HARDI has introduced a new smaller version of the ALPHA self-propelled sprayer, which features a new hydraulic track width adjustment system.The launch of the new ALPHA VARITRACK sees a return to the UK of the EVRARD name and colours. Well known for high capacity sprayers and owned by HARDI, EVRARD is Europe's largest manufacturer of self-propelled sprayers. The ALPHA VARITRACK is built on a chassis using high-tensile, stress resistant steel. The front axle is independently sprung, using a new trailing arm design that incorporates a helical spring with integrated shock absorber. The rear axle is sprung using a central helical spring and shock absorbers, which is designed to ensure that the boom remains parallel to the chassis, and the chassis parallel to the ground.In both instances the coil springs are positioned parallel to the chassis in order to keep the stress contained within the strongest part of the chassis. HARDI/EVRARD remain one of the few manufacturers to continue to use coil springs, but argue that these have the advantage of providing longer life and improved ride characteristics compared to air-ride systems, which also require greater maintenance.The ALPHA VARITRACK is available with either a 2500 litre or 3000 litre capacity polyethylene UV stable tank. There is also the option of either a 276 l/min or 322l/min HARDI electronically variable diaphragm pump, which is ideal for use with Injet or bubble type nozzles that operate at higher pressures. Alternatively, where wider booms and semi-continuous circulation systems are being fitted, an electronically variable EVRARD 500 litre/minute centrifugal pump can be specified.As standard, the ALPHA VARITRACK is fitted with aluminium booms fitted with HARDI PENTANOZZLES. Available in widths from 24m up to 32m, the booms incorporate a three-way breakaway system and have the advantage of low weight and corrosion resistance, and are mounted on a parallelogram linkage.New VARITRACK systemA specific feature of the new ALPHA 3000 is its VARITRACK hydraulic track width adjustment system. Using the in-cab digital control unit, stepless track width can be achieved whilst on the move over 45cm from a minimum of 1.80m out to 2.25m (on 270/95R38 tyres). The digital display provides the operator with a readout to the actual track width and avoids the need to physically measure the track width.Unlike other systems that use sliding axle designs, the VARITRACK system is safer and faster, plus it has no sliding components. VARITRACK is suitable for use at road-speeds of 40km/h and does not require the wheel settings to be re-aligned after the axle has been adjusted. Where a hydraulic system is not required, a manual adjustment system can be specified, which again is substantially quicker to adjust than other manual types.The ability to quickly and simply change the track width will obviously be an attraction for contractors or for farms where root crops or vegetables are grown, but the system also offers the potential to provide greater stability on the road.The ALPHA VARITRACK is powered by a 170hp, 6-cylinder turbo-charged DEUTZ engine. Drive to all four wheels is hydrostatically controlled via a multifunction joystick and a five-way dashboard control with park/transport/field/hill climb/hill descent functions. Each wheel is driven using three-speed Poclain hydraulic motors which have a maximum road speed of 40kph. The sprayer is also fitted with the foot operated DYNAPLUS safety braking system, which acts on each wheel for 4-wheel braking.For operators who do not require such a high road speed, a 25kph hydrostatic transmission is also available, powered by a 140hp 4-cylinder turbo-charged DEUTZ power unit.The cab on the ALPHA VARITRACK offers excellent all-round visibility from the driving position and is fitted with both air-conditioning, automatic cab pressurisation and active carbon filters. All the main operating controls are grouped on the multi-function joystick, whilst the fluid system is controlled using a HARDI REGULOR 5 computer control system. Amongst its many functions, this provides:• Electronic control regulation for constant application rate regardless of speed.• Flow; pressure or automatic regulation• Boom section and control valve position display• 100 job data memory• GPS, radar and printer compatibility.• Automatic boom lift on the headlands (option)The new ALPHA VARITRACK is immediately available and prices start at £63000 for a 24m, 25kph, 2500 litre, 140hp machine with manual VARITRACK. What is expected to be the 'standard' best-selling model with 24m booms, 40kph, 3000 litre, 170hp with hydraulic VARITRACK costs £74,000.