According to Mark Sharitz, Director of Marketing for the AGCO Application Equipment Division, the goal behind the product development process for the company's new TerraGator 6303 and 8303 was "to introduce significant improvements that helped our customers get more production–and realize more efficiency–from every hour of operation.”
AGCO's CVT is given particular attention from the company in terms of that goal. It claims the transmission "is significantly more efficient than any mechanical transmission." The CVT has been used in more than 150,000 agricultural vehicle applications worldwide since it was first introduced in 1996.
Conventional shifting transmissions are limited by their number of gears. CVTs, which in theory have been around since about the time diesel engines replaced oxen as a power source in the field but have not until relatively recently reached their potential, fill in such gaps, providing an infinite range of speeds from creep to transport, with no shifting of gears, no jerks, and no delay in traction or power.
AGCO says its CVT allows the operator to set and consistently maintain any forward speed at any engine rpm for optimal control, work quality, and productivity.
CVTs also ensure that firm, continuous traction is applied to the ground, reducing wheel slip and lessening damage to the soil.
Flexibility is provided in driving modes with operation controlled by the foot pedal or joystick, or by the Power Shuttle lever, which is said to offer seamless forward and reverse shuttling, allowing the operator to change speed in either direction by simply pushing it forward or pulling it back.
In terms of electronics, AGCO describes its TerraGator Management System (TMS) as the “intelligent link between the engine and transmission that sustains peak performance." After the operator selects a specific ground speed, the TMS works in tandem with the engine and transmission to find and maintain the optimum setting of power and fuel efficiency for that speed, allowing operators to maintain a more consistent ground speed over an entire field and returning to operating speeds faster out of headland turns.
The AGCO CVT has fewer moving parts compared to other transmissions. For instance, there are only seven cut gears that are always under a constant load. Thus, they do not receive the shock associated with other mechanical transmissions. AGCO says the overall design of the CVT delivers a longer lifespan, lower maintenance costs, and higher resale value.
Pairing with the touted CVT is the EPA Tier 3-compliant AGCO Sisu Power 8.4-L diesel engine. The engine "generates smooth, consistent power, and its wet, replaceable cylinder liners dissipate engine heat more evenly for better performance and longer operating life." Electronic Engine Management 3 (EEM3), a proprietary system developed for Sisu engines, ensures accurate and precise timing of fuel flow to the injectors for peak fuel efficiency.
AGCO claims that the cab is "the industry’s only cab designed specifically for application equipment." It features a new layout designed to enhance operator comfort and increase productivity. The cab features a six-post design and more than 60 ft2 (5.6 m2) of glass for increased visibility.
An adjustable floating armrest holds all functions needed for field operations and is attached to the right side of the seat so it moves with it. The joystick can be used to manage ground speed and it serves as a convenient location for the master apply switch to control application functions. The semi-active deluxe seat is now standard on all TerraGators. The seat allows for real-time automatic dampening force to match field terrain and operator preference.
The new TerraGator models have a longer chassis that is said to improve operator comfort via its ride characteristics but can still easily turn inside any application spread width of 45 ft (13.7 m) or more.
“From the frame to the application systems, the TerraGator has historically been tougher than any other applicator on the market,” said Sharitz. “None of that has changed. Our goal was to put even more brains to the brawn of the TerraGator to deliver more productivity and efficiency that would continue to make it the top choice in flotation applicators.”