Finnish tractor manufacturer Valtra gave the first official UK working demo last week of its clever swivelling front linkage that turns in tandem with the tractor wheels to improve manoeuvrability and cut overlaps.
The LH Link, developed jointly with Valtra’s Finnish parts supplier, LH Lift, is an industry first. The company claims it will boost operator efficiency by reducing overlaps when using front and rear implements, such as mower combinations.
A higher-spec version is also being developed for municipal operations. As well as incorporating the features of the agricultural version, it includes a hydraulically adjustable levelling system that can track road cambers.
On the ag version, a small in-cab control allows for easy operation via four operating modes:
- Full manual where the operator controls the turn independently of the front wheels – this could be useful for negotiating tight gateways or small spaces
- Wheel tracking with an adjustable rate of turn in relation to the tractor wheels. So at 50% setting the front-mounted implement has a maximum swing of 17.5 degrees. At 1:1 the linkage moves up to 35 degrees, tracking the turning angle of the front wheels
- Off-set centre. This is the same as wheel tracking, but allows the centre point to be off-set in either direction – for example, when material is to moved to one side, such as when using a brush or snow plough. This has appeal to construction and municipal operations
- High-response mode. Designed for operating front and rear mower combinations and allows a greater turning angle of between 100-200% of the front wheels
The turning mechanism uses Ackermann steering geometry to ensure true tracking allowing a front and rear mower combination to maximise cutting width within a turning radius of 10 metres. Lateral forces applied during turns is also said to be reduced.
The LH Link, fitted here to a Valtra N141 tractor, offers a 35 degree turn via a central pivot
and is said to reduce working overlaps and make manoeuvring in tight spaces easier
The swinging front linkage, with a lift capacity of 3.5t, is currently only available on Valtra’s N series tractor. It has yet to be officially launched and is still in the final stages of product evaluation. A price has yet to be announced too, but will no doubt be more than the £4700 for a standard front linkage with pto.
* A brief video of the LHLink in operation can be viewed on the Valtra website – Valtra – just click on the link to the LHLink page.