New trio for Royal debut
By Andrew Faulkner
NOT one but three JCB machines will make their first public appearances at next months Royal Show – a "mini" Fastrac tractor and two wheeled loaders.
The 115hp Fastrac 1115 (Machinery, Apr 7) extends JCBs "fast tractor" concept down from its current 125-170hp into the competitive 100-120hp sector, and is expected to become the best selling model within the range.
Which is ironic, as, since the Fastracs introduction in 1991, the trend in sales has been for more, not less power. The previous base model, the 125hp 125, was outsold from "day one" by its 147hp sibling and sales of the 170hp 185 have exceeded all expectations, accounting for about 35% of all Fastracs sold in the UK.
"The problem with the previous smallest model, the now discontinued 125hp 125, was that it was too heavy for its horsepower. The new 1115 is a tonne lighter than the other models in the range," explains Paul Hemingway, JCB Landpowers product manager.
In addition to shortening and narrowing the chassis to reduce size and weight, JCB has also attempted to address the other two criticisms most commonly levelled at the bigger Fastracs – poor visibility and manoeuvrability.
Modifying the front axle and suspension system has enabled turning circle to be reduced by about 1m (3.3ft). The front wheels now tilt up to 12í when turned, while the coil/damper suspension system has been converted from a five- to a four-link system, allowing for a tighter track width.
Improved visibility comes largely from the redesigned cab, in which the front/side glass area extends to floor level; a ploughman can now see his front wheel running against the furrow wall. The cab is smaller, so it can fit on to the 1115s shortened chassis without reducing load platform area.
In most other respects the 1115 is a scaled-down replica of its big brothers. It still uses a Perkins-sourced power unit, hydro-pneumatic rear suspension and a 36F/12R reverse splitter transmission with pre-select forward/reverse. Unlike the 135-170hp versions, though, top speed has been limited to 50kph
• Of the two new loaders, 409 Telemaster and 414S Farm Master, it is the Telemaster which is expected to sell in some quantity to farmers.
A telescopic version of JCBs existing 409 Farm Master, the Telemaster is designed for farmers who like the small-wheeled loader principle for working around tight traditional buildings but need extra reach for, say, loading into tall feeder wagons or stacking big bales. The telescoping boom has a maximum lift height of 4.3m (14ft 1in) and forward reach of 2.85m (9ft 4in). Lift capacity is 2t at full height and 1t at full reach.
Powered by a 96hp Perkins engine, the Telemaster transmits power through a standard torque convertor and 4F/4R box. Powershift is available as an option, and the vehicle is permanent four-wheel-drive.
At the front of the machine, JCB offers a choice of three carrier frames to reduce the cost of modifying attachments when switching from another brand/machine type. Telemaster price is £26,988.
Completing the triumvirate, the 414S Farm Master is JCBs new flagship in its agricultural wheeled loader range.
Powered by a 150hp six-cylinder Perkins engine, the 414 is a beefed up version of the 110hp 412 Farm Master. It is designed to meet contractors demands for a clamping machine that can keep up with 400hp+ self-propelled foragers.
Weighing 8t, the machine is driven up the clamp through a four-wheel-drive, full powershift transmission which gives 6F/3R reverse gears. The box is fully automatic but can be locked in 2nd, 3rd or 4th gears to maintain momentum when clamp climbing. Prices are expected to start from £57,000