Machinery News

  • Written by: Farmers Guide
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Less roar but better economy and performance

Ropa’s latest flagship sugar beet harvester Tiger 5 has arrived in the UK

Ropa’s latest flagship sugar beet harvester, the Tiger 5, has arrived in the UK, just in time to lift some of the last beet of the season. David Williams has been to see it working and to find out what sets it apart from the Tiger 4 it replaces.
The Ropa Tiger 5 three-axle sugar beet harvester has more power, an improved cab and a superb automatic levelling system which will be popular with UK users, says UK importer CTM.
Although the new harvester is a direct replacement, there is very little carry-over from the previous machine and all major components are new. The chassis, body, tank and cab are all redesigned for improved performance and higher productivity. The characteristic roar of the old 600hp V8 Mercedes Benz engine is also gone, replaced by a quieter straight-six power unit from the same manufacturer and meeting Tier 4 final emissions regulations. Despite operating at reduced revs; just 1,700rpm, the new engine has an extra 40hp available which is particularly useful when operating on slopes.
The Tiger 5 retains the previous Tiger 4’s ability to crab-steer allowing its weight to be evenly spread over the ground.
The smaller Ropa Panther was updated last year and several of its new features have made their way onto the new model. One of the most significant is the self-levelling system, allowing 10 degrees side slope compensation and six degrees front and rear. Benefits include better distribution of the weight across all the wheels, as well as optimised performance of the beet cleaning and handling systems, and the machine is more comfortable for the operator. On the road, the automatic levelling is automatically disabled, the suspension system returning to standard mode for safety.
The previous 3-axle Tiger had unequal sized wheels and tyres on its pair of rear axles and the rear third axle could float but on the new model all three axles can float and the vehicle’s stability systems calculate where to place the weight. At the rear, four equal-sized larger diameter flotation tyres (1050/50R32) carry the load, the weight distribution system allowing the tyres to run at lower pressures, down to just two bars (28psi), while the front (800/70R38s) run at 1.6 bar (20psi), while taking their share of the harvester’s 30t beet capacity. 
Weight distribution is further improved by the repositioned mechanical drive gearbox, further back in the frame. A new CVR transmission with two speed settings provides the drive and allows 0-18kph in the field and 0-40kph on the road, up from 25kph. All three axles retain their mechanical drive systems enabling differentials to be completely locked when needed. 
The Tiger 5 retains the previous model’s ability to ‘crab steer’ during fieldwork which means the weight is distributed evenly across the ground, reducing compaction and minimising rutting. The Ropa’s chassis is also articulated, and the new model has greater manoeuvrability through the articulation pivot point being further back than on the previous machine. 

The improved cab has a clearer control layout and better comfort, including a heated seat as standard.
Improvements in the cab include a new uncluttered layout and the Tiger has an all-new 12.1in touch-screen control system along with new switch panels as part of its latest R- Concept control system. A significant benefit for contractors is an optional R-Transfer data management system which allows the day’s work records and telematics data to be down-loaded and transferred to the farm office either by USB or using a Ropa app by Smartphone.
Telemetry and work data transfer is a new option and the new large touch-screen is easy to read and use.
Lifting performance is improved with a new lifting shear design which runs cleaner, lifting less soil and increasing the rate of work, and during the Farmers Guide demonstration, the harvester was lifting easily at 8kph in quite wet soil conditions in a heavy crop. 
A wide 1m ring trace carries beet from the cleaning turbines to the tank, and the tank capacity is increased by approximately 4t to 30t in the 43m3 bunker, mainly due to the improved stability provided by the auto-levelling and the improved weight distribution. 
Automatic levelling offers 10 degrees of side-to-side movement to distribute weight evenly, even on moderate slopes. 
The unloading performance is significantly more than before, due to a redesigned 3-section elevator which is longer and wider than before, providing extra reach over field heaps or into lorries. The longer reach also means the elevator can run at a shallower angle, allowing the 2m web to carry more beet and increasing unloading capacity, but with its three sections the overall height remains lower in field work mode. The full hopper is unloaded in approximately 50 seconds.
The 3-section unloading elevator will unload the 30t tank in 50 seconds and can work on heaps up to 4m high. 
The first Tiger 5 to enter the UK is one of just 10 produced so far, and was brought over to continue performance testing as the last of the British beet are lifted later than most on the continent. The machine will remain here as importer-CTM’s demonstrator for the 2015/16 harvest season, although full production and availability will begin during the summer. 
CTM sales director, Nigel Mountain, said there has been considerable interest in the new model from current Ropa users as well as from users of competitor brands.
CTM sales director Nigel Mountain said potential customers who have tried the machine have been impressed with the new features and enhanced performance. 
Orders for the new model have been received already, including one from a contractor replacing another make of harvester, for delivery in time for the 2015 lifting season. “We are really pleased with the new machine, and the difference the automatic levelling system makes in terms of improved lifting and cleaning performance has to be seen to be believed,” he said. “Even on gentle gradients, the suspension can be seen adjusting constantly and also when the weight is distributed evenly when the harvester is travelling across the field to unload. The equal-sized rear wheels make a difference too, and the field is left very flat, the soil evenly consolidated making it easier to plan and carry out subsequent cultivations. 
“The cab improvements have been well received by users and make the harvester easier to control and more comfortable over long working days. The significant increase in maximum transport speed will save time between work locations and we know this is appreciated, especially by contractors. We are sure the Tiger 5 will prove very popular,” he said.
The old V-8 of the Tiger has been replaced by a more refined straight-six power unit.

  • Written by: Farmers Guide
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