Agrotron comes of age
Front axle suspension, a
higher specification and
several updates feature on
the latest Deutz-Fahr
Agrotrons shown at last
years Royal Show. Geoff
Ashcroft test drove the
SECOND time around, the Agrotron tractor range offers higher specification and a host of revisions which set it apart from the original range launched back in Aug 1995.
Now under the banner of Same Deutz-Fahr, the Agrotron has gained its much needed additional year of development, albeit "on the ground".
Technically, little has changed compared with the original models, though the range has grown. There are now 16 models spanning the 78-200hp range – although the 160, 175 and 200 models, being new additions to the range, are not yet available.
"A criticism of the earlier Agrotrons was inefficient engine cooling," explains marketing director, Paddy Flynn. "This has been addressed with a steel bulkhead between the radiators and the engine compartment, to help the flow of air through the front of the tractor. And there are louvres on the engines side panels too."
"Weve improved the air conditioning system with larger ducting and used better insulation between the cab and transmission, to reduce the amount of heat absorbed through the cab floor."
But over and above these tweaks, two fundamental developments have improved operator comfort; all models of 105hp and above have the option of a suspended front axle (which also means a 50kph transmission replaces the 40kph item), and complementing this, tractors of 120hp upwards can be equipped with a sprung cab.
To fully appreciate the changes, farmers weekly visited Same Deutz-Fahrs UK headquarters at Barby, to test drive the £61,595 155hp Agrotron 155.
It is often said first impressions count and where better to make them, than in the cab. Entering the cab is a walk-up-and-in affair, though some taller operators may find themselves ducking to avoid the mirror protruding from the cab roof.
Once seated, its easy to appreciate the bright, airy, almost roomy feel of the Agrotrons futuristic cab. Even on a cloudy winters day, the Agrotrons interior had me reaching for my sunglasses.
There are no dowdy greys and blues here – bright colour coding is the order of the day. Controls associated with driving/transmission functions are coded red; hydraulic linkage functions are coded green; auxiliary hydraulics blue; and pto functions are orange.
And to help night time operation, a red light is fitted into the cab roof to shed gentle illumination on the main control console.
Conscious of the amount of glass used in the Agrotrons cab, designers have added pull-down mesh roller blinds on the front and rear windscreens and the doors, to help reduce the greenhouse effect. All blinds are easily pulled into place, though some ham-fisted operators might have trouble pressing the small buttons used to retract the screens.
With the emphasis on high-speed comfort (where legally possible), our test Agrotron was fitted with the front axle suspension and cab suspension – the latter sees the two rubber mounting blocks at the rear of the cab replaced by a spring/damper assembly, while rubber blocks remain on the front corners of the cab.
And although the effect of the sprung cab is noticeable when negotiating potholes, it is still some way off matching the ride comfort of the hydrostable system used by Renault.
For greater levels of comfort, you have to look to the front axle suspension system.
Deutzs system relies on nitrogen filled dampers connected to two hydraulic cylinders on the front axle. These give the axle 45mm of vertical travel from a centred position. The whole suspension system is managed by an electronic control box, which allows the operator to turn the system on and off from the cab. And when switched off, the rams are hydraulically locked to provide a rigid front axle.
Being able to switch the system on and off, it is easy to feel the improvement in ride comfort when using the Agrotrons suspended axle.
In addition, the Agrotrons also use vibration damping through the rear hydraulic linkage, so bounce caused by heavy implements is also kept under control. *
Visually, little has changed on the "new" Agrotrons. Model designations now correspond to horsepower and cab pillars are painted black.
Hinged oil cooler nestles in between the air-con rad and main engine cooling rad, and makes cleaning out much easier.