New Claas Torion wheel loaders built for farm work
Having brought you the news from Agritechnica about the new Claas Torion wheel loader range, Chris McCullough looks at the new ag-spec machines in depth
Farmers and contractors in the market for a new wheel loader built specifically for agricultural use now have a new name on the market to choose from.
The new Claas Torion series boosts seven models in three categories ranging from 63hp to 228hp, built by a merger between two strong German machinery manufacturers.
In a joint venture, Claas and Liebherr have been developing the new Torion range over the past two years and launched the range at the huge Agritechnica Show in Germany at the end of last year.
We were at Agritechnica when former Claas managing partner Helmut Claas and Liebherr International president Willi Liebherr pulled the covers off the new machines.
The goal for the two companies was to introduce a wheel loader specifically manufactured for the agricultural market sector, something both Claas and Liebherr say has never been achieved before.
The smallest Torion 535 and 639 models are powered by 63hp and 68hp Yanmar engines and can be used in a variety of agricultural jobs on both livestock and cropping farms.
Both four-cylinder engines meet the requirements of exhaust standard Stage IIIB (Tier 4i). Exhaust treatment is carried out via a diesel particulate filter (DPF) with integrated diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC). Claas says the use of SCR technology is not required.
The filter regeneration mode can be adjusted according to the conditions, with either manual or automatic regeneration, as preferred.
In the Torion models, fresh air is drawn in from the radiator cooling package and pre-filtered. The air filter is readily accessible on the left of the machine engine compartment.
A dust extractor valve efficiently removes dirt and dust particles from the filter, which protects it and makes servicing easier.
In these smaller Torion models, the generously sized radiator cooling package ensures there is plenty of cooling capacity in all climate conditions. The intelligently designed air supply route guarantees high cooling capacity right from the outset. The heat given off by the engine can leave the engine compartment without being drawn back into the system.
The tipping load of these models is 3.45 tonnes and 3.85 tonnes respectively, and clearance height is less than 2.5m.
The infinitely variable hydrostatic drive has two drive modes: F1 from 0-6km/h, and F2 from 0-20km/h. The driver can switch from one drive mode to the other at the touch of a button, depending on the application.
Pressing gently on the brake/inching pedal allows infinitely adjustable deceleration of the ground speed, with the engine speed remaining the same. Fully depressing the pedal automatically decreases the ground speed down to zero, and activates the service brake (hydraulically operated drum brake).
For specific agricultural jobs that require higher oil flow but slower speeds, such as bedding or sweeping livestock houses, the creep speed facility is ideal.
This means the machine is driven at a constant speed in a set inching position and the required flow of hydraulic oil can be controlled with the accelerator via the engine speed.
Claas says the cab and boom on both models are positioned for maximum visibility and the rounded rear window provides the operator with an optimum view to the rear when on the move.
Being smaller in stature and having a sharp 40-degree articulating angle allows these loaders to operate in more confined areas.
Moving up in size, the mid-range of Torions consists of three models ranging from 140hp to 167hp.
The Torion 1511 is the biggest in the mid-range at 167hp, the 1410 is rated at 155hp and the 1177 at 140hp. These three models are powered by DPS engines, which have demand-driven engine cooling and have already proven their worth in the Claas Arion 500 series tractors.
All these models have a three-range hydrostatic Varipower transmission.
The convenient hydrostatic Varipower transmission provides three drive modes, from 0-6km/h, 0-16km/h and 0-40km/h for optimal adjustment to the conditions.
Models in the mid-range Torion series are therefore ideal for farms and contractors requiring sufficient power for silo compaction or for handling grain, fertiliser and other bulk material.
The engine is positioned low and well towards the rear and acts as a counterweight, meaning that high tipping loads of 7.75 to 9.75 tonnes are possible. All models feature Smart Loading, including a programmable bucket return function and defined lifting and lowering limits.
All three models in the mid-range Torion series are equipped with a standard 7-inch touchscreen, which serves as a central information hub for operating the machine, and is extremely easy to use.
There are two different joysticks available for precise and sensitive control, including all boom functions. The direction of travel can also be changed easily via a toggle switch on the handle.
A multifunction lever, which is available as an option, has an additional four-way control lever that can be used to control a third and fourth hydraulic circuit, for filling and dumping a high dump bucket or opening and closing a silage grab.
The big end
The largest Torion 1812 and 1914 models have dynamic-cooling Liebherr engines that develop 195hp and 228hp.
These bigger machines, with tipping loads of 11.1 tonnes and 12.4 tonnes respectively, have been designed for contractors and large farming businesses that have the highest demands in terms of power and performance.
The Liebherr engines in these larger models meet Stage IV emissions standards with no additional diesel particulate filter, but it is available as an option.
Both large models are equipped as standard with the Dynamic Cooling system. An optional automatic reversing fan system for very dirty working conditions is also available.
Similar to the models in the mid-range series, these two largest Torion models have optimal weight distribution with the engine located well toward the rear.
This means that the engine can be accessed easily, making maintenance a breeze. The boom is available with either agricultural or Z-kinematics, the agricultural kinematics being particularly well suited for all agricultural applications.
Both machines can be equipped with a high-lift boom as an option, provided they are using agricultural kinematics. Measuring 3m, it is 40cm longer than the standard boom, and can achieve loading heights of up to 4.64m (at the pivot pin).
While the machines are on their way to Australia, their release date is unknown at this stage.
Both Claas and Liebherr have a strong history in engineering that has developed over decades from a dedicated family base.
That reliable family structure remains solid in both companies to this day, albeit a few generations down the line.
Claas was founded in 1913 by the Claas brothers August, Theo and Franz, originally producing straw binders but later developing a strong knotting system to tie bales.
August’s son Helmut, now 90, was the managing partner of the Claas Group for many years and was pleased to unveil the new Torion models at Agritechnica last year.
In 1958, Helmut entered his parents’ family firm in Harsewinkel and was appointed director of the engineering department four years later.
He was responsible for a number of innovations that put Claas firmly on the map, including the Dominator combine harvester series developed in 1970.
Following on from this the Lexion series was developed, also in Helmut’s era, and was considered as the most advanced and capable combine harvester worldwide.
In 2003, Claas took over the Renault Agriculture tractor division and has made many advancements with tractors since then.
Today, Claas very much remains a family business, with Helmut’s daughter Cathrina Claas-Mühlhäuser leading the corporate group as chair of the Supervisory Board.
Claas employs around 11,500 workers worldwide and reported a turnover of 3.8 billion euros (about A$5.8 billion) in the 2015 financial year.
Liebherr is also a family business that started off in Germany back in the late 1940s when Hans Liebherr recognised the need for tools and machinery for the construction industry.
Together with design engineers and tradesmen, he developed the TK10 in 1949, which was the company’s first mobile tower crane.
This set the Liebherr company off on its journey to develop various construction machines and a spin-off venture into refrigerators.
Today the Liebherr group has manufacturing bases in a number of countries around the world and remains family run.
At the end of 2016, the group employed 42,308 people and had a turnover of just over 9 billion euros (about A$13.7 billion), the third-highest turnover in the group's history.
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