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Argo invests in its future with new tractors

Upgrades, improvements and new additions to the ranges of McCormick and Landini tractors which are manufactured in Italy by Argo

Upgrades, improvements and new additions to the ranges of McCormick and Landini tractors which are manufactured in Italy by Argo have been announced at an exclusive press event near the company’s headquarters close to Bologna. Farmers Guide machinery editor David Williams attended the launch and took the opportunity to test drive the new tractors.
Completely new and replacement models from Landini and McCormick were shown at a launch event in Italy.  Argo has been steadily increasing the amount it spends on research and development and its latest tractors are well-specified to compete against major brands for an increased market share. The company employs 1,600 people and produces more than 100 tractors per day and while last year 18 per cent of its business was tractors in the 120-220hp sector, the intention is to increase that figure to 40 per cent, stating that the aim is for its tractors to be seen as reliable and long-lasting, that it has the capacity to continue investing and that it will achieve its aims without having to work with other manufacturers.
Stars of the event were new Landini 6/7 Series and McCormick X7.4 and X7.6 modelsSales of the company’s brands, which include specialist Valpadana tractors, are through 130 distributors and 2,500 dealers across Europe and in countries including Canada, USA, Mexico, Brazil and South Africa; 54 per cent of production is exported. Across its three brands Argo offers more than 500 different tractor variations.In the UK few of the Valpadana tractors are sold; demand largely restricted to vineyards and fruit farms, but the McCormick and Landini brands are popular with livestock farmers as well as mixed, and small to mid-sized arable farms offering power outputs from 70-212hp.The Italian launch included new 140-212hp tractors in three wheelbase lengths and with FPT 4- and 6-cylinder power units, the most powerful of the 4-cylinder models providing a new challenger in the contest for most powerful in its class as the market grows for compact, light weight machines capable of handling modern high output implements such as power harrow drill combinations and large mower-conditioners. Within the Landini range the new 6-Series models are all 4-cylinder, 7-Series are 6-cylinder, and the McCormick X7 range incorporates both 4- and 6-cylinder variants.  All-new range
Current McCormick X70 and Landini 7 Series tractors, which are powered by FPT 6.7-litre 150-214hp (rated) 232hp (max) engines are replaced by the McCormick X7.4 models with FPT 143-166 (rated) 175hp (max) 4-cylinder power units and McCormick X7.6 models with larger FPT 6-cylinder 165-188hp (rated) 212hp (max) power units. In the Landini range, these models are designated 6 Series and 7 Series. All have 24×24 power shift transmissions, with CVT transmissions due to join them.
The top-of-the-range McCormick X7.680 has an FPT 6-cylinder engine which produces up to 212hp (max).Power Plus (or Dual Power in Landini-speak) electronically adjusts the engine output to respond to varying load conditions, and during transport or PTO work automatically delivers an additional 25hp. It features on the most powerful 4-cylinder and all 6-cylinder models in the new Landini and McCormick ranges.All use SCR (AdBlue) exhaust after-treatment to meet Tier 4i emissions regulations. All new 4-cylinder models use the engine to form part of the tractor’s structure while 6-cylinder tractors have a full frame construction (as on the X70 and its predecessors), with the engine iso-mounted within the frame. The front axle incorporates a 100 per cent locking differential which engages with the rear differential and interacts automatically with the programmable headland control system.The front radiator support is factory-supplied ready for front hitch and PTO fitting, and a new feature on the tractors is external front lift control operated by two buttons by the front left wheel.Pictured Left: The front linkage can be operated from outside the cab using two buttons by the front left wheel making hitching up of implements easier.Transmissions
A significant advantage in terms of ease of use and improved performance over previous models is the new powershift transmission, incorporating robotised range shifting operated by electronic push-buttons in the cab. This has been developed by Argo working with ZF, and has meant features such as automatic gear changing and speed-matching when shifting between ranges are available. Automatic range shifting to complement the auto powershift to make the transmission fully automatic is being developed and is expected to be added in the future. Current automatic operating modes include Eco with earlier up-shifts for fuel economy and full auto for max power as well as manual mode.The transmission allows the tractor to start off in any gear, subject to enough power being available for the load as well as skip-shifting within any range up or down. Speed matching means that when shifting between ranges on-the-move, the system will automatically select the appropriate gear within the new range to avoid over-revving or lack of power.Standard transmission provides 24 evenly-spaced ratios in six ranges, each powershift step giving a 20 per cent increase in speed. An optional synchromesh creep speed version has 40 forward and 40 reverse gears.
The Landini 7-215 is the most powerful model in the 7-Series with 212hp (max) available.Providing increased economy is an Eco 40 version which allows lower engine speeds to save fuel when full power isn’t needed; it also reduces noise and general wear and tear. With the 50kph version, top speed is achieved in range six at 1,895rpm on McCormick X7.4 models and the X7.660, and at 2,030prm on X7.670 and X7.680 models and their Landini equivalents.Shuttle modulation (speed of drive take-up when shifting direction) is adjustable to suit the load and application and shuttle speeds are 9-13 per cent faster in reverse, the company explaining that operators prefer the faster reverse speed as often headland manoeuvres are carried out at reduced engine revs.Four PTO speeds are standard; 540rpm and 1,000rpm achieved at 2,000 or 1,600 engine rpm. Start up is modulated reducing shock loads on the transmission and the implement. Exchangeable 6 and 21-spline shafts are standard. A new feature is automatic PTO switch off points which prevent damage if an implement is lifted too high.Argo will source its first commercial CVT from ZF to go into the McCormick X7 Series / Landini 6/7 Series tractors sometime in 2014. A CVT transmission has been seen before from McCormick, but only in concept form at a show in 2006 and it did not enter production.Hydraulics
Maximum rear lift capacity on all the new tractors is 9,300kg through the Cat 3 linkage and hydraulic maximum oil flow is 167 litres/min, providing up to 123 litres/min to the three remote valves which are supplied as standard equipment. Up to six valves can be specified. One remote valve can be operated from the number one control on the main joystick, with valves two and three operated on the armrest switches. Each valve is programmable for flow rate and time of operation for ease of use in repetitive situations, and all can be operated through the headland management system.The novel “My Switch” saves on the number of buttons displayed by operating four most frequently used functions – apart from being available as a de-clutch button at any time, the driver can programme the button to operate 4WD, auto powershift and diff lock. Customer focus groups showed that users prefer a choice of function and set-up which is easy to perform.Cab
The new cab has more space and better visibility, a new one-piece windscreen providing an uninterrupted view to the front. In the cab roof, an opening roof window provides improved vision for loader work as well as additional ventilation. The doors are wider than on previous models for ease of entry and hinges are adjustable to compensate for wear and to ensure effective sealing to maintain internal pressure reducing dust entry.The all-new cabs offer plenty of space and superb visibility. Instrument and control layout is good. The passenger seat is not the most comfortable, but folds away completely.The new driver’s seat has pneumatic suspension offering improved comfort while a ventilated option helps prevent a sweaty back during long periods of use. The compact passenger seat is not the most comfortable on a modern tractor, but requires no support stay and, as a result, folds away very neatly when not in use, helping provide an uncluttered look and maximising space available.New instrumentation is excellent, the steering column and instruments tilting together and the neatly grouped controls to the right of the operator come easily to hand for operation and set up of most functions. An iso-connector for implement control boxes provides convenient coupling.
The main control joystick on the right armrest provides all frequently-needed functions within easy reach of one hand. The proven Argo foot throttle pedal which has been designed to reduce speed variation when operating over rough ground is retained on the new models.A completely new heating and ventilation system is fitted, with digital controls, and fully-automatic climate control is standard. The number of air vents providing the flow of air into the cab is impressive, with three above the windscreen, several above and to each side of the operator, and one on each side of the operator seat. All provide hot and cold air, so there should be no need for misted-up windows in the winter, or for lack of adequate ventilation in the summer. Twin filters should reduce dust ingress and air conditioning efficiency is claimed to be 50 per cent better than on previous models. A refrigerated compartment has plenty of space to keep large drink bottles cool and is conveniently positioned just beside the passenger seat.A four-speaker radio with mp3 and Bluetooth compatibility is supported.More work lights are provided, including LEDs, a benefit for working long hours in dark buildings or for field work. Twin flashing beacons for added safety on the road are standard.Access for servicing is excellent, the engine hood lifting high to provide almost unrestricted access. The cooling radiators fold out for ease of cleaning.User back-up
Having made considerable investment in its new tractors to meet growing demand for high output, high specification machines, Argo says its dealers will be required to help its customers benefit fully from all the new features. “The dealer is becoming more and more a consultant,” explained dealer manager Mario Danieli. “The concept of a 4-cylinder tractor with 175hp available is new to many users, and the dealer will need to lead them through the new technology and changes. High power no longer requires a 6-cylinder engine. We are keen to improve the brand image and the new models will require dealers to provide users with professional test drives to demonstrate the features and benefits of the design.”  Test drive
Farmers Guide took the opportunity to experience the most powerful 4-cylinder model, the McCormick X7.460 with a large slurry tanker during a brief off-road test drive at the event.
Farmers Guide took the opportunity to test-drive the most powerful 4-cylinder model with 175hp. Torque at low revs was always available and the automatic power shift transmission was excellent.The tractor was a pre-production example but the standard of finish in the cab was good, and all the controls were as they will be in full production machines.The new cab is well laid out with plenty of space, and while the controls were being explained there were three large-frame adults present, one on each of the two seats and one standing to the right of the driver, but even with the doors closed there was adequate space.The controls to the right of the driver are all logically grouped and take little time to get used to, and the main joystick which has the transmission control buttons, comes easily to hand, the buttons well placed for finger and thumb operation. The display screen is clear and shows the gear and range selected, useful when pulling away to check that an appropriate ratio has been chosen.The 4-cylinder engine had plenty of torque and, even when starting off at low revs, felt very capable. Two buttons on the joystick are used to move manually up or down through the gears and, with the button at the rear of the joystick depressed, are used to alter the range up and down. Changing up or down through the gears the gear change action was slick, and the change itself very smooth. An alarm sounds if the change up or down is overdue but, with the level of torque available, the change itself could be carried out almost anywhere throughout the rev range and the tractor seemed to cope with it. In auto mode the shift was extremely smooth, a feature which will be appreciated by operators spending long hours in the cab.
Many of the Landini and McCormick tractors will be purchased for loader work and improved design features will enhance their performance and ease of use. Pictured is the 5-110H with an MC80 LoaderChanging the range requires manual intervention and while changing up the shift resulted in a slight jerk, as drive momentarily disengaged and re-engaged, but the speed matching selected the appropriate gear within the next range, a decent amount of speed overlap meaning there was always an ideal ratio available. Changing down, the speed-matching was impressive and even during quick changes of ratio, intended to stretch the ability of the system, the gear selected by the system as appropriate meant drive was re-engaged very smoothly, with no fear of over-revving. Jumping down several ranges at higher travel speeds meant there would be no appropriate gear to avoid over-revving the engine, and in this case the system refused the change, providing protection for the components.The electronic shifting meant that in normal situations the operator would almost need to watch the rev counter to detect when shifts were occurring, so good was the system.Precision farming solutions
Demand for precision farming products is increasing, and while at present there is no factory-fitted auto-steer or guidance system, work to develop this area is in progress with availability expected in late 2014.McCormick X50 and Landini 5-H Tier 4i now available
Previewed at Lamma 2013, the McCormick X50 and Landini 5-H Tier 4i tractors are now in full production. Replacing the T-Max models in the McCormick line-up and Landini 5-H Tier 3 tractors, the ranges include four models from 85-113hp with synchro or power shuttle transmissions and power is provided by a new Perkins 3.4-litre engine, with a Power Plus / Dual Power boost for PTO and transport work on the smaller three models.
The Landini 5-H Tier 4i models have replaced 5-H Tier 3 tractors. McCormick X50 Series tractors have similar specification. The cab is currently the same as fitted on earlier models but a new design is on its way next year.”Power Plus is a unique feature on a tractor of this size,” points out AgriArgo UK product specialist Paul Wade. “A farmer wanting a 95hp tractor will get that power with the McCormick X50.30 for jobs like cultivating and ploughing; but when it comes to operating a diet feeder or towing a muck spreader, he’ll have the performance of a tractor with seven per cent more power.”Synchro shuttle versions have a 24×12 transmission, dry clutch and mechanical rear lift control and have maximum power outputs of 85, 95, 102 and 113hp.Hydraulic power shuttle versions have a wet clutch with a gear lever-mounted declutch button, Bosch electronic rear lift and draft control and an air seat. With the hydraulic power shuttle, power outputs for draft work are 88, 95 and 105hp, rising to 95, 102 and 113hp for PTO and higher speed transport work when Power Plus engages automatically. The top of the range X50.50 has 113hp available for all operations.The new Perkins engine used has smaller capacity than the previous version but in the X50.40 has a nine per cent torque advantage at lower revs and Perkins claims fuel savings up to eight per cent. This is partly the result of improvements to the combustion process including the high pressure common-rail fuel injection system which, working with a particulate filter and diesel oxidation catalyst, allows the tractor to meet Tier 4i emissions standards.
The present passenger seat is compact but definitely not designed for use over many hours.An updated cab interior with instruments providing performance data and improved specification including an air suspension seat, push-back pick-up hitch, true all-wheel braking and locking front axle differential is standard on the power-shuttle version.Two speed 540/1,000 or three-speed economy 540/540E,1,000 PTOs, plus a ground speed drive option are available and six and 21-spline PTO stub shafts can be swapped with no oil loss.Rear lift capacity is 4,750kg and an integrated front linkage and PTO are options. Two lever-operated spool valves are standard with up to four available. A dedicated 52 litre/min hydraulic pump provides oil flow with the full flow available for implements as the power steering is operated by a separate pump. C-Max and Powerfarm replacements
More basic McCormick C-Max and Landini Powerfarm tractors are being replaced by the McCormick X50M (mechanical) and Landini 5-D models with Perkins 3.4-litre engines providing 85-102hp. They have no power boost and a lower specification transmission with synchro shuttle only.McCormick X4 and Landini 4 Series smaller tractor

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