ENGLISH tractor manufacturer JCB is always pushing the proverbial envelope to achieve the best out of its machines.
The latest 8000 Series Fastrac is a good example of the company’s almost fussy approach to doing things better.
The Fastrac 8330’s clever configuration is based on the traditional four-wheel suspension and high on-road speeds, unveiled in 1990.
The 8330 model, sold recently by Boekeman Machinery, Dalwallinu, to a Wubin farmer, comes with three metre (10 foot) wheel track capability, ABS braking, a new fail-safe hydraulic steering system and a 14 per cent power increase over the earlier 8310 model.
Australian distributors, JCB CEA landed one of the 8330, 243kw (330hp) machines in Western Australia earlier this year in preparation for demonstrations, and JCB product specialist David Moselan expected big interest from WA broadacre farmers.
The 8330 power rises to 255kW (348hp) under full load and offers a 10 per cent torque increases to 1440Nm over the earlier model.
The CVT transmission incorporates a clutch and emergency steering pump and a wide selection of control modes.
High range for road use offers four modes while low range for paddock work and speeds to 40 kilometres per hour offers seven modes including three for cruise control.
“The operator chooses the mode to set optimum engine and transmission settings for power and economy as well as constant settings for PTO or road speeds,” said JCB chief innovation officer Tim Burnhope.
“The system can operate automatically for seamless step changes or manually to emulate a powershift drive.
“This feature is unique and attractive to operators with limited experience with stepless transmissions.”
Active traction maintains wheel grip during heavy load work and engine torque is manipulated to maintain traction and ensure stability and maximise fuel efficiency.
The unit is powered by a six cylinder Sisu 8.4 litre twin turbo, Tier 4 final engine with SCR and a DEF system cleverly hidden in the exhaust system that sits out of sight behind the cabin’s rear pillar.
JCB said the Fastrac revolution continued with the 8330 flagship model being “bigger, better and more fuel efficient than ever”.
JCB Landpower general manager Max Jeffery said the 8330 mid-mounted cabin – the same as recently launched on the new 4000 Series Fastrac – offered tremendous working visibility and 3.5 cubic metres volume allowing room for a full size training seat and fridge.
The driving seat has a 70o rotation – 20o left and 50o to the right for easy implement viewing.
The machine features a new patented hydraulic steering system that allows 70km/h on-road travel or low speed paddock work and replaces the previous mechanical linkage design.
The dual hydrostatic steering meets safety needs for high-speed on-road travel and reduces driver effort.
Pressure and flow between both hydraulic systems is monitored and if a hose failure occurs the flow is instantly switched to maintain control.
A new feature, rapid steer, also reduces lock-to-lock turns from four to two and helps in faster headland turns.
Multi-link suspension is fitted front and rear and delivers tractive effort and high speed control.
“It is matched with twin caliper discs all round designed to provide the best braking performance time and again and ABS is standard,’’ Mr Jeffrey said.
“This 8330 provides significantly more power than the outgoing model and as much as 10pc more torque than its predecessor.”
The new power has been coupled to a CVT transmission and front and rear axles have been uprated to make it factory capable of running a three metre track critical for controlled traffic.
The optional front hitch system features a 3.5 tonne load and twin hydraulic couplings and the rear hitch 10t and four spools.
A 137 litre a minute variable displacement pump delivers 100L/m minute per spool flow and there’s an optional 178L/m pump delivering 140L/m per spool.
The rear hitch is fully integrated into the rear axle to maximise load carrying and stability for higher in-field speeds.
“The absolute split of weight distribution from front to rear makes it different to conventional tractors and the result is a machine that will do all the jobs a conventional tractor will do, but also a whole load of jobs a conventional can’t,” Mr Jeffrey said.
“The weight balance more often than not means the Fastrac does not have to carry front weights to offset implements.”