The latest solution combines articulated steering with turning front wheels, making the tractor extremely agile. It can even be driven sideways to an extent, thus eliminating soil compaction on fields and allowing streets to be ploughed or swept safely along the sides. The articulated steering and rotating front axle are automated, so the amount of articulated steering reduces as the speed increases. At high speeds the tractor is steered normally through the front wheels. The driver can also adjust the ratio of articulated steering to front axle steering according to the situation.
Articulated steering is available as an option on N123, N143 and N163 Direct models. N163 Direct models feature a stepless transmission, powerful 160 l/min hydraulics, front axle stiffening, 171 horsepower with power boost and a top speed of 50 km/h. The tractors can be fitted with standard Valtra front loaders or heavy-duty solid beam loader loaders. With the articulated steering option, the N163 Direct is 60 centimetres longer and 300 kilos heavier than standard models. The weight distribution is 45 percent over the front axle and 55 percent over the rear axle.
The same options are available with the articulated steering than with other Valtra tractors, including a steel fuel tank for forestry tasks and an SVC cab with enhanced side visibility for municipal tasks.
The articulated steering option has been developed together with Valtra’s partners Afcon Oy and LH Lift Oy.
Previous studies have shown that articulated tractors can perform front loader tasks 35-40 percent faster than standard tractors. Speed is increased both by the enhanced agility and the fact that the front and rear of the tractor can be driven sideways without having to drive the tractor forwards and backwards.
The articulated N163 Direct will undergo testing in the winter and spring of 2014. Series production will be phased in at the Valtra Unlimited Studio at the end of 2014.