Versatile gives farmers their first official look at the brand’s new four-track tractor design at CFPS in Regina
Rather than just bolt aftermarket track systems to an existing wheeled tractor on the assembly line and market it as a “me too” product, Camoplast and Versatile’s own in-house engineering staff joined forces to create a ground-up tractor design equipped with four tracks. The result of that collaboration is the new, three-model line of Versatile DeltaTrack machines.
“We’ve worked with a company called Camoplast,” says Versatile’s Ryan Shust. “They’re experts in track systems.”
And even though Versatile originally made its mark with the articulated tractor concept, Shust says it wasn’t a given that the company’s first foray into the tracked segment would be with the four-track design. “We actually looked at two-track systems. We looked at four-track systems,” he says. “This DeltaTrack system is the culmination of all our research. We looked at the advantages and disadvantages and this is the route we took.”
The DeltaTrack system
Walking around the tracked 450DT tractor on display at Canada’s Farm Progress Show in Regina (DeltaTracks get a “DT” tacked onto their model number), Shust points out some of the redesigning engineers had to do to a standard high-horsepower tractor chassis in order to give the DeltaTrack models the same performance specifications as their wheeled brothers.
To give DeltaTracks the same turning radius, the shape of the tractors’ fuel tanks had to be altered to eliminate interference with the rear tracks. And because one turn of the axles creates less forward movement on the DeltaTrack models than on wheeled machines, the driveline gearing had to be changed to keep travel speeds consistant.
“They have the same road speeds as a tire model,” notes Shust. “That’s very important.”
Shust says the company also wanted the DeltaTrack models to conform to the brand’s easy service philosophy. “Versatile has always been know for serviceability,” he adds. “That’s our way of thinking: serviceability and ease of maintenance.”
As an example, if track replacement is required, the tractor’s own hydraulic system is used to remove and reset tension on the belts by simply tapping into the rear remotes. That allows for on-farm servicing. And the tractors’ final drive components can be serviced without removing the tracks.
The track systems use a positive drive system with 8.5-inch-wide lugs on the underside of the rubber belts, which means they are driven like a chain rather than relying solely on friction. And the large diameter drive sprocket engages several of those lugs at once to distribute the torque load. Along with that, the idler wheels also have a larger diameter to create less wrap stress on the belt, reducing parasitic power loss and extending belt life.
The midrollers and idlers in the track assembly pivot side-to-side as well as front-to-rear to deal with uneven terrain, minimizing shock and vibration transfer to the tractor chassis. The track assemblies have reinforced attachment points at the frame, which provides added strength to handle those shocks that do make it through to the chassis.
“Camoplast dealt with that specifically,” says Adam Reid, Versatile’s director of marketing. “Camoplast took all the knowledge they had in tracks and put it into this (the DeltaTrack). These are the most advanced track systems available right now.”
“We’ve had DeltaTracks in field trials for a couple of years now,” Shust adds. “We tested them in areas tough on tracks, (including) in fields that are very steep. Side loading is a good test on tracks. Every farmer who tested a DeltaTrack wanted to buy it after, without exception. That’s very telling.”
Available with 30- or 36-inch wide belts, DeltaTracks will begin full production this fall in 450, 500 and 550 horsepower models. Like the brand’s other high-horsepower models, DeltaTracks will get that power from an Interim Tier 4-compliant Cummins QSX, 15-litre diesel mated to a Caterpillar TA-22 16-speed power-shift transmission. †