11/04/2012 Challenger - 25 Years of Track
For the past 25 years Challenger has been providing farmers and contractors with the advantages of working on rubber tracks. The benefits of better traction with reduced slip and less compaction they provide, says the company, are the main reasons why one tracked machine often replaces two normal wheeled tractors.
“Wide, long tracks, which operate at low levels of slip, compared with tyres, enable tracked tractors to boost field efficiency and cut costs. This is usually the main reason why customers are first attracted to the concept and then find the tracks not only do more work than wheeled machines, but also produce further savings and efficiencies,” explains Challenger Product Manager, Marcus Paul.
A Challenger MT865C running on 762mm (30in) wide belts offers a total ground contact area of 4.5m². This compares with just 3.6m² for a similar sized ‘articulated’ tractor equipped with dual wheels all round – eight tyres!
According to Challenger trials, this wider footprint provides enhanced traction that enables up to 100hp more power to be transferred to the ground – 382hp for a Challenger compared with 268hp for wheels, both starting with an engine power of 570hp.
More drawbar pull
“This shows the Challenger provides about 10% to 20% greater drawbar pull than a similar sized tractor on tyres,” explains Marcus. “That means in 1,000hrs of operation it equates to 100-200hrs of extra work – for free! This allows users to either pull wider implements for fewer passes, with less compaction and faster work; or pull the same machine with less effort and save fuel.”
Further gains come from lower slip when working on tracks. While tyres work best with an optimum wheelslip of 15%, tracks operate best at a much lower slip of 2%-5%. Adding that up over 1,000hrs it means the wheeled tractor is actually standing still for 150hrs – its wheels are spinning – while the Challenger’s slip accounts for just a third of that time. This allows the Challenger to actually operate for 100hr more – that’s nearly two weeks of extra work. When you consider the cost of fuel, it is difficult to understand who can afford to run a 570hp tractor for two weeks more than necessary?
In those extra two weeks the Challenger can drill 450ha more than the wheeled tractor (4.5ha/ha for 100hr). In the same time the wheeled tractor is not only standing still, through unproductive wheel slip, in the process it consumes about 40-litres/hr of fuel – or 4,000-litres at a total cost of about $3460. (0.87c/litre).
When you consider the additional work from better timeliness, improved traction and less slip, these savings and gains add up to considerable improvements in efficiency and economy.
AGCOMMAND and AUTOSTEER fitted
All models come with the System 150, the automatic guidance and steering system as well as the AGCOMMAND telemetry-based monitoring.
New software updates will provide even better hydraulic and linkage control, particularly increased sensitivity for the three-point hitch and improved draft and slip controls.
To make things ever better for operators is the optional double ‘Nightbreaker’ lights and a new exhaust muffler that reduces noise in the cab.