CASE IH has introduced Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) into its high-horsepower, Steiger tractors, making the Steiger the world’s first articulated tractor with CVT.
Launching the technology at the AgQuip field days in Gunnedah, NSW, Case IH global Steiger product manager, Dan Klein, Racine, Wisconsin, said introducing CVT into Steiger articulated tracked tractors was a world first.
“It is one of the highest horsepower CVTs in a tractor in the world and it is the first in an articulated tractor in the world,” he said.
“We have evolved it into a ground-up redesign for a new CVT that goes into the highest horsepower which is the Steiger 500. It is available on a 400, 450 and 500 Steiger. Then we have subsets of that on Quadtrac, Rowtrac, scraper models and the wheeled Steiger model.”
Mr Klein said fitting CVT technology into the Steiger range opened up new opportunities for farmers across a range of operations.
“People who are doing chaser bin work, planting or seeding, laser buckets – applications where an operator is normally doing a lot of shifting, having to match power shift gear and engine RPM, having to do a lot of manual operations to get the efficiency. The CVT takes all that and automates it,” he said.
“Whether you are going three metres a minute or as fast as 40 kilometres/hour, it varies the ratios of the transmission to be able to achieve it in the most fuel-efficient manner.”
Four mechanical ranges
Mr Klein said one of the key points of difference with CVT in Steiger tractors was the four mechanical ranges within the transmission.
“The more mechanical efficiency you have, the more fuel efficiency. By adding four mechanical ranges around 3km/hr, 7km/hr, 14km/hr, those three are down within the working range of the traditional tractor. Whether you are doing tillage, whether you are doing variable operations, we are trying to get as much fuel efficiency as possible,” he said.
Mr Klein said one of the requirements of the new design was to make it familiar and easy-to-use for Case customers.
“We are taking the same intuitive controls we have on the Maxxum, Puma, Optim and Magnum. The same controls as inside the tractor. One of the things we want to enhance is simple, easy-to-use technology,” he said.
“The exclusive split throttle design we have, the pre-sets, the sensitivity aggressiveness of the transmission – those are the same on all the tractors.
“We take care of all the software development and all the controls on the back to make sure our customer doesn’t have to retrain from one CVT to the next.”
Broad range of operations
Mr Klein said the Steiger CVT technology would be available for order in Australia from October 1 and was targeted at the broadacre farming, land levelling and laser bucketing markets.
“Laser bucketing with power shift, you may shift up five times coming in and another five times going back, every 10 minutes of the day. But with CVT you get more efficiency, smoother transition compared to power shift where the more you shift the more power you break to the ground and break the traction,” he said.
“If you are in a heavy pull you have to shift up or down, the tractor breaks traction. But, with CVT, from slow speeds to high speeds you always maintain traction on the ground. As you push the multi-function handle forward it will ratio itself up from a standstill under full load. You don’t need to balance the clutch with engine RPM.
“Chaser bins are a unique scenario in that you can match combine speed exactly. You can set it for, say, 10km/hr and it will achieve that speed and vary the engine ratio to achieve it. When you pull up at the end to dump in the temporary holding or truck, with CVT technology we have a power neutral state where you pull back the handle all the way back and it will sit there at 90 seconds on any hill and any application. If you just bump it forward it just inches forward.
“So, you don’t need to worry about balancing the clutch when running a PTO unloading so you don’t stall it or overfill the truck.”
As well as targeting fuel efficiency and operator fatigue, the CVT transmission provides faster acceleration to field or road speed, full power availability at low ground speeds for special applications and implements, and full hydraulic flow availability at low ground speeds, for such things as sowing. The result is increased productivity with faster cycle times and maximum fuel efficiency.