With its award-winning X6.4 VT-Drive design, Argo Tractors has introduced the benefits of stepless transmission technology to a wider audience.
Bringing big tractor ‘variable’ transmission technology into the utility tractor sector has not only underscored the engineering credentials of the McCormick product range but has brought a coveted Tractor of the Year award for McCormick manufacturer Argo Tractors. It was presented by a jury of 24 European machinery specialists, who studied the technical details and gained practical experience in the field with several contenders for the award.
The 130/140hp McCormick X6.440 VT-Drive was chosen for its ease of use, build quality and the features and benefits it offers farmers needing a mid-range tractor for grassland, arable tillage and horticultural work.
The McCormick X6.4 Series was first introduced using a proven Argo Tractors semi-powershift transmission. For the continuously variable transmission (CVT) version, the manufacturer’s engineers devised a new hydro-mechanical powersplit solution that delivers the established benefits of a stepless transmission in a robust but compact format.
The resulting end-user benefits stand out in terms of operating efficiency and costs
“Entirely engineered and manufactured in the Argo Tractors production facilities, the resulting design stands out for its reduced number of components, particularly the clutch assemblies, and the resulting end-user benefits in terms of operating efficiency and costs,” says Antonio Salvaterra, marketing manager.
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“For the operator, the attractions include clutch-free operation; no decisions to make regarding the best gear for the prevailing situation; automatic response from the engine and transmission to changing load; and always having the perfect ground speed for every situation.”
Multi-speed powershift transmissions come close, but CVT has the edge when it comes to working at an ideal speed resulting in increased productivity over a long working day – as well as optimum quality of work in operations such as cultivations, grass conservation and stone/clod separation for potatoes and other vegetable and salad crops.
On paper, some elements of a CVT transmission sound complex when in reality they are simple; for example, the operator can choose to operate the tractor manually or select different auto control modes to provide the characteristics needed for different applications. In auto mode, the control software devised by Argo Tractors engineers manipulates engine revs and transmission ratio to achieve the ground speed set for field or transport situations using a potentiometer on the arm-rest console.
The auto PTO mode, on the other hand, keeps the engine speed constant regardless of the load, thereby ensuring that PTO speed-sensitive equipment such as sprayers and fertiliser broadcasters operate consistently.
In other situations, such as for loader work, the manual mode enables the operator to take charge, using the accelerator pedal or the VT Easy Pilot controller on the seat console to regulate ground speed. Shifting between forward and reverse is just as simple, using the traditional power shuttle lever alongside the steering wheel or a shuttle switch on the VT Easy Pilot controller.
This is ergonomically-designed to also provide essential control switches for controlling implements and the tractor’s 6000kg capacity hydraulic rear hitch using just one hand. All functions are clearly displayed on the instrument panel and on the 12 inch data screen manager touch-screen monitor that provides access to a number of set-up functions.