Agco teles go their own way
The MF8937 is the first
model to appear from
the Agco/FDI Sambron
Geoff Ashcroft gave
it a workout
UNLIKE Claas and John Deere who have taken on telehandlers as a badge engineering exercise, Agco chose to have its own model developed and not taken from an existing range.
And the result of Agcos joint deal with French manufacturer FDI Sambron announced earlier this year, is the MF8937. Built at Pontchateau, France, the machine is FDI Sambrons first side-engined model and follows the current market trend of low boom telehandlers.
It also shares some of the components found at Agcos Banner Lane production line, including radiator, air filter, seat and work lights.
Model numbering denotes the 8900-series lifting 3t to 7m. And so it follows then, that the next model in the Agco line-up could be the 8925 – 2t to 5m?
"There are no plans to introduce either a pivot steer model or a larger rigid chassis handler," explains Agcos product development manager John Bennett.
First visual impression of the MF-badged machine is not one that brings unrivalled, 360-degree visibility to mind. Its more of a compromise between what you can see and what can be handled.
Indeed, designers opted to sacrifice the all-round vision afforded by an ultra-low boom position, in favour of improved digging and forward reach characteristics.
"Its a trade-off," explains Mr Bennett. "A horizontal boom lacks strength when digging and also loses some of its lift height and reach. We wanted more functionality from the machine so the boom pivot was raised."
And this is an area where the MF8937 scores. By suspending the boom below the main pivot, the boom still affords a low stance to help the view from the cab. And maximum horizontal reach extends to 4m (13ft) carrying a 1.2t load.
Load capacity at full height is 3t to 7.1m (23.3ft) and stability is helped by the machines 2.75m (9ft) wheelbase and 6.5t unladen weight.
By using the now industry standard three-mode steering, manoeuvrability is good. Changing between modes though, requires a look down at the wheels to check their alignment – lights on the dash indicate when both axles are straight ahead, although poor illumination still necessitates a look at the wheels.
Motive power for the MF8937 starts with a Perkins 1004 four-cylinder unit, placed transversely between the offside front and rear wheels. Turbo and non-turbo versions provide 106hp and 75hp respectively.
At the rear of the engine are a bank of hydraulic pumps driven directly off the crank – one of which runs the telehandlers two speed hydrostatic transmission.
Electing to stay away from the power sapping individual hydrostatic wheel motor design, the MF8937 uses a swash plate pump and a dual displacement motor which drives the front axle.
Using a single pump/motor system allows additional, electronic management of the transmission. The result is two speed ranges (0-8kph and 0-30kph) and the choice of two levels of transmission sensitivity.
At the flick of a dash-mounted switch, the transmission can operate in either progressive or aggressive modes. The former requires a good boot-full of throttle before the transmission starts to have any effect; take up is smooth and the ability to push is somewhat limited.
Selecting the aggressive mode is exactly as it suggests; the machine becomes eager, giving an instant response between throttle and transmission. When put to work, this feature puts the MF8937 in the same league as telehandlers with torque converter/powershift transmissions.
Changing between high and low speed ranges is simply a matter of pushing the F-N-R control lever up or down.
Four-wheel drive is achieved using a shaft drive to connect the front axle to the rear and enables the underbelly of the machine to be fully enclosed. It also provides four-wheel braking through the transmission, with oil-immersed disc brakes fitted inside the front axle.
For the operator, the MF8937s cab offers plenty of space; theres storage cubbies behind and to the right of the seat – the latter perhaps, could benefit from a padded armrest. Light-coloured trim gives the cab a spacious feel while slim A-posts and a large side window give a good view in front of and to the right hand side of the machine.
Moving deeper into the comfort zone, prospective owners looking for some cool air will need to make do for the time being, with an opening rear window and fold back glass panel in the door – air conditioning is set to become a retro-fit option during 1998.
For those wanting a practical, high capacity farm handler, the £39,500 MF8937 cannot be overlooked.
But if its a smaller and lighter machine you require, then watch this space – its only a matter of time before a smaller stable mate emerges from the Pontchateau factory.n
MF8937 – first machine to materialise from the Agco/FDI Sambron agreement.
Cab is light, airy and spacious for a rigid handler.
Engine: Transverse-mounted Perkins 1004 with 75hp (non-turbo) and 106hp (turbo).
Transmission: Two-speed hydrostatic with progressive and aggressive modes.
Lift capacity: 3t.
Lift height: 7.11m (23.3ft).
Max horizontal reach: 4m (13ft).