Spraying combo thinks big
Ag-Chem Europes RoGator 618 made its UK debut recently
with a Chafer sprayer on its back. Andy Moore tried it out
A HIGH output machine, built specifically for large spraying workloads is how Ag-Chem Europe describes its latest RoGator 618 systems tractor, launched at this years Sprays and Sprayers event.
And Chafer Machinery intends to tap into European sprayer markets by selling the RoGator with the Spray Pack, while Ag-Chem Europe aims to enjoy sales of the RoGator as a self-propelled sprayer in the UK and on the Continent.
Ag-Chem says high output is achieved by combining the RoGators 185hp PowerTech engine and high speed transmission, with the Spray Packs 4000 litre tank and 24m-30m boom widths. A 36m boom will be available next year, according to Chris Allen of Chafer Machinery.
"With our existing line-up of smaller self-propelled sprayers, it has been difficult to tap into already established European markets," he says. "The marketing agreement between ourselves and Ag-Chem Europe will provide the ideal opportunity to sell our Spray Pack across the continent and more extensively in the UK."
Probably one of the first questions to ask when taking in the 3.85m high by 8m long RoGator is wheres the engine?
To improve forward visibility and weight distribution, Ag-Chem has mounted the 6cyl John Deere PowerTech engine transversely behind the cabin, connecting directly to two hydrostatic pumps.
With engine service points positioned just behind the cab door, maintenance should be an easy task, with a fibreglass bonnet tilting back out of harms way.
As to the cab itself, access is a no nonsense affair with the operator climbing a four-rung ladder which can be hydraulically folded in during work.
On entering the cab, the operator is met with a rustic, yet spacious environment where Ag-Chem, unlike many manufacturers, has not gone over board on tacky plastic panels and fittings.
Visibility, however, is a mixed bag. No engine at the front of the RoGator allows good forward vision, although six sturdy cab pillars and a radiator header tank behind the rear window give the feeling of slight confinement.
Even so, operators should be kept in a cool and 100% clean environment – the RoGator is equipped with a double active carbon filtration system, which Ag-Chem claims is unique to the machine.
With cab door firmly shut and multi-function control lever in neutral, the engine roars to life with a twist of the ignition key.
Pushing the control lever fully forward with the engine on tick over produces nothing, but once revs are raised to 1050rpm the RoGator surges onwards. A firm squeeze of plus or minus buttons underneath on the control level select speeds one to four, with the four independent Poclain wheel motors propelling the RoGator at impressive forward speeds.
The lower three gears enable working speeds up to 30kph, with gear four allowing a 45kph road speed. Each speed can be varied infinitely by moving the control lever up and down its slide.
The Poclain wheel motors are powered by dual hydrostatic pumps, driven directly from the engine. Connected as a cross over system, each pump powers the front and rear opposite wheel motor so that traction can be improved in ruts or in sticky conditions.
Ag-Chem believes it is the only manufacturer to use a hydrostatic transmission in combination with drum brakes to provide stopping power.
The sprayer is operated by rocker switches incorporated into the right hand console, while boom sections (six on our Spray Pack) can be turned on and off using buttons on the control lever.
To sum up, although cab visibility might be on the poor side, the RoGator 618 should satisfy or even surpass the spraying demands of the largest UK contractor or estate. *
Engine 185hp 6cyl PowerTech.
Transmission Four speed hydrostatic (crossover wheel motors).
Turning radius 4.5m.
Tank capacity 4000 litres.
Boom widths 24m to 30m (36m future).
Spray pump capacity 450lt/min.
The multi-function control lever operates machine forward speeds/ direction and boom section.
Ag-Chem Europes RoGator 618 will be marketed with Chafer Machinerys Spray Pack de-mount sprayer providing a high output machine for UK and continental markets.