Decatur, Ill. — Following the commercial launch of the Axion 900 and 800 series tractors in the United States and Canada this summer, Claas displayed the next big development for this tractor line.
“Here is the Axion TT, or the tracked version,” said Drew Fletcher, tractor product manager for Claas of America during the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Illinois.
“It will be available in two models, basically at 350 and at 440 engine horsepower.”
The concept vehicle displayed at the farm show is still being developed, but Fletcher said it will be available to buy within two years.
He said the tracks are similar to the tracks on the company’s combines and forage harvesters, but there are big differences.
“On a combine we’re just holding weight up and we’re looking strictly for flotation and reduction of compaction, getting through mud times and that kind of thing. But they are really not designed to pull a heavy draft load, larger air seeders or deeper rippers or that kind of thing,” Fletcher said.
The Axion TT tracks have a larger driver wheel then the combine tracks, which provide a larger surface area between the driver wheel and the surface of the track.
Both the combine tracks and the tractor tracks rely on friction between the tracks and the driver lugs on the driver wheel, which Fletcher said produces less heat than other track systems.
“We do travel at 25 miles per hour with this machine, but we go with a larger drive wheel and friction drive to reduce that heat.”
The inside driver hub, which is a large cast-iron spoke, has also been changed to allow more space for mud and debris to escape instead of getting caught between the driver lugs and the inside of the track.
“We changed the lugs out, so we get more grip. Again, trying to transfer more of that torque and that power through the drive train, through the track and down to the ground,” Fletcher said.
The rubber pads on the hub spokes are bolt-on and easily changeable without having to dismount the track.
The tracks oscillation, which can pivot up to 16 degrees, helps the tractor maintain traction when travelling over rough terrain.
The same suspensions system that is on the combine tracks is also on the tractor tracks.
“We have a hydraulic cylinder up top, and a hydraulic cylinder right here that allows these rollers to contour and follow the ground changes,” Fletcher said.
The centre of mass of the tracked tractors has been moved forward compared to the wheel version.
“That way, we keep more weight up front so it counteracts the track’s natural tendency to rare up in the front as you put a higher torque load,” Fletcher said.
The tracks will be available in 18, 25, 29, and 34 inches.
The 18-inch tracks are set up on 120-inch centres for 30-inch row crops.
The back centre housing on the Axion 900 TT tractor is the same centre housing as the standard Axion 900 series tractors.
The front axle on the TT version is also the same as standard Axion 900 front axle.
“One of the things about these tracks, because we have such a long footprint, as you go into a turn sometimes the front axle wants to snow plow,” Fletcher said.
“So other competitors that have a half track version, they have to add extra weight up front to allow those front tires to pull them through.”
He said Axion owners likely won’t need to add weight to the front because of the in-the-cab adjustable, brake-assist turn.
“The operator can turn it off, turn it on, change the progressivity,” Fletcher said.
“It’s based on ground speed and turn angle so the tighter you turn and the faster you go, the more it applies the onside break to help pull you through the turn. So you still maintain that good manoeuvrability, good steering control, but it still allows you to work as a normal tractor does.”
He said the Axion 900 TT has a full differential just like a wheel tractor so one set of tracks won’t over-speed compared to the other side.
“The tracks with the front wheels means you don’t get a lot of berming on the sides as you take a tight turn. So your fields are left in better condition,” Fletcher said.
The Axion 900 TT comes with a CVT transmission, which communicates with the tractor’s engine to help increase fuel efficiency.
“Based on your load, based on your call speed or what ground speed you want, the engine and transmission communicate so that we can bring the engine rpm down, save fuel, save sound and a whole bunch of other things,” Fletcher said.