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Rubber-Tracked Tractor Doubles As SP Grain Cart
Latest application for Caterpillar's rubber belted tracks is this new high speed "multi-purpose" tractor from Sweco Products, Inc., Sutter, Calif., that's designed to be used as either a tractor or a self-propelled grain cart.
The tractor can also be equipped with a fifth-wheel hitch to pull heavy equipment such as laser scrapers or large tillage implements. The Caterpillar rubber tracks are 11-ft. long and 30-in. wide and are the same ones sold on the Challenger tractor and on Class combines.
The new tractor's cab mounts on the front left side with a 360 hp diesel engine mounted beside it. A "lift-and-dump" grain hopper mounts on the frame behind. It raises hydraulically and dumps its 450-bu. load in under a minute. When grain hopper is re-moved tractor can be fitted with a bolt-on fifth wheel hitch, 3-pt. hitch, and drawbar.
"We've offered a self-propelled grain cart equipped with steel tracks that converts to a medium-duty tractor for years, but rubber tracks make transport easier on paved roads. They're also wider for better traction and less compaction. They make the tractor very efficient and maneuverable, especially in soft ground," says Robert Sankoff, engineer.
"We came up with the fifth wheel hitch in an effort to reduce damage to conventional drawbar hitches caused by heavy loads. The fifth wheel hitch puts the implement's weight at a point on the tractor where it can handle it better. The implement's weight is centered 2 ft. in front of the track's rear drive wheels. On a conventional tractor the implement's weight is centered behind the axle. That's not a problem when you're pulling light loads, but heavy loads can bend the hitch and cause the front end of the tractor to bounce up and down, even with front-end weights.
"We've used it with the drawbar hitch to pull a 24-ft. field disk in heavy clay and a 14-ft. stubble disk with 32-in. blades. We've used it with the fifth wheel hitch to pull a laser scraper with a 32,000-lb. load at 7 mph. We can build the tractor with high clearance for rice farming or with normal clearance for general farming."
The tractor has no mechanical drive link-ages. Instead two hydraulic pumps power a hydrostatic motor on each drive sprocket. "The hydraulic drive system provides power at all times, even while you're turning," notes Sankoff. "When you make a hard turn with the Challenger tractor and brake one track, you're removing power from the braked track. On our tractor hydraulic power continues to flow to both tracks so you're less likely to get stuck in muddy fields."
The tractor sells for approximately $150,000.
The company is also selling a new self-propelled mobile wood chipper equipped with Caterpillar rubber tracks. It's designed to work in orchards between rows of trees. The machine picks up brush, chips it, and feeds it into a bin. A 3-ft. wide conveyor at the rear of the machine unloads chips from the bin onto a stationary belt that conveys them into a self-propelled chip cart. The rig is powered by a 503 hp diesel engine and can chip a 12 in. dia. log.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Sweco Products Inc., 2455 Palm St., Box 259, Sutter, Calif. 95982 (ph 916 755-0521).

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1991 - Volume #15, Issue #3