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T6 tractors get CVT transmission option

New Holland is stretching its T6 tractor line for 2014 with the addition of two new, four-cylinder models, the T6.140 and T6.160 offering 110 and 131 engine horsepower. The Engine Power Management system controlling the Interim Tier 4 emissions-compliant diesels gives a 33 horsepower rise under load, providing maximum 143 and 163 horsepower ratings respectively. Owners will need to pour diesel exhaust fluid into the blue-capped tank on the tractor’s side, but the company claims efficient engine design coupled with an SCR emissions system will lower fuel consumption by up to 10 per cent.

The star feature on these two new models, though, is the company’s Auto Command, CVT transmission, which has been available on the larger T7 tractor line for a while. “We’ve had the Auto Command transmission for about four or five years now in our T7 tractors,” says Luke Zerby, a product training specialist. “It’s perfectly seamless with that variation in speed in 1/10 mile-per-hour increments.”

However, the design of the Auto Command transmission that gets dropped into the T6s is a little different than what bolts into the larger T7s. A company press release describes it as a “further refined version of the CVTs found in T7 Series tractors.” It gives T6 tractors a range of speeds from 0.02 m.p.h. to 31 m.p.h.

“How the Auto Command works, what makes it a little different and so successful, is it has three basic components in there, a synchronized gearbox, a compound planetary gear and a hydrostatic unit,” continues Zerby. “With the combination of those things working together, we have the best-in-class mechanical efficiency. We can really get all that horsepower delivered to the ground and we also have that infinite range capability with the hydrostatic unit working together along with that.”

The Auto Command uses Active Start-Stop technology. That means the transmission will hold the tractor in place when stationary and allow for easier starts on a grade when pulling something heavy.

The 31 m.p.h. version reaches maximum speed at only 1,750 r.p.m. to keep engine revs down while roading. “We also have 11.6 m.p.h. in reverse,” adds Zerby.

New Holland sees the CVT’s ability to fine tune ground speed without changing engine r.p.m. as a key element in putting up high-quality hay bales, making these T6 tractors an integral part of the company’s dairy and livestock equipment group.

“There’s two things needed to make high-quality hay and make consistant bales, day in and day out,” explains Zerby. “Consistant PTO speeds and a consistant amount of crop going into that baler. With the Auto Command, we have the ability to change our ground speed on the fly to make that consistant bale.”

“There’s nothing new about CVT transmissions, per se,” adds Abe Hughes II, New Holland’s vice-president of sales and marketing for North America. “It’s something that’s been around for a long time. But what we’re trying to do at New Holland is bring them down and make them available in nearly every one of our mainline products. I think it’s important to understand that it allows you to save fuel, because you’re not using too much (engine r.p.m.) where you don’t need it.”

To make the operator more comfortable, these tractors get the brand’s upgraded Horizon cab, which boasts interior sound levels as low as 69 dBA. Controls are grouped on the adjustable SideWinder II armrest, the same one larger tractors get. The SideWinder includes an IntelliView III or optional 10-inch IntelliView IV monitor.

Hydraulic capacity on the T6 line is 33 GPM, enough, the company claims, to take advantage of the CVT’s ability to work at low throttle settings and still provide adequate fluid flow to implements. †

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Scott Garvey

Scott Garvey is a freelance writer and video producer. He is also the former machinery editor at Grainews.

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