Trailers, tankers and muck spreaders have been under the spotlight and several have been on the receiving-end of some fascinating development to improve safety, payload potential and productivity. Geoff Ashcroft reports.
As trailer developments go, few can currently match the innovation in the Goliath Hybrid trailer (pictured above) from Buckinghamshire engineer, Chris Ecob.
Having turned the market on its head with some fresh thinking, the single-spine chassis design with wishbone suspension is about to revolutionise the market with big strides made in safety and stability. And that is before the weight-saving potential of a Teflon coated, plastic-welded body is factored in.
Such innovation was enough to win the entrepreneur the top prize in the 2020 British Farming Awards, for machinery innovator of the year, and secure backing and new production facilites to bring the design to market.
Away from trailers, tankers and spreaders continue to evolve. Reprofiled body sides help to boost capacities without stretching the footprint; apps and technology improve operator convenience; and slurry spreading equipment continues to offer improved application accuracy.
Perhaps the most innovative trailer design in recent years is that created by Buckinghamshire engineer Chris Ecob. With investors and production facilities now in place as Goliath Mouldings, production is underway for a trailer that uses independent wishbone suspension with a central-spine chassis and a totally revised body construction.
An ultra-low chassis design contributes to high stability and offers a low centre of gravity without compromising on ground clearance. A gulley through the centre of the trailer body floor increases capacity, and the combination of steel body framework, panelled with Teflon-coated plastic sheets helps when tipping sticky materials.
Expect a lower unladen weight and more payload potential than traditional trailer designs – typically, 1.5 tonnes lighter with three tonnes more carrying capacity than other trailers in the 18-tonne class.
Ranging from 7,250 to 25,000 litre capacities, SlurryKat’s Premium Plus models are based on the original Super Tanker models, but come with a host of new features built into the standard specification.
These include a new pump with vane lubrication, 10 cubic metre filling speed and a larger overflow valve to accommodate quicker filling. In addition, there are extra filling points for the increased volume.
Running gear has also been changed, with 150mm square beam axles and 420 by 180mm load sensing brakes in each hub. A sprung drawbar is also included, as are redesigned anti-surge baffles within the tank.
At the back of the tanker, there is the option of three-, four-and five-point fixings for dribble bars, trailing shoes and implements. And if used as a ferry tank, the optional over-the-hedge boom is said to be 46 per cent lighter.
North Norfolk Vehicle Solutions has developed a no-frills chaser bin, for small-scale growers. Designed with low ground pressure and low weight in mind, the chaser offers a capacity of eight tonnes.
This single-axle design has been engineered with balance in mind, and can be used as a chaser bin or drill filler. Its 300mm unloading auger is driven by pto, with two spools required for the intake slide, and to fold the top of the auger to suit field and transport requirements.
A viewing panel lets the operator see the level of contents, and the chaser is supplied on 17.5 R25 industrial tyres, allowing customers to fit their own flotation wheels and tyres.
Abbey Machinery’s Smart tanker is one that features a Near Infra Red (NIR) sensor combined with application rate technology which includes flow meter, sensing gate valve with automatic, electric actuation and is also IsoBus compatible.
NIR actively measures the nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus and dry matter in the slurry, while IsoBus actively controls the tanker, allowing the distribution head to be sequenced electronically to operate within a group of functions, for example boom raise/lower, gate valve operation, and reversing of the distributor head.
The Smart tanker is fitted with a water-cooled vacuum pump, water jacket around the rotor assembly and a filtering system – all aimed at extended run times by managing temperatures.
Bunning has extended its range of Lowlander Mk4 Compact muck spreaders with two new models. The range now includes the 12 tonne capacity, 14.6 cubic metre 120C TVA and a 15 tonne, 16cu.m 150C TVA.
Physical body size increases are modest, says the company, thanks to the flared body design of the Compact range. The 120C is 0.5m longer than the smallest 105C, while the 150C is one metre longer – both are still 800mm shorter than the regular Lowlander Mk4 spreaders, helping manoeuvrability.
Braked axles and an upgraded floor-drive gearbox also feature. The 120C gets a 150mm square axle with 406 by 120mm brakes, while the 150C gets larger 406 by 140mm brakes on the same size axle. In addition, the 150C gets an upgraded floor drive gearbox.
Ktwo has improved its Bio and Evo muck spreaders, to provide increased body volumes. The design is one that uses a tapered body profile, which flares outwards from the floor.
The firm says reduced bridging and easier emptying is a result of this revised design. In addition, the spreading rotors now get hardened spinner paddles, with Evo models gaining Hardox rotor bases with sweeper bars.
When it comes to Rodeo trailer improvements, the firm has revised the design of its silage-sides, with an increase in thickness form 2mm to 3mm steel, improving rigidity. In addition, the trailer’s front window design has been revised to offer increased visibility, and a removable ladder is now part of the specification.
Tramspread has launched a new range of dribble bars. The imaginatively-named Suffolk range, built in Suffolk, span working widths from 6-24m.
Booms from 6-15m fold vertically, with an automatic transport lock, while the 24m unit folds horizontally towards the tractor cab.
Tramspread says the location of the swinging arm does not compromise the tractor’s pick-up hitch, which allows the tractor to tow a pump or reel with the dribble bar fitted.
A single macerator is used on 6 to 12 metre models, with a twin macerator option available on the 12m. Twin macerators are used on 15-24m models. The Suffolk range includes pipework designed for retro-fitting flow meters and slurry monitors that use the Tramspread Isobus Raven Box.
Hi-Spec Engineering has introduced its own design of trailing shoe. Available in working widths of 6.0, 7.5, 9.0 and 10.5m, it features a chassis mounted mast to ensure tanker and shoe are perfectly balanced, and that the shoe is properly supported on the tanker. In addition, the tanker’s axle has been moved rearwards to further improve balance.
The 7.5m, 9.0m and 10.5m trailing shoes feature double folding to reduce overall height for transport, keeping the attachment below the height of a standard Hi-Spec 2600 tanker.
A hydraulic self-levelling system is used on 9m and 10.5m versions, to ensure the shoe continues to follow ground contours without excess pressure being applied to the outer boots.
Hardened trailing shoes part the grass sideways and allow slurry to be placed on the ground through a rubber boot. The Hi-Spec trailing shoe can also be used as a dribble bar if needed without any contact with the ground.
Suffolk-based trailer maker Richard Western has introduced a three-model ejector trailer range. Called the Pusher Ram series, it offers 40, 50 and 60 cubic metre capacities, and uses tandem axle running gear on the smallest model, and a triple axle configuration for the larger two models.
Western’s version uses a monocoque body with folded side walls for strength. Where the 40-cube model uses tractor hydraulic power, the larger models offer an on-board hydraulic system.
With low maintenance in mind, the sliding headboard uses nylon wheels with Oilon guide blocks. Unloading time is 35 seconds.
Application specialist Vredo has rolled out further development of the big guns with its six-wheeled self-propelled slurry tanker, the VT7138-3.
Complete with a Scania Stage 5, 16-litre V8 engine, this self-propelled tanker packs 710hp and 3,250Nm of torque – enough some might say, to handle its wide-body 32,000 litre capacity tank.
Making the most of the tank volume is an optional 16,000 litres/min capacity centrifugal pump, offering a generous loading and unloading capacity. A two-speed CVT transmission, developed by Vredo, covers 0-20 and 0-40km/h, while an Eco mode allows the Scania engine’s performance to be tempered when necessary, in favour of fuel efficiency.
Latest slurry kit from Abbey Machinery includes the DM 10.7m Band Spreader. Being close-coupled to the tanker, without the need for special brackets, it is claimed to result in a lighter solution than traditional mounting methods – and independent of the back door.
DM 10.7m Band Spreader uses a Vogelsang distributor with 42 outlet pipes, placing slurry on the at 250mm row spacings.
The fully galvanized applicator includes 1.25m long, hydraulic folding boom tips with an integral break-back system, offering increased safety when working close to field boundaries or around in-field obstacles.
Bunning is offering a Bluetooth weigh scale app, for smart phones and tablets using Android and Mac OS. Based on developments from within the diet feeder market, the app allows the loader operator to conveniently see the amount of material being loaded through a smart phone or tablet. The Bunning app is available on any of the firm’s IsoBus-ready spreaders.
In addition, the company is offering two new IsoBus screen options - the XD seven inch (pictured) and XD+ 12.1 inch. Both can be used as stand-alone terminals for tractors without Isobus, or as an additional screen in a tractor with IsoBus. Benefits include variable rate application, improved mapping and ability to have separate screen controlling spreader.