Speedy Tractors

JCB – a British company that produces construction and agricultural equipment – has a line of tractors known as the Fastrac series. In stock form, a Fastrac tractor can reach speeds of up to 43 mph, but last summer, JCB said it wanted to push the idea of speedy tractors further. Enter the Fastrac One – the tractor that set a new record for tractor speed at 103 mph at Elvington Airfield in Britain.  JCB chairman, Lord Bamford, who was present when the Fastrac One hit 103 mph, said he wanted to “go even faster.” Thus, Fastrac Two was born.

In order to achieve “even faster” status, Bamford laid out objectives that included the creation of a tractor that was 10% lighter than Fastrac One and had greater aerodynamic efficiency. JCB’s development team – in conjunction with counterparts at Ricardo, GKN Wheels & Structures, and Williams Advanced Engineering – went to work figuring out how they could reduce the weight, increase power, and reduce drag resistance while staying faithful to the front-end styling of the Fastrac series. They explained that in undertaking these challenges, they relied on predictive analysis in order to define what design elements needed changing and how they would best be implemented.

As for power, the engineers and development team at JCB discovered that using one small turbo and one larger turbo created packaging problems that ultimately hindered the aerodynamic efficiency. JCB team said that using one large turbo circumvented the packaging problem so they turned to the Cummins Holset turbocharger and the Federal-Mogul COBRA electric supercharger.

As for aerodynamics, the team lowered the ride height, lowering and narrowing the cab. CFD simulations of the external skin of the tractor helped the team locate areas with high drag and – according to Williams Advanced Engineering – the overall result was a 25% reduction in drag compared to a stock tractor. Other areas that underwent changes included the chassis, front overhang, the underfloor, and the exterior mirrors.

The end result for the Fastrac Two is a 7.2L 6-cylinder turbo diesel capable of 1006 hp and 1748 lb-ft. The Fastrac Two reached 153.77 mph.

Taken from: www.sae.org

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