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Latest Case IH tractors test driven ahead of Lamma UK debut

A demonstration organised by Case IH provided an opportunity to find out about and test drive the latest models

A demonstration organised by Case IH and attended by Farmers Guide provided an opportunity to find out about and test drive the latest models in the company’s Farmall, Maxxum and Magnum tractor ranges. David Williams was there.The opportunity to test-drive three significant new models in the Case IH range took place in late November at Shuttleworth College.The selection of tractors at the exclusive press event included the Magnum 370 CVX, the addition of which to the Magnum range this year extended the number of UK models to five and offers up to 419hp. There was also a Maxxum 130 CVX, one of three new models in the range to be offered with infinitely-variable transmission, extending the availability of a CVT option for Case IH tractors from just 110hp. The third tractor at the demonstration event was a Farmall 115 U Pro, the manufacturer having introduced the U Pro series to provide a premium specification tractor for small arable and mixed farms.At the Bedfordshire event, Case IH product specialists were on-hand to explain and demonstrate the benefits for users of the latest engine management systems, the latest transmissions and the many other new features incorporated within the individual model ranges.Case IH Magnum
The Magnum range, 25 years old in 2013, has been extended with five models available from 260-370hp (rated). A pre-production version of the flagship Magnum 370 CVX with up to 419hp (max) available was displayed at Cereals in June and, with full production of the new tractors having commenced in November, first deliveries to farms have started. Lamma will be the first UK showing of the tractors to full production standard.The Magnum 370 CVX is currently the most powerful conventional tractor available in the company’s range with up to 419hp available.The five-model Magnum range includes the 260, 290, 315, 340 and the 370, the model number denoting (within a few horsepower) the rated power output. Power is provided by an 8.7-litre Case IH FPT engine with an electronically-controlled, variable-geometry turbocharger on the 370 and wastegate turbochargers on the rest of the range. Electronic Power Management (EPM) provides an additional 10 per cent increase in maximum power output during power-intensive applications, such as during high-speed transport tasks, when using the PTO or when heavy use of the hydraulic system is made.All models except the 370 are available with a choice of transmission; 19×4-50kph powershift, 23×5-40kph powershift with creep, or 50kph infinitely-variable CVT. The new flagship model is available only with the CVT system.The CVT was developed in-house by Case IH and uses twin epicyclical gears working with four clutches to achieve a constant smooth transition from standstill to maximum speed. In full auto mode with Automatic Power Management (APM) the most efficient combination of engine speed and transmission ratio is selected for the task being carried out, and Case IH marketing manager Charles Blessley commented; “It is an extremely efficient system. A good driver can match it, but not all day.”
To the right of the operator seat is the split-throttle twin-lever Eco Drive control. Within the auto mode, the operator can select a maximum engine speed using the right lever, and a minimum with the left, in effect selecting a speed range within which the engine will operate. With both aligned the engine speed is set and maintained (ideal for maintaining a constant PTO speed) and travel speed is then regulated by the transmission.Active hold control is another feature of the transmission, allowing the tractor to remain stationary when the throttle is at idle, regardless of the load or angle of slope and as soon as the foot or hand throttle is pressed, the tractor pulls smoothly away, ideal for situations such as pulling out from a road junction into a busy road.Another aid for those engaged in transport tasks is the very efficient engine braking system. With the fuel injection cycle cancelled this uses engine compression to retard the speed, the compression generated during the up-stroke released at the top of the stroke by the exhaust valve opening, so that the engine is constantly trying to pressurise the cylinders, but discharges the gasses before they can assist the travel of the piston on the following down-stroke.The wheelbase of the 370 CVX is 100mm longer than that of the other models, allowing larger tyres to be fitted. This means that on the largest tractor the latest Michelin AxioBib IF-series tyres can be specified; 900mm wide with a 60-series profile on a 42-inch rim. These new tyres are capable of running at 20 per cent less pressure than the equivalent 65-series tyres and will carry a 20 per cent greater maximum load and, with their huge contact area, are capable of transferring the considerable engine power to the ground.Test drive
The Shuttleworth demonstration of the 370 CVX was on recently-harvested sugar beet land and conditions under-foot were slippery and damp. At the rear was a Simba SL400 4m heavy cultivator with a combination of discs and subsoiler tines, chopping the beet residue, breaking up the compacted subsoil, and providing a well-mixed and level surface for subsequent cultivations. The cab was spacious, with comfortable operator and passenger seats, and visibility all around was very good.With its CVT transmission and automatic engine and transmission management, operating the tractor was straightforward and having selected the travel direction; forward or reverse, pressing either the accelerator pedal or pushing forward the main control joystick started the tractor moving.The tractor was set up with GPS automatic steering, and automatic headland control, and one touch on the button on the underside of the joystick while approaching the work area told the tractor to position itself for the next pass, the automatic steering taking control. A second touch on the button when the tractor and trailed cultivator had straightened up after the headland turn dropped the cultivator into work, and with the joystick pushed all the way forward the tractor accelerated to the target operating speed, reducing its engine speed as far as possible once the speed was attained.Setting the target speed is easy, a thumbwheel on the joystick turned to increase or decrease, and the new target speed displayed on the front right cab pillar, while underneath the actual travel speed was shown, as well as the amount of wheel slip. In work, turning the thumb wheel to increase the speed resulted in a change down to a lower range if necessary, together with an increase in engine revs and, again, once the target speed was attained, the engine speed reduced as the transmission adjusted ratios for the most efficient operation.Three target speeds can be set and stored at a time.
At the end of the bout, one touch of the headland control button lifted the cultivator out of work, the joystick was pulled back to reduce the travel speed for the turn and a touch on the steering wheel disconnected the automatic guidance.After just two bouts the routine for all necessary controls as well as the headland guidance commands had become familiar, and no prompt was needed from the experienced company demonstrator, Ed Watson, sitting along side. The power available, the excellent CVT transmission and the automated headland control meant efficient operation was possible, even with the inexperienced operator. Maxxum CVX
The three new models in the Maxxum CVX range are the 110, 120, and 130 CVX and, as with the Magnum range, model numbers indicate rated horsepower.The Maxxum 130 CVX coped well in stiff conditions with the 4.6m cultivator behind.The 110 CVX is the smallest tractor in the company’s range to offer CVT and means the advantages of the infinitely-variable system are available to users of the smaller tractors who previously had only a choice of mechanical transmissions. Two mechanical transmissions remain available, along side the CVT; a 16×16 and a 16×17.All three models are powered by the same 4-cylinder 4.5-litre engine with high pressure common-rail fuel injection and maximum torque is achieved at just 1,500rpm. Maximum power is 10 per cent above rated, and then on top of that power boost through EPM is triggered on the road above 13kph, or during PTO applications when more than 70hp is demanded through the shaft, as well as in high-demand hydraulic drive operations, providing an extra 20-22hp.  This means the Maxxum 130 CVX with its 131 rated horsepower can provide up to 163hp for the most demanding applications. A fuel saving feature is that if the driver exits the cab, and leaves the tractor idling for more than 30 seconds with no demand for power from the PTO or hydraulics, the idle speed will drop from the standard 850rpm to 650rpm.The CVT transmission has a double-clutch giving it two ranges forward and one reverse. The same control logic is used as for the larger Puma range, and there are two points through the speed range where all the power is transferred mechanically. The full 0-50kph speed range is achieved with no interruption to power delivery, with maximum speed achieved at 1,750rpm. The maximum power which can be transferred through the hydrostatic section of the transmission is 15 per cent, so at least 85 per cent is transferred mechanically.The shift between the ranges is adjustable in three stages, a twist knob on the control panel adjusting the rate of clutch take-up to suit different operating environments.An active-stop feature allows the operator to stop, even on slopes, and pull away again without the need to engage the parking brake or operate the clutch, a benefit in stop-start traffic.The CVT-equipped Maxxums are likely to be bought by those with demanding applications and the standard specification is high; rear lift capacity is 7,867kg and three PTO speeds are standard; 540/540E and 1,000rpm, with a 1,000rpm Eco mode option available on the 130 CVX.Front linkage, where fitted, has a lift capacity of 3.1t and there is a front linkage management option through which the operator can programme two height settings, the automatic float setting allowing the front hitch to switch automatically to float mode when the working position is reached. The PTO can also be programmed to stop and start with the linkage movement, preventing potential damage to the implement PTO shaft in the fully-raised position.Up to seven electro-hydraulic remote spool valves can be fitted, and up to 125 litres/min of oil flow is available on-demand.Accuguide is an option, and can be supplied either from the factory or fitted later, and either the AFS Pro 300 or 700 touchscreen is available, as well as Isobus to level 2.
Front axle and cab suspension, as well as front axle brakes are standard on 50kph tractors.In the field
During the demonstration the Maxxum 130 CVX was working with a Simba Great Plains 4.6m Unipress, cultivating and packing the ground after the Magnum’s pass with the heavier SL cultivator.
The cab is well-finished, comfortable and provides good visibility all around and there was plenty of space for a tall operator plus the Case IH specialist, Will Young, sitting along side in the passenger seat. The new cab is very quiet and while varying the demands on the engine causing the system to increase or decrease engine speed, it was interesting to watch the revs displayed on the cab pillar to see them rise and fall, as the sound level in the cab didn’t seem to change a great deal. The Maxxum CVX is an enjoyable tractor to drive, all controls coming easily to hand, and the CVT transmission in conjunction with the automatic power management ensuring optimum performance is achieved. The sticky conditions and heavy soil meant all the power available was needed for the Unipress, and during the test-drive the speed demanded was altered constantly to try out the system’s response to the changing conditions.

As on the Magnum CVX, the target speed was set on the thumbwheel on the Multicontroller joystick, and displayed on the cab pillar, and with low target speeds set, which were easily achieved, the engine speed reduced once the speeds were attained. Three speed ranges could be pre-programmed and called-up by pressing a button on the joystick.  The travel speed is controlled using either the foot pedal or the Multicontroller joystick, with a maximum/target speed set using the thumbwheel. Turning the thumbwheel to increase the target speed within the range resulted in a jump in engine revs, then as the travel speed increased the engine speed gradually fell back again. The engine delivers up to 590Nm of torque at 1,500rpm and in situations when the implement met land which had not been previously cultivated demanding extra grunt, the engine’s ability to meet the demand was impressive.

Potential markets
“The new Maxxum CVX tractors offer quite a powerful package for their size through the EPM function,” explained Charles. “With their CVT transmission they are superb for loader work, offering the flexibility of a hydrostatic transmission, but we believe that the main demand initially will be from those who are also carrying out tasks where the infinite speed and efficiency are a benefit, such as for vegetable and root crop work, and for spraying. They provide a high standard specification and are very rewarding to drive and will appeal to those who are keen to achieve optimal productivity in comfort. “Having said that, we believe demand will quickly grow as users experience the benefits of being able to achieve maximum efficiency so easily, as this will enable inexperienced staff such as part-time workers and students to achieve high levels of efficiency and economy too,” he added.Farmall U Pro
The Farmall U Pro models provide a high-specification option for farmers looking for a tractor in the 99-114hp class, with features to appeal to livestock and mixed farms as well as smaller contractors. The U Pro range includes three models; 99, 107 and 114hp, all powered by 4-cylinder, 3.4-litre FPT engines with turbochargers and intercooling and high-pressure common-rail fuel injection systems, and maximum torque figures are impressive; 407-457Nm at just 1,500rpm.The tractors have 4-step powershift transmissions, developed by Case IH working with ZF, and exclusive to the Farmall range. The tractors are produced at the Steyr tractor plant in Austria and the transmission has been designed to have a direct power input from the engine, resulting in a very low centre of gravity, a benefit for grassland and livestock hill farms.The Pro transmission provides 32 forward and 32 reverse speeds in four steps, and the maximum 40kph transport speed is achieved in Eco mode at 1,730 engine revs, and will shift automatically through the steps and has a speed-matching function allowing automatic selection of the appropriate ratio when the step shift is activated.The 4-speed PTO provides 540/540E and 1,000/1,000E operating modes, the flat torque curve and economy operating modes combining to save fuel during light tasks such as fertiliser spreading and spraying. Rear linkage capacity is 5,600kg and up to 3.2t can be lifted on the optional front linkage, which features electronic control. Driver assistance in the form of automatic 4WD selection and differential lock switching is provided, and works in conjunction with the implement control for partial headland management.Exclusive to the range is an external hydraulic oil tank by the right hand cab step. This keeps transmission oils separate from the hydraulic oil reservoir, reducing the risk of contamination.
Standard oil flow is 60 litres/min with up to 3 rear spool valves and 2 mid, through an open-centre load sensing system, but an optional 100 litre/min closed centre load-sensing hydraulic package is available.The cab is spacious for the size of tractor, and boasts very good visibility all around, essential for yard work, and the cab doors have been designed to open easily, even in restricted spaces such as within livestock buildings.Fuel capacity is 150 litres; plenty for a day’s arable work. U Pro test drive
The demonstration provided an opportunity to test drive the U Pro 115 fitted with a high-specification Case IH LRZ100 front loader and round bale grab.Space was adequate for two adults; the passenger seat compact and just inside the left-hand cab door.
In place of the multi-function controller of the larger tractors there was a large floor-mounted gear shift lever which was used to select the main range, and at the top of which were the controls for transmission mode, gear selection, forward and reverse and a button for disengaging the clutch, electronically duplicating the foot clutch function.Having chosen the main range using the main gear lever, forward or reverse is selected using the shuttle lever to the left of the steering wheel. An up and down button is used to choose the gear within the range, or automatic mode can be selected and the system will automatically select first gear to pull away. While on-the-move, and in auto mode the transmission will shift automatically depending on load and speed, but a touch on the shift buttons on the gear stick immediately assumes manual override. Operating modes include auto/auto 2 and manual, the auto 2 mode allowing the operator to restrict the operation of the auto mode to prevent higher gears being selected, providing greater control and optimising engine braking.To the right of the operator, is a pair of orange levers; the nearest is the hand throttle, and beside it is an almost identical lever which is used to set the engine speed at which the system automatically changes gear. Pulling it back means it shifts earlier, while having it set fully forward means the engine revs are higher before the change up is made.While travelling, the range shift lever can be operated, but only having disengaged the clutch either by foot, or using a button on the stick. The test field was soft and provided considerable rolling resistance, and challenging scenarios for the system, which used speed match effectively to prevent lurching and over-revving, or over-loading of the engine.For a small tractor, the noise level is low, at just 72dB and conversation between the Case IH product specialist who was keeping an eye on the test drivers was easy, without the need to raise voices.
The front loader was joystick-operated, and its action very progressive which, together with the automatic levelling system, made it easy for an inexperienced driver to clamp and re-position the bales. The loader was also equipped with built-in suspension, and travelling up a bumpy grass track at the side of the field at a moderate speed, the bale travelled well, with only limited bounce transferred back to the tractor.”The Farmall U Pro tractors have replaced the CS modes and users of the current models will love the new tractors when they try them,” commented Case IH product specialist for tractors from 55-230hp, Alun Scott. “They are robust, extremely stable and we believe the first customers to buy them are likely to be current CS users; people who know the quality of the Austrian-built tractors, and who are used to the low depreciation and high residual values they offer. Like the CS tractors, they are very stable and, with the brand new transmission, these are even better than the models they replace.”It won’t appeal to those looking for the cheapest priced tractor, but will be popular for its features, and it is the sort of tractor which will be attractive to an owner-operator or which a farm would buy for valued and experienced staff,” he said.

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