Glacier FarmMedia – Claas joined an elite group of tractor manufacturers that offer high-horsepower, articulated tractors with four tracks, with its launch of the Xerion TRAC TS at Agritechnica in Germany.
Both the Xerion 5000, with 530 h.p., and the Xerion 4500, at 490 h.p., will be offered in the TRAC TS class.
Henning Ressmeyer of Claas said the track system on the Xerion is much different than the friction drive tracks on other Claas products, such as its combines, forage harvesters and Axion tractors, because that track system is for fixed axles only.
“Xerion has two steering axles. The best design to stay with this concept and to stay with the Xerion concept is realized with this shape of tracks,” Ressmeyer said.
There are rubber lugs on the inside of the track that fit within the final drive gear hub.
Dutch manufacturer Zuidberg builds the crawler system that is outfitted with 30 inch CAMSO tracks resulting in a final external width for the tractor of less than three metres.
“The fixation on the steering axle is done by a marching frame. So you get a mounting frame where the whole force is passing through. Then the drive of the tracks, with the spoked wheel, is done with the axle,” Ressmeyer said.
The area around the tracks on the TRAC TC tractors had to be modified to fit the tracks.
“We need some more space for the oscillation of the track axle. So the positioning of the front axle is lower to integrate it on the front,” Ressmeyer said.
He said if there is demand, the company will look to design the system to fit 36-inch tracks in the future.
For rollover protection, the cab had to be reinforced to accommodate the extra weight of the tracks.
“With a wheel machine you are between 17 and 18 tonnes, depending on the weight you put on the tractor, empty weight without ballast. And the tracks brings you to 23.5 tonnes of empty weight, so therefore you have to reinforce the cabin structure of the tractor,” Ressmeyer said.
Tires work better than tracks in some soil conditions, he said, but the tracks increase the tractor’s footprint 25 per cent over the tractor fitted with the largest single tire.
“You will see you get an increase of footprint compared to the single tire machine, which is out there. And you see also the result of tracks, which are pulling better than tires out there in the field,” he said.
“What you have, more or less, is 50 per cent more capacity and traction force.”
The hours producers can put on the rubber will vary depending on soil conditions and how much road travel they see, however Ressmeyer estimates they will last 3,500 to 4,000 hours and could even last up to 6,000 hours under ideal conditions.
The tracks are equipped with a pendular suspension system and when this is combined with the tractor’s cab suspension, operators will find the ride surprisingly smooth, Ressmeyer said.
“You have the pivoting of the tracks of 10 degrees,” he said.
“You have some mid-rollers which can pivot to the left and right side a little bit, just to overcome the uneven ground.”
He said the tracks are maintenance free, until operators change the track’s oil when the rubber is changed out.
Top speed of the Xerion Trac TS is 32 kilometres per hour, while the Xerion with tires can travel as fast as 50 km-h.
The tracks will cost about $30,000 more compared to a tractor with duals, depending on the size of duals and brand of tires.
The Xerion TRAC TS are expected to be available in the Canadian market in 2021.
This article originally appeared at the Western Producer.