By David Williams - Machinery Editor
The UK launch of new products in JCB's agricultural ranges was used to demonstrate new product features as well as technology to increase economy, while meeting Tier 4i emissions targets.
JCB has unveiled its latest products for the agricultural market at its Staffordshire headquarters.
New models in the Fastrac, Loadall, wheeled loader and pivot-steer telescopic loader ranges have been announced by JCB, and, as well as changes to the engines, the manufacturer has taken the opportunity to update specification and incorporate improvements which will appeal to those using them in agriculture.
Most significant updates for the majority of users affect the JCB Loadall, which the manufacturer claims is the world's best-seller, and the JCB Fastrac 3000 series.
While most attention at shows and public events has involved JCB's most powerful 8000 series Fastracs, which were updated last year, the mid-sized 3000 series models have remained the best sellers. Two new models have been introduced to replace existing variants; the 3200 Xtra and 3230 Xtra. The most significant change is the engine, a 7.2 litre 6-cylinder Sisu replacing the previous Cummins 6.7 litre power unit.
The new 3200 has a maximum output of 195hp, with up to 230hp available on the road, while the 3230 with 230hp maximum output has up to 270hp available on road. JCB says the new engines are designed to provide the power and torque characteristics required of a heavy draft tractor, torque provided by the 3230's engine up from 949 Nm to 1,015 Nm.
Tier 4i emissions standards are achieved by the use of SCR (Adblue), the new 57-litre Adblue tank mounted adjacent to the main tank, which now holds 50 litres more than before, with a capacity of 400 litres, and which is now repositioned from the right hand side to the left. The Adblue fluid lines are automatically purged when the engine is shut-down, and the Adblue tank has a built-in heater to protect against the liquid freezing. With the tank relocated on the left, the toolbox, drawbar stowage space and auxiliary fluid tanks are all behind a locked panel on the right.
The manufacturer says the use of SCR has enabled it to maximise visibility to the front, as well as improving access for servicing, but that the most significant benefits for the end user are the improvements to fuel consumption and reduced in-cab noise level. The reduced noise, it says, is partly due to the new engine, but also because of the exhaust gas treatment system.
The new engine is narrower, allowing a more streamlined chassis, and this has provided space for a tighter turning circle as well as a new wider tyre option; 600-70R30s now being available rather than the previous largest 540-65-R30. Standard tyre equipment is 540/65R34. Front mudguards pivot with the wheels during turns to help reduce dirt and spray being thrown up. Maximum gross tractor weight is now up to 12t on 65kph machines, up a tonne from the previous version.
JCB has equipped its Fastracs with anti-lock brakes as standard equipment for more than 10 years, but a new proportional ABS provides more refined, smoother braking. The new 3000 series Fastrac can also be specified with a new, optional road performance package, featuring traction control which applies the brakes to a spinning wheel transferring power to the wheel with the most grip, when in 2wd. The road performance package also includes a 'Hill-hold' facility to make pulling away on slopes easier and safer, the system using hydraulic or air trailer brakes along with the tractor brakes, and adjusting the point at which the clutch engages to take up drive depending on the angle of incline.
The new 3200 Xtra and 3230 Xtra are now fitted with Sisu engines, using SCR (Adblue) to meet Tier 4i emissions standard, rather than the previous Cummins power units.
One of the most noticeable improvements of the latest models is the improved steering lock, which means a significantly tighter turning circle.
The Adblue and fuel tanks are now on the left, which the company said is the accepted standard within the market place.
A new option on the Fastracs is enclosed rear mudguards, reducing spray and dirt being thrown up by the wheels.
JCB's P-Tronic semi-powershift transmission, introduced on the previous 3200 Xtra and 3230 Xtra during 2010 is used, providing an arrangement of 24 forward and nine reverse ratios, with six powershift steps. Automatic shifting is possible through two auto modes and there is a power shuttle for easy changing between forward and reverse. On-road use is simplified with the Drive mode which shifts between all 12 speeds in the top two ranges automatically. In Autoshift mode, for field work, the system selects the best ratio from the six powershift steps within any range; a feature JCB says reduces the driver's workload and results in greater productivity by ensuring the optimal transmission ratio is used.
Manual mode, as the name suggests, allows the operator to shift through the powershift steps and ranges using the shuttle joystick.
The new models also benefit from JCB's Xtra-Drive clutch system, the clutch operating automatically once the tractor has pulled away. This means the operator can ignore the clutch pedal, even when stopping, as depressing the brake pedal and coming to a stop automatically disengages the clutch, which re-engages automatically when the accelerator pedal is depressed.
Responding to the growing demand for auto-steer systems, the two new models can both be supplied 'guidance-ready' from the factory, making it easier to add a full auto-steer system. JCB Agriculture managing director Richard Fox-Marrs commented that this will be, "especially useful for farmers and contractors who exploit the Fastrac's unique qualities for spraying and spreading, as well as cultivation and sowing, and the Fastrac's mid-mounted cab and smooth-riding suspension make it an ideal platform for the precise and reliable use of this GPS application".
The touch-screen terminal, introduced last year as part of the Xtra specification, provides automated features including 'Headland turn assist' allowing up to 15 different control functions to be assembled and linked into sequences for up to five different implements, and JCB said the Auto-steer function will integrate easily with these automated features.
An additional operator aid on the new tractors is the rear hitch camera, supplied as standard, and which the company says makes it easier to hitch up to trailers as well as to monitor close-coupled implements.
In common with many other new products from JCB, telematics will be fitted as standard, allowing customers to subscribe to JCB's LiveLink service which will then provide data relating to location and operations. "LiveLink is a useful management tool, especially for operators running a sizeable fleet," said Richard. "It also provides a welcome security feature, users able to trace a machine's movements and receive automatic alerts if it travels outside a designated area."
All JCB products fitted with LiveLink come with one year's free subscription. The level of subscription cover is then dictated by the size of machine, compact models receiving the initial one year's subscription free, mid-range products (Loadalls and Telemasters) receiving a free 2-year subscription and the large products (Fastrac and wheeled loading shovels) receiving the first three years' subscription free.
Driving the new Fastrac 3230 on a large paved test area quickly demonstrated some of the benefits of the new tractor. New, larger cab steps make it easier and safer to enter and exit from the cab, and compared with the previous version, the operator environment was noticeably quieter, even at high engine revs. Visibility down to the front between the bonnet and the wheels was improved, but probably the most noticeable improvement was the turning circle, which, while still not rivalling that of most conventional tractors, was certainly a step closer. The test-tractor had a large mounted plough on the rear linkage, rather than a heavy trailed load, but even so, making use of the Xtra-Drive clutch meant less operator effort during stop-start operations.
"The Fastrac 3000 series tractors appeal to large scale arable or vegetable producers as well as contractors," said JCB Landpower product marketing manager Edward Roach. "They account for more than 40 per cent of our Fastrac sales, so we are delighted with the new specification and features which we believe will enhance their appeal still further."
The new Fastracs, which are now in production, are priced from GBP117,445 for the 3200 and GBP124,755 for the 3230.
The biggest change to the Loadall telehandler range is the use of JCB's low-emission Ecomax engines, developed to meet Tier 4i emissions regulations without the need for SCR (Adblue) or a diesel particulate filter (DPF). The new engines are built at JCB Power Systems, near Derby, and are said to provide 15 per cent more torque as well as reduced fuel consumption.
JCB Loadalls are now fitted with the JCB Ecomax engine, and improved fuel consumption is claimed for all models.
As well as its new engines, the range includes improvements designed to enhance fuel economy and efficiency such as back-off brakes, which release completely from the discs reducing drag, and claimed to provide a two per cent improvement in economy during typical telescopic handler shuttle work. A transmission 'dump', is incorporated now, disconnecting drive when the brake is depressed, reducing drag, and a variable speed cooling fan reduces noise and fuel use. For the operator, gear selection is made more convenient by a button-style gear selector on the servo joystick on the 125 and 145hp mid-range Loadall models, a feature JCB said allows operators to keep their hand on the single main control, aiding efficiency.
The new engines use EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation) with a built-in gas cooling system, a variable geometry turbocharger and a high pressure common-rail fuel injection system operating at 2,000 bar.
Three versions are available for Loadall use; a 108hp unit is standard in the Agri Loadall and in the 526-56. The manufacturer said this provides 15 per cent more torque and 10 per cent more power than the previous engine.
The Agri Plus has a 125hp engine as standard, compared with the previous 130hp power unit, but while horsepower is reduced, JCB said there is an extra three per cent usable torque.
The Agri Super has a choice of engines; 125, or 145hp for more demanding operations, while the 145hp is now fitted as standard in the Agri Xtra and 550-80 Agri Plus. The Tier 3 engine also produced 145hp, but now there is three per cent more torque, and more than five per cent extra power at operating speeds, and JCB is claiming average fuel savings of up to five per cent compared with the previous models.
The new Loadalls have improved controls; gears now operated using buttons on the joystick, and the transmission 'dump' function now activated by a depressed foot brake.
The compact Ecomax engine has allowed JCB to restyle the engine hood. Cooling air is now discharged through slats at the top, reducing the likelihood of dust being blown up from the ground. The top of the hood is angled, improving side visibility from the driver's seat.
JCB has simplified its transmission control by removing the various operating modes on its Agri Super and Xtra models, opting for a simpler choice of auto or manual operation. Reduced transmission oil levels result in less drag, which is claimed to account for a further one per cent efficiency gain.
The compact design of the new engines has allowed JCB to re-style its engine hood, improving the air flow through the cooling system and increasing visibility, particularly on the right-hand side. Previously, cooling air was discharged below the machine, which could result in dust being blown upwards off the floor, an issue in grain stores and similar environments, but the new engines and cowl design allows air to enter at the front and exit through the top. This, combined with the variable speed fan, greatly reduces dust and noise in the working environment.
Along with improvements to the controls, the cab has several updates. A new feature across the range is an operator presence switch in the seat which won't allow transmission engagement if the seat is not occupied. A new instrument cluster has a high resolution 85mm display and the re-designed dash provides a clearer layout.
The split cab door is easier to use, the upper section having a revised slam latch mechanism and a door ajar facility ensuring the window stays open if desired.
A logical improvement is the altered angle of the roof protection bars above the roof window, the 'slats' angled in line with the operator's vision providing better visibility for working at height.
The new Loadalls will be in full production by October.
JCB's telescopic boom wheeled loader, the TM310 has been replaced by the TM320 and TM320S, both powered by JCB's new Ecomax engines, and featuring revised drivelines, improved cabs and greater capacity.
The new TM series pivot-steer telescopic loaders also use the Ecomax engine. New versions have higher lift capacities and improved controls.
As well as the new engines, mechanical and design features incorporated in the new models are designed to increase economy and productivity. Lift capacity is increased by 100kg to 3,200kg on both new models thanks to the revised mounting position of the front axle, forward by 50mm, while the torque converter transmission which used to have a lock-up facility in gears 5 and 6, now locks up in 4, 5 and 6 on the TM320, and also 2 and 3 on the TM320S.
The TM320 uses the 4.4 litre 125hp Ecomax, and the 320S benefits from the 4.8 litre 145hp version. The 320S, with its extra power and more efficient transmission is expected to appeal to those requiring rapid acceleration and strong hill climbing ability, for example working on a silage clamp.
The 320S also has greater oil flow capacity, up to 160 litres/min available, for operating high demand ancillary attachments such as sweepers, and providing faster cycle times for spool operated equipment. Up to two boom-mounted auxiliary hoses, with an in-cab selection switch can now be specified as an option. Controls for all hydraulic functions are fully proportional, and operated using the right-hand joystick. Flow rates are adjusted on the move using the in-cab screen display.
Factory options include the availability of Max-Trac torque proportioning or limited slip differentials, with a further option of Max-Trac on the front and a limited slip differential on the rear.
The compact dimensions of the new engine means the visibility is just as good as that of the previous model. An air scavenge cleaning system reduces the amount of dirt entering the air cleaner and reduces the amount of cleaning required.
In common with the Loadalls, operator controls are improved and simplified, the operator simply selecting between two transmission modes; auto and manual. The revised joystick incorporates shift selectors on the top two buttons, and transmission dump is now linked to the footbrake, which means the operator doesn't need to remove his hand during normal loading operations. A revised instrument cluster is easier to use.
The variable speed cooling fan reduces noise levels and fuel consumption.
The JCB Smooth Ride System is now adjustable on the move, using a switch on the dashboard to select between on, off and automatic.
The new TM models are now in production and available to purchase.
The TM loaders have a revised instrument cluster including a display for the auxiliary hydraulic flow rate. Transmission control functions, as on the Loadalls, are now incorporated in the main joystick.
Access for servicing and cleaning is good with the new Ecomax engine fitted, and a new angled profile to the hood retains the good visibility of previous models.
Growing demand for high capacity loading systems has meant an increase in the number of wheeled loaders now working in agriculture, along with dedicated agricultural specification versions added to manufacturers' ranges.
Replacing the 426 and 436 models, JCB was demonstrating the latest 427 and 437 Agri machines, which the company said provide increased efficiency, lower emissions, improved operator comfort and smoother transmissions.
New wheeled excavators have been launched, the 427 and 437 replacing the 426 and 436, and fitted with a Cummins QSB 6.7-litre engine meeting Tier 4i standards.
The new loaders are fitted with Cummins QSB 6.7-litre power units meeting Tier 4i emissions requirements through the use of EGR and a diesel oxidation catalyst, but without the need for a diesel particulate filter. The diesel oxidation catalyst is designed to last the lifetime of the engine, said JCB, therefore no further service costs will be incurred.
Variable geometry turbo charging maintains performance across a wide rev range, and the engine uses a high pressure common-rail fuel injection system, and although at 173hp the engine output of the 437 model is equivalent to that of the previous 436 model, the company claims resulting fuel savings of up to 16 per cent.
Standard equipment is a ZF 4-speed automatic power shift transmission, with an optional 5-speed system. With reduced steps between gears JCB says shifting is smoother, and a lock-up torque converter on the 5-speed operates in gears 2-5, reducing power loss and increasing productivity, a feature JCB says will be noticed by those operating on slopes, travelling on roads, and on load carrying duties.
An intelligent clutch cut-off system is standard with both transmissions, which JCB says is ideal for truck loading or tight corner manoeuvring. The clutch cut-off point adjusts depending on transmission torque output and brake pressure and it effectively disengages the clutch, limiting tractive effort, and reducing brake wear. It is operated as the driver presses the brake pedal, providing maximum power to the load-sensing hydraulic system, while reducing power to the driveline. This, JCB says, provides greater control at higher engine rpm and lower travel speeds, boosting productivity when loading.
Customers ordering the new loaders can choose between the ZF standard open differential, a limited slip differential or an automatic differential lock on the front axle only.
The JCB Smooth Ride system can be activated at any speed, allowing operators to tailor it to the working environment.
An optional 'driveline efficiency package' can be specified, incorporating the standard fitment of wheel speed brakes, progressive clutch cut-off, plus the optional fitting of the 5-speed transmission with lock-up converter and automatic differential locking axles, and is said to result in fuel savings up to 16 per cent.
Productivity and efficiency in the cab
The most obvious change in the cab is the new full-colour LCD monitor providing information on the productivity and efficiency of operations, including fuel consumption and cycle times, while monitoring machine condition. JCB said this allows operators to adapt driving style to be as productive and efficient as possible.
To improve operating conditions, climate control is now available, the first time this has been an option from JCB on this size machine. A high specification seat option is also available, for improved comfort.
Four different lift arm options as well as a choice of three control types; conventional multi-lever, a single joystick with separate auxiliary control lever, and a joystick with built-in proportional auxiliary controls means there are options to suit various working environments.
Joining the range of JCB wheeled loaders is a new top-of-the-range model, the 457 replacing the 456. Power is provided by a 250hp 8.9-litre Cummins engine, providing 16 per cent more power than that of the previous model, with torque up 18 per cent to 1,085 Nm. The engine uses high pressure common rail fuel injection, combined with EGR, a diesel oxidation catalyst with a diesel particulate filter and a variable geometry turbocharger to meet Tier 4i emissions regulations while providing optimum machine efficiency at low running speeds.
Top of the wheeled loader range is the new 457 which replaces the 456. It is powered by a Cummins 8.9-litre engine developing 250hp and 1,085 Nm of torque. A new Economy mode is said to provide fuel savings up to six per cent, and the option of a five-speed power shift transmission in place of the standard 4-speed unit provides smoother and more efficient operation.
The new loader has an 'economy mode' which reduces power output for lighter work and provides fuel savings up to six per cent. An engine shutdown mode comes into action after a pre-determined idle period, saving fuel.
As on the smaller models, two transmission options are available; automatic 4-speed powershift or 5-speed powershift which provides smoother changes and better acceleration, resulting in faster cycle times. With the 5-speed transmission comes the lock-up feature in gears 2-5, reducing power loss and increasing power available at the wheels.
The same intelligent clutch cut-off system is fitted as is used on the smaller 427 and 437 models, and the new ZF automatic differential lock axle option means there is the choice of standard open differential, limited slip differential or an automatic differential lock on the front axle only.
The big new 457 weighs 310 kilos more than the 456, and an extra 3.3 per cent tipping load can be carried, which equates to an extra quarter tonne in the bucket.
JCB's Smooth Ride System can be activated at any speed, as on the smaller models.
Practical updates include the relocation of the hydraulic oil tank from beneath the cab steps to behind the cab, which JCB said reduces the danger of damage or contamination.
Cab improvements include the new colour LCD monitor, providing real-time fuel consumption and cycle data. There are three control type options to suit the type of work and operator preference. In-cab noise level is just 70db, and, as on the 456, climate control is an option.
Production of the new wheeled loaders starts in November.
JCB Landpower product and marketing manager Edward Roach said he is delighted with the specification and features of the new models which he believes will enhance their appeal to farmers and contractors.
New 3000 series Fastracs are now in production with dealer demonstrations becoming available shortly. There is already considerable interest in the new machines, according to JCB.
Ecomax engine production
JCB manufactures its new Ecomax engines at its factory in Foston, near Derby, as well as at its factory in India where production started in April last year. Production of JCB's off-highway engine started in the UK in 2004 and the 200,000th engine has recently been assembled, 170,000 made at the UK plant and 30,000 in India. The latest Ecomax meets Tier 4i emissions regulations, using cooled Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR), high-pressure common-rail fuel injection, variable geometry turbo charging, without the need for SCR (Adblue) or a diesel particulate filter. The new power unit will be used in JCB's skid-steer loaders, telescopic handlers, pivot-steer loaders and smaller wheeled loaders.
The production line is staffed by 40 employees during the day, and 20 at night. JCB claims an impressive 99.9 per cent of engines produced with no defects, computer technology aiding staff assembling the engines at every stage of the process ensuring correct assembly and monitoring of components fitted.
The new Ecomax engines do require low sulphur fuels, like other Tier 4i engines, but only standard lubricating oil is necessary, and the service interval is retained at 500 hours, as on the Tier 3 engine. JCB said the engines can be easily re-calibrated for use in countries where low sulphur fuels are unavailable and where emissions regulations are less demanding, which it says helps ensure high resale values, machines fitted with the engine being suitable for use all over the world. Simply by re-programming the electronic engine control system, the EGR system can be by-passed, the fuel injection pressure reduced to 130 bar and the injection timing altered to provide virtually identical power and fuel economy to that achieved in Tier 4i guise. Because no hardware changes are required, the process is quite straightforward, although it must be carried out by an authorised dealer.
Currently there are 220 variants of the Ecomax engine produced for various applications. All are four cylinder, 4.4 or 4.8-litre units, and as well as manufacturing them for its own ranges of machines, JCB also sells them to OE users for generator sets and water pump applications.
The JCB Power Systems engine plant at Foston. The company claims 99.9 per cent of engines produced have no faults after assembly.
JCB's new Ecomax engine meets Tier 4i emissions requirements without the need for any exhaust after-treatment such as selective catalytic reduction (Adblue), or a diesel particulate filter.