Directronic shuttle adds to Sames high-tech reputation
By Michael Williams
SAMES reputation for offering high tech tractors is given a further boost with the arrival of the Directronic shuttle.
Standard specification already includes a shuttle for forward/ reverse changes, which will still be sold after the Directronic shuttle arrives in the UK. This more basic system is controlled by a separate lever near the drivers right knee, and it operates mechanically with full synchromesh.
Adding the Directronic shuttle brings extra convenience. It is operated by push-buttons rather than a lever, and the controls are duplicated to allow the driver to make forward/reverse changes with either the left or right hand.
One pair of push-buttons is built into the touch pad on the control arm beside the drivers seat, where they are grouped with the Multispeed control – the electronic memory for the throttle settings and linkage raise/lower controls.
The second set of controls is on the left of the steering wheel, and comprises a bright red rocker switch plus one dark grey push button which is recessed into the top of the switch. The shuttle is operated by pressing either the top of the rocker switch for forwards or the bottom for reverse, but the push button must be pressed at the same time for safety reasons.
Having two sets of controls for the shuttle may seem a luxury, but it made more sense during a hands-on test in the driving seat.
In most driving situations the touch pad controls are so easy to use that most drivers will ignore the rocker switch on the left. For loading and other jobs with plenty of to and fro movements the rocker comes into its own, especially while the driver is looking back over the right shoulder when reversing. The result is a smooth no-fuss direction switch, ideal for manoeuvring.
The duplicated controls may be the parts which show, but there is more to Directronic than meets the eye. The single plate dry clutch for the lever-operated shuttle is replaced by two multi-plate clutch packs, one for forward travel and the other for reverse. They are both oil-immersed and are between the flywheel and the gearbox.
Also beneath the surface is the micro-processor which links the keypad and rocker switch controls with the movement of the clutch packs, collecting data from sensors on the engine, transmission and drive wheels. The micro-processor triggers the shuttle changes by operating the solenoid valves which, in turn, regulate the oil flow to the clutch packs.
Another micro-processor function is to check that the shuttle change can be made safely, and it will not operate when the tractor speed is above 6.2mph.
Directronic will not be available in the UK until spring, when it is likely to be an extra cost option on the medium spec, 80-105hp Lambor-ghini Premium and Same Silver models; it may be supplied as standard on top spec versions. *
Push-button direction shuttling for mid-range Same and Lamborghini tractors.
Directronic control is mounted to the left of the steering wheel.