Back in February, Case IH and New Holland, sister lines in the CNH family, announced they would both use selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology to meet interim Tier 4 emissions standards for engines above 100 horsepower. So when Case IH invited members of the farm media to its Burr Ridge, Illinois, facility in June for a preview of their 2011 tractor line up, finding SCR engines under the hoods of the new Magnum and Steiger tractors was no real surprise. But everything else was.
The Steiger and Magnum tractor lines have been given a total overhaul and now feature an updated body style, a variety of design changes and even more horsepower. The five-model Steiger line grows to six with the addition of 550 and 600 horsepower models, up from the previous range-topping 535.
The Magnum’s top-of-the-line tractor now boasts 340 horsepower, up from 335. In all, this series will remain at nine models, but the horsepower ratings will change a little. It’s new body style will mirror the Steiger’s. In fact, the whole Case IH tractor family will eventually adopt the same look.
According to Tom Dean, marketing manager for high-horsepower tractors, the company decided to offer farmers entirely new tractors when it had to make changes in order to comply with the 2011 engine emissions deadline. “We’re offering them a completely new package,” he says.
But company management clearly believe adopting SCR engines is a key element in the tractors’ improved efficiency. Up until now, AGCO has been the lone voice publicly promoting the advantages of SCR technology in the ag sector. That has changed.
HOW SCR WORKS
SCR allows manufacturers to take a completely different approach to reducing exhaust emissions. During combustion inside an engine, two primary pollutants are produced: nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM), which is basically soot. Designing an engine to reduce one results in an increase in the other. Reducing combustion temperatures reduces NOx, but it increases PM. Increasing combustion temperatures virtually eliminates PM but raises NOx levels.
So far, most ag equipment manufacturers have been taking an “in-engine” approach to meeting the lower emissions standards, reducing NOx production in the cylinders. To do that, a portion of the exhaust is redirected back into the cylinders to lower the amount of available oxygen, reducing combustion temperatures and, therefore, NOx levels.
SCR, on the other hand, treats NOx in the exhaust flow, which makes it an “after-engine” treatment. Diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), a blend of urea and water, is injected into the exhaust system, which causes a chemical reaction converting NOx into harmless nitrogen and oxygen, two natural elements found in the atmosphere. It also allows for cooler exhaust temperatures.
“Everybody has to come up with an after-engine treatment downstream from the engine,” says John Bohnker, marketing manager, Magnum Series tractors. “We’ve decided the route we want to go is dial the engine in for efficiency and make it do the best it can, which by nature produces very little particulate matter.” Hence, the company’s decision to go with SCR.
REDUCED OPERATING COSTS
Case IH claims by not recirculating exhaust gas, and the contaminants it carries, back through the cylinders, SCR engines will have a longer service life. Oil change intervals are extended, too. “Right now, we have a 300-hour interval and we’re moving to a 600-hour interval (on the Magnum),” says Bohnker.
“We’re at 500 hours on the Steigers and we’re going to go longer,” adds Mitch Kaiser, marketing manager for Steiger tractors. “We’re still determining what that (longer interval) is right now.”
The biggest advantage may be the expected 10 per cent operating cost reduction over the previous generation of Magnum and Steiger tractors; and that, according to all the marketing reps, includes taking into account the added cost of DEF. “You’re going to save two gallons of diesel fuel for every gallon of DEF,” says Bohnker.
Tractors from 230 to 375 horsepower will use the 8.7 litre engine designed by Fiat Power Train Technologies. Fiat, of course, is Case IH’s parent company. Case IH introduced the Tier 3 version of the 8.7 in some Axial Flow combines in 2006. Tractors above 375 horsepower will use Fiat’s 12.9 litre power plant.
Another advantage of adopting SCR is the lower engine operating temperature, which reduces cooling capacity requirements. But the new tractor designs have adopted a more efficient cooling system arrangement, anyway. Rather than placing all cooling systems in front of the radiator and pulling air through all of them in turn, which reduces their efficiencies, the Magnum and Steigers use a new stacked design. The radiators and air conditioning cooling condenser are placed above each other.
The reduced cooling system demands possible with SCR technology allow engineers to pack higher horsepower engines into the limited space under the hood. The new radiator arrangement also reduces parasitic power loss from the fan, because it’s easier to pull air through the radiator with the stacked configuration. “We’re gaining another five to seven horsepower with this design,” adds Bohnker.
And to pull in cleaner air for the engine, the intake has been moved to the top of the cab at the right-side A pillar, which is where the cleanest air is usually found when working in dusty field conditions.
STYLE AND CHASSIS REDESIGN
When it comes to body style, the Magnums and Steigers have a redesigned hood shape, which also fully shields the engine compartments to keep them cleaner. “We have a much stronger slope on our hood,” says Bohnker. “We want to get that (good) visibility that customers want.” On the Steiger, the cab has also been raised four inches to help improve sightlines.
The entire Magnum chassis has been modified to accommodate the new engine. “Our surround frame is now two inches wider than it was in previous models,” says Bohnker. The bulkier frame also adds some additional ballast to help deliver horsepower to the ground. But even with a wider frame, the Magnum keeps the same turning radius.
To really help deliver power and traction, the Magnum is available with front axle suspension, minimizing wheel hop. It also allows for an optional 50 k. p. h. (30 m. p. h.) travel speed, available with the 19-speed full-powershift transmission.
To keep the Steigers’ tires clawing at the ground, their new chassis design allows for 38 degrees of oscillation at the articulation point. “(It’s) a Case IH Steiger exclusive,” notes Kaiser.
And to really smooth the ride for an operator, Steiger and Magnum tractors are now available with optional cab suspension. Inside those cabs, tractor controls in both lines are now located on the redesigned multi-control armrest. “For 175 horsepower up to 600 horsepower tractors we’re going to have [identical] controls,” says Kaiser.
When it comes to hydraulics, the remote valves are a completely new design with enhanced electronic sensors. Magnums also now offer both front and rear three-point hitches and PTOs for special applications.
Because four-wheel drive tractors end up sitting inside a shed for months at a time, the Steigers now include a main electrical shutoff switch to help prevent battery discharge during storage.
The new Magnums and Steigers made their official public debut at the National Farm Machinery show in Louisville, Kentucky, at the end of August. If you didn’t make it to that event for a first look at them, don’t worry. Case IH will embark on their Red Power Tour this fall to show them to as many farmers as possible. Canadian stops are planned for Red Deer and Regina. Check the company’s website for dates.
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