A hero of our time
According to the estimates of experts, over recent years the Russian caterpillar tractor market has grown significantly. Compared to last year, AGCO alone increased its sales of Challenger caterpillar tractors by 25%. The experts of AgroCentre point out that many farmers have reconsidered their attitude to caterpillar tractors. In many parameters, they are obviously superior to their wheeled counterparts.
Better off-road capability, minimal skidding, lower on-soil pressure: such are the merits for which farmers have called the caterpillar tractor “the king of the fields.” The facts justify this nickname. The caterpillar tractor’s on-soil pressure is 0.4 atm, whereas that of the wheeled counterpart with doubled tyres is 0.6 to 0.8 atm. The wheeled tractor’s skidding ratio is 8-12%, while that of the caterpillar counterpart is a mere 2 to 5%. The farmers say that thanks to the caterpillar tractors’ higher efficiency and up to 10% lower fuel consumption, they, the farmers, can pay a salary to their machine operators! Depending on the type of the machine or operating conditions, such a tractor consumes 3.4 to 4.5 litre per hectare. As Vladimir Chernyshov, product manager of AGCO disclosed, the caterpillar tractor draft is 20% higher than that of its wheeled counterpart. This makes it possible to use heavy, wide-grip machines. Compared to wheeled tractors, caterpillar tractors damage the soil less, preserving its fertility. Due to their better off-road capability, they can start field work earlier.
The MobilTrac chassis is a special feature of Challenger tractors. This ensures high output at high speed.
“AGCO is steadily improving its MobilTrac technology,” says Vladimir Chernyshev. “Two extra rubber layers were added to the sophisticated structure of the Challenger tractor caterpillar. This will extend its service life still more.”
Challenger caterpillar tractors are fitted with strong support rollers coated with a protective layer of polymer that resists mechanical damage and makes it possible to operate on stony soil. The operating and repair expenses do not exceed those for a wheeled tractor. If used properly, the caterpillar will serve up to 12,000 motor hours. The operating life of the wheels is 5,000 hours. So, while the caterpillar is still on the job, the wheeled tractors will have to stop at least twice for replacements.
Challenger tractors have a number of other interesting features. An innovative hydraulic system with even flow distribution regardless of the load (load-independent flow distribution) allows you to perform several operations at a time. The spacious cabin is crammed with smart options such as the Tractor Management Centre (TMC) or One Touch turning control system (this can store up to 35 sequences of operating procedures on a turning strip).
Another forte of caterpillar tractors is their ability to travel over asphalt roads, like wheeled tractors, without damaging the road surface.