‘Intelligent’ rubber track doesn’t get too hot under the collar
Rubber tracks are becoming increasingly common on large agricultural machines across Europe – such as range-topping combines or high-horsepower tractors.
Alas, rubber tracks tend to wear unduly on the road, when scooting from one field to another. The rubber tends to heat up, eventually shortening the life-span of the tracks.
Tyre manufacturer Continental believes it has the answer, with its so-called Intelligent Rubber Track system. The company has equipped rubber tracks with sensor technology. This means, for example, that it’s possible to measure and monitor the tracks’ internal temperature.
In practice, the sensors are fitted within the carcass of the tracks. Temperature readings are relayed to the driver of the tractor or combine via an in-cab screen. An alert is triggered if the temperature exceeds a certain threshold.
Continental claims that it is the first system of its kind in the world; the innovation will feature at next month’s huge Agritechnica show – the biggest farm machinery exhibition in Europe if not the world.
Bolt-on track Soucy option
In other track-related news, Meath-based Spillane Sprayer Testing recently took on the agency for Soucy Track.
Soucy Track, part of the larger Soucy Group, is a Canadian company that specialises in ‘retro-fit’ track-drive systems for all sorts of vehicles, including agricultural tractors.
Spillane Sprayer Testing, which is based near Navan, is run by Gordon Spillane. He has extensive experience in the world of agricultural engineering, having previously worked designing tractors for JCB in the UK.
Broadly similar to Case IH’s Quadtrac concept, when fitted to a tractor the Soucy Track system simply replaces each wheel with a rubber-track drive unit. Because each of the four track units can pivot about the axe on which it is mounted, this allows the full length of the track unit’s footprint to stay in contact with the ground, when tackling undulating conditions – within reason, of course.
Soucy claims that there is more than three times as much rubber in contact with the ground than with a tyre, when its four-track system is fitted. Ground pressure reduces in proportion, according to the firm, with PSI figures dropping to “a third of what would be the case” with ‘conventional’ tyres.
Unlike a twin-track machine, such as an AGCO Challenger, Soucy’s four-track system doesn’t tear up the ground as much when turning at field headlands. It is more aggressive in these manoeuvres, however, than a ‘conventional’ wheeled tractor.