Claas is showing its TERRA TRAC expertise at Agritechnica with enhanced versions of its crawler track system fitted to a JAGUAR forage harvester and an AXION large tractor.
Soil compaction reduces yields and takes a great deal of work to eliminate again which is why Claas attaches great importance to soil protection, starting with measures taken during the machine development process. It was 30 years ago that the company presented the first series-production combine harvester with full rubber tracks. This was followed by the TERRA TRAC concept a few years later. Since then, Claas has pursued the systematic development of crawler track technology on the LEXION large combine harvester. Claas claim the benefits are:
66% lower soil pressure compared with wheeled machines
40 km/h on-road travel with a transport width that complies with road traffic licensing regulations
high level of driving comfort through hydropneumatic suspension
smooth front attachment guidance and excellent directional stability
high stability on side slopes
potential for cost savings through protection of soil structure and reduced effort required for subsequent tillage
As the next logical step, Claas is now equipping AXION large tractors and JAGUAR forage harvesters with this concept which has been optimised specifically to meet customers’ requirements.
In equipping its JAGUAR with TERRA TRAC, Claas is the first forage harvester manufacturer to present a factory-fitted integrated crawler track system for forage harvesters which protects the soil and grass cover with a unique, integrated headland protection feature.
During a turning manoeuvre, the machine is supported on the middle support rollers, thereby raising part of each crawler track. As a result, the contact area and degree of soil pressure change briefly to a level comparable to that obtained with 800-size tyres.
Studies by Kiel University of Applied Sciences have shown that, by shortening the contact area in this way, it is possible for the undesirable shear effect (which is otherwise encountered when turning a machine with crawler tracks on grass) to be reduced to almost the same level as that which results with a wheeled machine.
This innovative concept allows year-round operation with a high degree of machine utilisation and no time lost in conversion. With 635 mm wide tracks, the JAGUAR with TERRA TRAC remains within a transport width of 3.0 m with a top speed of 40 km/h. With 800 mm wide tracks, the machine has an external width of less than 3.5 m. Another practical benefit is that removal and installation of the corncracker from the side is considerably easier as the crawler tracks are lower than tyres.
The AXION 900 TERRA TRAC is the first half-track tractor with full suspension. The crawler track system is based on the technology currently in use with combine harvesters. The drive wheel, which is larger than those found on the forage and combine harvester track units, allows the transmission of greater torque. Even during heavy tillage at low speed, the crawler track system transmits the drive power to the ground with minimal slippage.
The prototype of the AXION 900 TERRA TRAC combines the advantages of a tracklaying tractor in terms of traction and soil protection with the driving comfort of a standard tractor. The independent suspension of the drive wheel, land wheel and support rollers allows the crawler track unit to adapt optimally to the ground. Despite its large contact area, the AXION 900 TERRA TRAC is significantly narrower than a tractor with wide or twin tyres.