30 June 1995

New drive near to full farm use

New developments in plenty were on display at this years Sprays and Sprayers.

Andy Collings and

Andrew Faulkner report

A BOLD glimpse of future developments was presented by Pontypool-based self-propelled sprayer manufacturer, Chavtrac.

With the market currently vying between hydrostatic and mechanical transmissions, the company has thrown yet another carrot into the pot – the automatic transmission.

With an eye to convention, Chavtrac has called it a power shift transmission which, with a degree of license, it is. But with the unit sourced from Chrysler and used extensively in automobiles throughout the States, the term automatic transmission is probably more accurate.

A gear selection lever holds the box in one of three forward or one reverse gears, with a "drive" mode selected for full automation when on the road.

"Most operators appreciate the positive drive provided by a mechanical box," says marketing director Richard Price. "But few enjoy having to change gears. This transmission combines the ease of hydrostatic drive with the merits of a mechanical one."

Fitted as a prototype to the companys 111hp Chaviot 2000 sprayer, Mr Price intends to test the transmission throughout the summer with a view to offering it commercially towards the end of the year. Expected cost is an extra £1290 on the price of a sprayer.

In the longer term, Chavtrac is also looking to develop a boom built from a composite material – fibre-reinforced plastic. That would combine the lightness of aluminium with the strength and flexibility of steel. Intended to be fitted to the high-speed US-built Spra Coupe sprayer, the company concedes there is some way to go to a commercial version.

Mr Prices connections with the USA has borne fruit with the UK debut of an American chemical injection system – a system which allows chemical to be metered into spray lines, avoiding the need for operators to mix chemicals.

The Raven system is claimed to be capable of handling up to five different products at the same time, each applied at specified dose rates, irrespective of forward speed. Reported to have been widely accepted in the States, Mr Price is convinced such an apparently proven system could have potential in the UK.