Bundaberg manufacturer Agri-Con Equipment has launched the ACE transporter in a bid to take over from tractors in sugar cane haul-out.
Agri-Con owner Cameron Greaves said he had thought about ways equipment could be improved to increase speed, safety and comfort during his ten years as a haul-out driver for the family business.
Mr Greaves said hauling equipment was working harder than ever and this led to a rapid turnover of tractors in cane harvesting contract businesses.
“Contractors are looking for alternatives and the ACE Transporter really is the ultimate machine for hauling sugarcane,” he said.
Mr Greaves said the transporter can operate at speeds of up to 65km/hr and is powered by a 186 kilowatt Caterpillar C7 engine that has a power shift transmission that enables rapid acceleration.
A key feature of the articulated powerhead is increased manoeuvrability he said.
Really I have just built the machine that I wish I had for the ten years I worked as a haul-out driver.
“It is more like reversing a car than backing a trailer, so reverse filling can be utilised to save time in the field,” he said
Mr Greaves said the powerhead supplies the hydraulic tank, pump and valves for the trailer.
“The powerhead is supplied with the bolt pattern ready to hitch the trailer, then connect the trailer plug, four hydraulic hoses on the bulkhead and the electronic over air connection for the joystick,” he said.
The machines longevity and economics are a feature that Mr Greaves believes will be attractive to contractors.
“The modular design of the powerhead means that worn components can be swapped for new without requiring a full replacement.”
“The powerheads are also designed to be serviced by the contractor themselves,” he said.
The joystick operation of the trailer at the siding would be a feature appreciated by the driver said Mr Greaves.
“Instead of having to declutch, brake, build revs and then operate a series of levers to tip the trailer, the operator simply engages the joystick and the powerhead automatically declutches and applies the brake, then with one simple hand-movement the trailer starts to tip,” he said.
Mr Greaves expects tractors to be phased out of the contract haul-out business in favour of the ACE Transporter powerhead.
“Really I have just built the machine that I wish I had for the ten years I worked as a haul-out driver,” he said.
Outside of cane haulage Mr Greaves believes the powerhead also has applications to power spreader operations for lime and manures and haulage requirements in other industries.