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SECTOR FOCUS: AGRICULTURAL


Multifunctional tractor fluids


Mick Kenyon, Operations and Technical Director, The WItham Group


Multifunctional tractor fluids are required to deliver excellent performance in parts as diverse as the transmission, clutch, axle, differential, hydraulics, wet brakes, final drives and in particular examples the engine through applications ranging from farming through ground care to forestry. Off-road Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) are addressing the same environmental conditions as other vehicle manufacturers, with the objective of reducing emissions, extending hardware life and improving fuel economy. Together, technology development and regulatory change continue to bring new challenges for the lubricant manufacturer.


Engines are now being adapted to meet the current EPA Tier 4 and EU Stage IV emission requirements through such as Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR), Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR), Particulate Filters and Common Rail, with EU Stage V already on the 2019 horizon. As in other markets, there has been an increase in the overall power output expectations by the user. As recently as the 1980s, typical output would have been in the region of 100 horsepower, whereas today, it would be closer to an average of 150hp (for example the Case 1H CVX range has offered various models including ones giving 137hp and 196hp). Greater than 200 BHP is not uncommon. Earlier this year, it was reported that at 605hp, New Holland had released the world’s most powerful CVT tractor.


Transmissions have been evolving for some time from the traditional manual systems to include Powershift, Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT, which in this case is not the same as passenger or commercial vehicle CVT) and Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT). These transmission types offer differing benefits, for example Powershift will give you high efficiency and at relatively low cost, while DCT will give you high efficiency with superior driver comfort. CVT is proving to be popular on larger tractors due to its exceptional driver experience, though the hydraulic component in this technology can impact upon its comparative efficiency. Electric functionality is also in its early stages, for example in driving certain of the tractor’s implements in place of the hydraulic system.


Correct lubricant application is essential to protect the equipment from a diverse list of possible issues or impart properties essential to its functioning correctly, including: Thermal stability, Oxidation, Corrosion, Wear, Pitting, Load carrying, Cooling, Contamination by dirt, Seals protection, Frictional control, Shear resistance.


The component balance required in the fluid will have been determined through extensive testing of their performance capabilities in the above, in meeting the ongoing specification requirements of a number of OEMs including John Deere, CNH and AGCO,


Continued on page 18 LUBE MAGAZINE NO.148 DECEMBER 2018 17


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