New tractor transmission wins IMMA
The International Machinery Manufacturers’ Awards, the new Oscars for agricultural machinery, were launched by Cereals event organiser Haymarket Exhibitions to recognise companies that have produced machines that stand out from the crowd by delivering a mix of innovation, cost-effectiveness and value.
The award judges, drawn from IMMA supporters the Agricultural Engineers’ Association, The Institution of Agricultural Engineers, The Royal Agricultural University and Farmers Weekly, commented: “It’s not often that a new transmission comes along, but this one is clearly innovative. The potential for greater efficiency – and lower fuel use – is great.”
The newly designed 24-speed DirectDrive transmission employs Formula 1 technology on John Deere’s six-cylinder 6R Series tractor range to combine variable shift transmission (IVT) with efficiency. It is designed to deliver maximum productivity with lower fuel consumption for tasks that need continuous power, such as ploughing and towing, pto work and road transport.
The transmission’s dual clutch technology has become the benchmark in the luxury car industry, and is now available in a tractor for the first time. Significant fuel savings of up to four per cent, compared with currently available transmissions, have been measured on the test facilities at John Deere’s tractor factory in Mannheim and during independent field tests.
The semi-automatic DirectDrive transmission system consists of eight powershift speeds in each of three ranges, which are specifically designed for typical field applications. The system enables the driver to remain in the selected range for all relevant operations, so switching between ranges is rarely necessary, and the resulting minimal interruption to the power flow adds to the overall efficiency of the tractor’s power train.
The driver can choose between a manual mode to take command of forward and reverse speed changes via the tractor control lever, or an automatic mode. In this mode, the transmission enables fast changes between the eight speeds under full load, and also provides fully automatic changes between the A, B and C ranges.
Depending on the actual load the Efficiency Manager function, also enabled in Auto mode, automatically matches the appropriate speed and engine rpm for maximum fuel efficiency. The tractor’s 40 or 50kph (in Eco mode) top speeds are also achieved with significantly reduced engine rpm. As a result, the new DirectDrive transmission offers a cost-effective alternative to existing IVTs.
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