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Florida firm unveils rubber track tractors
First on the domestic market with rubber-track tractors designed to compete head-on with Caterpillar's rubber belted Challenger is J and M Equipment, of Lake Placid, Ha.
"We think we're on the right track," Jimmy Heard, president, told FARM SHOW. "Just like Caterpillar, we're offering a built- from-scratch tractor equipped with rubber belted tracks that steer with a conventional steering wheel. But that's where the similarity between the two systems ends. Our rubber belted tracks involve a totally different design concept," says Heard, whose firm has produced 15 pre-production model rubber belted utility tractors (100 hp) and plans to have production models (100 to 150 hp) on the market by next February.
J and M's belted tracks, ranging from 15 to 29 in. wide, are powered by a hydrostatic semi-friction drive. The combination rubber and steel tracks are made in multiple sections, allowing individual rubber cleats to be replaced if they break off. U-shaped steel cleats imbedded in rubber guide the tracks on both sides. "This outside edge guiding concept allows us to operate with less tension on the track, resulting in less wear and tear, and without any pins or bushings. Besides the big advantage in reduced compaction, we- feel it takes less horsepower to power our rubber tracks than it does to operate four wheels on a conventional 4-WD tractor," says Heard.
He notes that two companies are being set up. One will produce and market complete factory-built utility tractors (100 to 150 hp) equipped with rubber belted tracks; the other will produce and market power-driven rubber tracks, for mounting on existing tractors and combines, and non-driven rubber tracks for use on grain carts, manure tank wagons and other towed equipment.
The 15 pre-production models already in the field are 100 hp utility tractors with the engine mounted behind the driver. "We plan to offer models with front or rear-mounted engines, but don't plan to offer optional bi-directional front or rear operation, with a reversible seat and steering wheel, on the same tractor." Cost of the new belted tractors will be right at $85,000 for the 100 hp model, and $100,000 for the 150 hp model.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, J and M Equipment, Jimmy Heard, pres., 53 Richfield Drive, Lake Placid, Fla. 33852 (ph 813 465-7458).

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1990 - Volume #14, Issue #6