22 December 1995

Fast and efficient spreader is result of co-operation

Manufacturers keen to do business are increasingly prepared to produce purpose-built equipment for farmers and contractors with individual requirements. Peter Hill reports on two such projects for high-speed mobility

CO-OPERATION between two equipment companies has produced a custom-made, high-speed lime and fertiliser spreader designed to increase seasonal output and improve application accuracy.

The KRM-Bredal/Richard Western spreader was commissioned by contractor Derek Potter, whose Hindhay Quarry fertiliser and lime spreading service operates throughout Berkshire and surrounding counties.

"We are travelling further distances these days and spreading direct from the quarry more," explains Mr Potter. "We needed something that could travel faster but with a high level of safety."

The original thought was that the KRM-Bredal K105 10cu m spreader body would drop straight on to a standard high-speed Western trailer chassis. In the event, it had to be built specially.

"It needed a clean-sheet chassis design but draws on the basic concept of our high-speed bulk tipper trailers," says Richard Western design engineer Mark Parrish. "One of the main requirements was to run shafts through liner bearings in the chassis cross-members to link the tractors pto and the spreaders spinner gearbox."

The chassis has a leaf-spring damped drawbar, two 10-stud Hendrickson commercial vehicle axles with individual leaf-spring suspension, anti-lock air brakes (hydraulic brakes are also fitted for a non-air braked tractor), and "D" rated 540/65R30 Michelin XM108 low-profile tyres match the Pirelli covers on the Fastrac.

The chassis is designed to take an unladen weight of 4.71t plus nearly 13t of lime or fertiliser at Fastrac speeds and, though it is taller than Mr Potter hoped, it is performing as expected.

Operator David Temple says: "It tows very well; its very stable with excellent brakes."

That is an important consideration since tipper truck hire is becoming more scarce and more contracts will be serviced by hauling and spreading chalk direct from the quarry.

"The high-speed capability will allow us to travel further afield than with our conventional spreaders," explains Mr Potter.

In-field performance is enhanced by replacing the Bredal spreaders standard conveyor friction wheel drive with a hydraulic system using an electrically operated flow valve coupled to an RDS Delta 3 controller and monitor.

That allows Mr Temple to quickly and easily change application rates, either for different jobs or within the field if pH levels vary sufficiently. It also gives him a complete record of area covered and volume applied. Wide spreading widths (up to 12m with lightweight materials, 18m with lime, 36m with P&K fertilisers) mean faster work rates and fewer wheelings.

With commercial axles and big wheels under the chassis, the spreader ended up a little taller than envisaged and needs the extra reach of a telescopic handler to load cleanly. It represents an investment of £20,000.