical through its efficient use of fuel and the need-based control of the AdBlue injection. Fuel efficiency is further enhanced by common rail high injection pressure of 1,800 bar.

The engine has been employed widely in trucks and is well suited to long periods of full-load operation typical in heavy-duty field use.

The variable turbine geometry (VTG) system is tuned to create high torque at low engine speeds.

The 1050 VarioDrive has fully independent suspension, just like cars and pick-up trucks. By abandoning the conventional fixed front:rear 50:50 torque split, the new VarioDrive transmission allows torque to transfer fore/aft to whichever axle makes the best use of the power. That means that in difficult steering situations, the front axle gets the power it needs to pull the rig through. In straight forward field work, most of the power transfers back to the rear axle. | Agco illustration

The Fendt website states that the Concentric Air System (CAS) uses a unique push fan located in front of the radiator unit. It takes dense atmospheric air, accelerates it through a concentric intake and pushes it through the radiator. CAS has its own hydrostatic drive, so it can always deliver ideal cooling power to each component according to need, independent of the engine speed. The CAS adequately cools all heat exchangers, such as air-conditioning, compressor and alternator.

Fendt’s flexible coupling housing allows sizes of 1⁄2-inch, 3⁄4-inch and 5⁄8-inch flat face coupling (FFC). The flexible system enables fast machine changes regardless of coupling size. Or, the implement fleet can be gradually converted to larger 5/8-inch valves. The 5/8-inch provides higher throughput, leakage-free coupling and greater efficiency due to lower pressure losses.

The 1000 Vario delivers a hydraulic capacity of 45 gallons per minute (165 litres per minute).

The tractor can be equipped with high-performance hydraulics with 114 g.p.m. for high demands such as scraper work. Two pumps supply two independent circuits to provide oil to devices, controlled by as many as six double-acting valves at the rear and one double-acting valve in the front. Both pumps supply their respective oil consumers with optimal volumes of oil at the optimal pressure via separate oil circuits.

For example, pneumatic seed drill fans require high oil flows at low pressure in one circuit. At the same time, other consumers connected to the second circuit require high oil pressure at low flow volumes such as steering or power lift.

There is no front p.t.o. offering for the 1000 Series but there is a front three-point hitch option.

Because of better energy efficiency and more precise control, most European implement manufacturers offer electric motors to replace hydraulic or straight mechanical drive. Cook says Fendt has been a leader in European electrification and that initiative will spread to North American farms.

“We have significant experience in the electrification of equipment in the agricultural industry. The Fendt X Concept uses an electrified 200 h.p. Fendt tractor to electrically power implements.

“The Fendt e100 Vario was used for the first time in 2018 in limited numbers, initially on selected farms and in local municipalities, although it’s still in the development stage. As initial models continue testing in different situations and applications, more decisions will be made about the application possibilities and in which global markets the tractor will be offered.”

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