In a move that should see the humble agricultural equipment of the future both cleaner and more efficient, Oerlikon Graziano has come up with an innovative a range of transmissions, including a mechanical continuously variable transmission (CVT) for small tractors. Released at Agritechnica in Germany last month, these new drive-trains are claimed to provide higher road speeds and be easier to operate so that the equipment can get to its work site much quicker without the need for a float or trailer.

In fast company

And the company is well used to getting places fast, supplying transmissions to not only Ferrari, but various Lamborghini, Audi, Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, Maserati models, even for the McLaren MP4-12C. Some older readers may even have recognized the name Oerlikon, a very popular weapon of war that proved so good that was used by both sides during WW2, but that is another story.

Of suspended axles and CVTs

Nowadays, the company's broad portfolio includes specialist drive systems such as the first of its type fully suspended axle and the first production CVT for compact tractors on display in Hanover last month.

"Oerlikon Graziano has developed a bespoke solution that allows machines to reach much higher road speeds in order to quickly cover the longer distances from farm to field that are common in Eastern Europe, Australia and the US, says product development manager Marcello Vinassa. "The increased practicality of the suspended axle allows the tractor to be used for both cultivation and transportation. It improves safety and comfort of users, enhancing ride quality and performance."

The CVT application for small tractors is claimed to improve fuel economy by 10% and is already being manufactured in India for the US market.

"Our CVT transmission provided a neat solution for compact tractors that removes some of the normal barriers to sale," said Vinassa. "Ease of use is an important factor in purchasing decisions in this market and the improved controllability that Graziano's transmission provides means that no specialized training is needed to operate it."

Also shown at Agritechnica was a range of carbon synchronizers, claimed to be capable of extending transmission life by up to ten times. Not surprisingly, the company expects the technology to become a standard feature in future applications.