REVIEW: McHale Fusion 3 Vario baler wrapper

By: Brent Lilley, Photography by: Brent Lilley

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326 McHale Fusion 3 Vario The Fusion 3 Vario is McHale’s first variable chamber, baler/wrapper combo 326 McHale Fusion 3 Vario
329 McHale Fusion 3 Vario with V660 Side by side, the Fusion 3 Vario and the well-proven V660 baler 329 McHale Fusion 3 Vario with V660
331 McHale Fusion 3 Vario spiral toothed rotor The large left spiral-toothed rotor clears the material of the pickup and feeds it up into the bale chamber. 331 McHale Fusion 3 Vario spiral toothed rotor
335 McHale Fusion 3 Vario wind guard A wind guard with a crop press roller extending right down over the pickup ensures all crops are picked up and fed smoothly into the machine. 335 McHale Fusion 3 Vario wind guard
332 McHale Fusion 3 Vario ladders Ladders on the left and right of the drawbar provide safe, easy access to the platform at the front. 332 McHale Fusion 3 Vario ladders
337 McHale Fusion 3 Vario wheel Large 650/50 R22.5 flotation tyres carry the increased weight of the baler without scuffing on the headlands. 337 McHale Fusion 3 Vario wheel
333 McHale Fusion 3 Vario net wrap system The unique net wrap system holds the outside of the roll for fast efficient netting of the bale and easy loading. 333 McHale Fusion 3 Vario net wrap system
324 McHale Fusion 3 Vario film wrapping The fast and efficient twin satellite vertical ring wrapper on the back applies six layers of wrap in around 30 seconds. 324 McHale Fusion 3 Vario film wrapping
342 McHale Fusion 3 Vario iTouch controller The iTouch controller in the cab uses a combination of push-buttons, and a touch screen is easy to use and gives complete control of the baler. 342 McHale Fusion 3 Vario iTouch controller

McHale has managed to create an effective baler/wrapper combo, without reinventing the wheel. Brent Lilley attended Power Farming Group’s demonstration day to investigate the Fusion 3 Vario.

McHale has managed to create an effective baler/wrapper combo, without reinventing the wheel. Brent Lilley attended Power Farming Group’s demonstration day to investigate the Fusion 3 Vario

The McHale Fusion combi units have arguably been at the forefront of the baler/wrapper combination market since the introduction of the first Fusion back in the early 2000s; and they have continued to lead the way in what has been an incredibly fast-growing market.

A variable chamber version of the Fusion was a logical addition to the line-up to cater for those who required the economics of a combi, along with the flexibility of the variable chamber round baler.

Now, while the Fusion 3 Vario is a new edition to the McHale line-up, the company didn’t try to reinvent the wheel, instead sticking with its V660 variable chamber baler and working it into a Fusion 3 frame and wrapper, with a few changes.

 

Contents

Baler

Pickup

Net wrapper

Bale Transfer

Film wrapper

Controls

Verdict

Specifications

 

McHale Fusion 3 Vario Baler

326_Mc Hale -Fusion -3-Vario-

The baler part of the unit has a modified rear door and is mounted in the frame at a 16-degree forward tilt to allow room for the bale transfer system, while still keeping the machine compact.

The V660 uses three wide, high-strength, endless belts driven off two drive rollers to form the bale, allowing bale sizes from 0.6m to 1.68m to be created.

The mechanical tailgate locks and constant pressure system maintain the desired density from the core outwards. Drive via the power take-off (PTO) shaft is split through the central gearbox — left to the belts and rollers of the bale chamber, right to the pickup and rotor. This ensures a smoother power load on the tractor.

A hefty spiral-toothed rotor at the heart of the baler drags the material off the back of the pickup, feeding it uniformly up into the bale chamber. A hydraulically operated bank of 15 knives can be engaged from the cab of the tractor and will give a theoretical chop length of 65mm.

Drop-floor unblocking from the cab is becoming common across the board, but for those who haven’t experienced it yet, the floor under the rotor can be lowered hydraulically from the cab to allow blockages to pass through and into the chamber.

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McHale Fusion 3 Vario Pickup

A 2m-wide pickup at the front of the machine will handle a fairly hefty swath and makes bale formation easier, while galvanised bands, tines, and tine bars are an excellent idea to prevent corrosion.

Five tine bars that run in a cam track have tines spaced at 70mm apart to maximise the amount of crop picked up in all conditions, and a crop press roller extends right down over the pickup tines to ensure crops are fed evenly into the machine — regardless of the size of the swath.

Cross augers on the side of the pickup feed material to the rotor in an even and uniform shape. Pneumatic wheels on the pickup, in line with the tines, provide excellent contour following, and the wheels fold back on themselves for transport, without needing to be removed.

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McHale Fusion 3 Vario Net Wrapper

333_Mc Hale -Fusion -3-Vario _net -wrap -system

The net wrap system on these McHale balers is probably second to none and always leaves me a little envious that I don’t own a McHale myself.

It uses an easy-to-load cradle set-up with two rollers at the bottom and one on top to hold the outside of the roll of net, unlike most other makes which use a spindle through the centre of the roll.

This system not only accommodates any size of roll up to 1300mm and a larger variety of nets, it also means damaged rolls will be less of an issue.

The tension at which the net is applied can easily be adjusted and as the rubber feed roller has 180 degrees of contact with the net, there is very little chance of slipping.

The amount of net applied is set from the monitor to the number of revolutions of the bale, so it’s automatically adjusted if the size of the bale is changed.

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McHale Fusion 3 Vario Bale Transfer

One can tell there has been much serious thought put into the Fusion to ensure its system is fast and reliable.

An automated process begins as soon as the bale has finished netting. The transfer cradle tips forward to collect the bale as the door opens, and its clever design, with enclosed steel sides, holds around half of the bale to ensure it will always transfer the bale, even on steep terrain.

In the second step of the process, the front roller of the wrapping table lowers and the rear roller raises up before the transfer cradle tips the bale onto the wrapper, so the bale isn’t lost straight off the back.

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McHale Fusion 3 Vario Film Wrapper

324_Mc Hale -Fusion -3-Vario -film -wrapping

A vertical wrapping ring uses two satellites with 750mm rolls to apply film to the bales at high speed — around 30 seconds to apply six layers of plastic, making sure the wrapper is always ready in time for the next bale.

The wrapping ring is largely enclosed behind the panels of the machine. This is great for safety, appearance, and the effectiveness of the operation, regardless of conditions.

When the film runs out, break sensors on the satellites will alert the driver. However, the bale will keep wrapping at half speed with the other satellite until it runs out too, meaning the driver can change both rolls at the same time.

Film is loaded onto the satellites from the left-hand side of the machine, with the rear panel open. A push of the convenient index button on the wrapper moves the satellite into position for easy loading, and another push loads the second satellite.

There is storage behind the panels, out of harm’s way for 10 rolls of film, along with two on the satellites to keep the machine operating for longer.

The finished bale can be set to tip automatically when the next bale is ready to be wrapped, although most will prefer to manually tip the bale.

The rear roller lowers itself nearly to the ground to gently place the bale down, rather than dropping it from a height. This feature was not fitted to this machine, but an end tipper is available.

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McHale Fusion 3 Vario Controls

342_Mc Hale -Fusion -3-Vario _i Touch -controller

Up in the cab of the tractor is McHale’s iTouch controller, featuring a 7-inch (17.8cm) colour touch screen, which is is bright and easy to see.

I’m still not totally convinced of the practicality of touch screens in tractors, so it was great to see a row of push-buttons down each side of the screen that could be used instead.

A standout is the in-built camera system, featuring a camera at the rear of the machine so the operator can keep an eye on the wrapper and the bale transfer system.

It can be set to be automatically displayed on the screen at certain points during the baling process, or can be manually accessed at the touch of a button.

An impressive hydraulic system is largely behind running most of the features on the baler using electro-hydraulic valves.

A good thing about this is, although the baler is ideally operated through a power beyond coupling, it is able to be operated through regular hydraulic valves on those tractors without power beyond.

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The Verdict

Overall, the Fusion 3 Vario is a standout machine. McHale has successfully managed to combine two of its proven and reliable machines, the V660 baler and the Fusion ring wrapper.

It’s clear a lot of thought and consideration has gone into this combination to ensure the same bulletproof reliability and build quality found in the preceding Fusion balers is present in this one.

The addition of a variable chamber baler to the popular Fusion line-up will give owners requiring the convenience of a variable chamber baler for baling in different situations, access to the economic benefits of a baler/wrapper combination machine.

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McHale Fusion 3 Vario Specifications:

Width: 2.94m

Height: 3.3m

Length: 6.3m

Weight (empty): 6,500kg

Bale size (max): 1.68m

Bale size (min): 0.6m

Pickup width: 2,000mm

Number of tine bars: 5

Tine spacing: 70mm

Bale formation: Three endless belts

Number of knives: 15

Chop length: 65mm

Wrapping: Twin satellite vertical ring

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For the full test report, grab a copy of NewFarmMachinery issue 12, on-sale August 11. Subscribe to the magazine to never miss an issue.

 

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