By Alexander Brockmann
With the Cruiser XL HORSCH enters new terrain – for after all working in an ultra-shallow way with tine tools at a low working depth is a technical challenge. But for some years now the meaning of the fine cultivators with spring tines has been increasing. For their vibrating tines turn the machines into real allrounders – from stubble cultivation via the incorporation of catch crops to a fine seedbed preparation. All this, of course, is limited by the maximum working depth and the material clearance.
At the first stubble cultivation after the combining of wheat we got a more precise idea of the 12-meter machine, the flagship of the Cruiser XL line. Just a little additional information: The 12-meter-model of the Cruiser XL built by the family-run company HORSCH is the largest fine cultivator that is currently on the market. The product range of the competitors only includes smaller machines (but partly with more bars) or spring tine harrows.
The basic model
Before buying a cultivator, the prospective buyer will take a look at the basic data. They often are the reason why the customer goes for or against the respective brand. In short: The working width of our Cruiser XL is 12 m. A total of 81 tines are mounted at six bars. Their spacing on the bar is 90 cm respectively, thus the tine spacing amounts to 15 cm. The bar spacing is 70 cm, the frame height 606nbsp;cm.
With the test equipment the weight of the fine cultivator amounted to 13.98 t. The weight seems to be quite high, but after all it is to penetrate the soil properly even in dry conditions. According to HORSCH the horsepower requirement of the tractor for the Cruiser 12 XL is 500 hp or more – less will be difficult. The linkage options are accordingly: cat. IV, hitch or 80mm ball are possible alternatives. Despite the working width of 12 meter the fine cultivator meets the required transport dimension of 2.98 meter (width) and just under 4 meter (height). The large chassis with individual 445/65-22.5-tyres guarantees that the machine gets safely from the farm to the field or from one field to the next one. As it is common for tillage tools of this width, they are not only supported behind the rear packer roller but also at the front via support wheels to guarantee a uniform depth control and a smooth running. A double support wheel, size 400/60-15.5, is respectively mounted at the right and at the left side.
Frame: 100 x 100 mm frame size, 5-section folding (2 double acting control devices), frame height 60 cm, 6 bars, 70 cm bar spacing, 2 double support wheels, hydraulic depth adjustment with clips, max. working depth approx. 15 cm
Tines: 81 25x25 mm spring tines, 150 kg pretension, 150 mm tine spacing, 50, 80 or 100 mm chisel points, 200 mm duck foot points
Levelling & consolidation: 550 mm double RollPack packer, pendular suspension, 460 mm concave discs
Weight & dimensions: 13,980 kg, 3.98 m transport height, 3.00 m transport width, horsepower requirement as of 500 hp
Chassis at the very back
On the field the 5-section frame unfolds in two sequences. This can be controlled via two double-acting control devices almost from the tractor seat. Only retaining plates have to be removed from the frame parts which serve as a protection against accidental folding while driving – a safe and simple solution. At the hydraulic cylinders of the middle section of the packers two clips have to be removed in addition. Thus, the cultivator rests firmly on the chassis and meets the height requirement of 4.0 meter for road transport. The ground clearance amounts to 20 cm. Moreover, clips have to be removed at the drawbar cylinder. Their task is to align the Cruiser XL horizontally during transport. The hydraulic system is the next step. First the valve „Folding 90 degree“ has to be operated. The inside wings move to a horizontal position. In the meantime, the packer and the support wheels are extended automatically. The middle packer and the transport chassis carry out a rotary movement and swap places so that the chassis is completely lifted and the packer can take the position of the chassis – HORSCH calls this a „swivel chassis”. In working mode, the chassis does no longer have a function – not even on the headlands. I will come back to this later.
You then have to operate the second control device „Folding 180 degree“ and the two outside wings fold out. Before the end of this process you should drive forward slowly to avoid damages at the packer – the packer might get stuck in the soil. Finally, the control device for the outside wings is charged with pressure for a short time so that the pressure accumulator of the wings fills up and then simply is depressurised. The pressure accumulator on the one hand makes sure that the outer wing segments can be charged with pressure so that the tines of the two folding parts can better penetrate the soil. On the other hand, it helps to adapt to uneven terrain.
Working depth adjustment
The adjustment of the machine is essential to achieve the desired working quality. As is it standard for HORSCH cultivators with a large working width, the depth can be adjusted by adding spacer discs resp. clips of different sizes. Quite a lot of spacer plates are provided for this adjustment at the respective spots of the machine. When the machine is lifted, the clips can be added at the piston rods of the depth cylinders. The driver has to insert clips of the same colour combination in a total of nine spots: the two double support wheels and the drawbar cylinder at the front and the six cylinders for the packer function at the rear. If you want to change the depth, the clips have to be changed – it thus is not possible to carry out this adaption while driving to for example work a little bit deeper on the headlands.
Long spring tine
The unusual design of the new HORSCH spring tine catches the eye at first glance. The double coil of the tine is placed in front of the coil and at the same height in a parallel way. Following the coil, the shank runs over the bar. Thus, it was possible to increase the clearance in the working range by 10 cm – from 60 to 70 cm.
The next distinctive feature: The spring tine is pretensioned by means of a plastic wedge. It is directly screwed to the tine support. Due to the pretension the release force amounts to 150 kg. The trip height of the tine is about 20 cm. According to HORSCH the release force guarantees a constant working depth of up to 15 cm. And especially in very hard soil conditions the tine penetrates properly without rebounding to the rear and getting deformed because of the permanent load. If a tine still has to be replaced, there is an assembly device at the front of the frame that facilitates the release and the tensioning of the tine.
In the future, the HORSCH spring tines will also be available for the Cruisers with 3-point linkage.
The Cruiser XL with 10 and 12 meter working width is equipped with swivel chassis (see the description of the folding process described before) that we already know from the HORSCH Joker 10/12 RT and Terrano 10/12. It allows the Cruiser to turn respectively lift on the headlands via the whole 12-meter-wide packer and at the front via the large double support wheels – the chassis is only used for road transport and does not have any other function.
Due to this headland position of support wheels and packer roller the driver can drive quickly into the next track without having to worry that the machine might start rolling (other brands are often lifted via the chassis, therefore especially larger machines might begin to rock). The two support wheel elements are pivot-mounted so that they can also be steered on the headlands and do not scrape over the soil. In working position, too, they can be steered and adapt adequately to the contours. We did not notice any „dancing“ of the support wheels while cultivating – they ran very smoothly. The packer, of course, slightly scrapes over the soils on the headlands causing lateral forces in the packer and the roller support.
Double roller with angular adjustment
As we already mentioned above, on the headlands the whole machine rests on the following roller (+ front support wheels). Beside the actual task of consolidation and crumbling the roller of the Cruiser XL, thus, carries out two tasks. Only the U-profile ring roller double RollPack packer with a 550-mm diameter is available as a roller for the two large models of the fine cultivator. The characteristic features of the packer are the universal use, the high load-bearing capacity and the open profile that can get clogged with earth and thus consolidates the soil appropriately. The pendular suspension is a new feature of the double RollPack of the Cruiser 12 XL. It does not only allow the roller to adapt to the depth in a parallel way, but also to the present conditions of the soil. For the adjustment the user only has to set the stops for the front roller. It can for example run at the same depth respectively level as the rear roller or on lighter soils it can be lifted a little bit to avoid pushing and sinking. The same is true for the upper limitation: On hard soils it can simply move upwards if there are large clumps or stones.
A row of concave discs runs in front of the roller segment and behind the tine section of the Cruiser. They distribute the earth that is thrown up by the tines, to level the horizon in front of the packer. They respectively work towards the middle of the machine. The row is directly fixed at the packer arms – thus the working depth changes with the packer when the latter is adjusted. If corrections have to be carried out due to an increased operational speed, the depth and the quantity/type of organic material, the adjustment cranks are located at the suspension – two per roller segment. In addition, spade discs in the middle of the machine can be moved so that their position is diagonal to the direction of travel. They are to prevent the forming of ridges. All discs on the beam are suspended individually and mounted with rubber buffers. Thus, they are able to avoid obstacles by moving to the rear or to the side.
The working result of the Cruiser XL on stubbles was excellent. As it was extremely dry last summer and the soil in many parts of Germany was extremely hard at the time of stubble cultivation, we only could work with the 50-mm reinforced chisel points. In „normal“ years, you usually use the 200 mm duck foot coulters for the first cultivation step. Moreover, there are narrow points with a width of 80 and 100 mm – optionally available as a reinforced version.
The working depth of 6 to 7 cm was optimum for the tines and the chisel points – they maintained the depth and penetrated the soil excellently. We did not notice a deflection of the tines – due to the pretension that pays off in hard conditions. As the conditions were quite difficult the more than 600 hp of the tractor were appropriate. When powerful tractors beyond 500 hp and a charge weight that often amounts to 27 t are used, you should keep an eye on the total weight of the rig of 40 t.
Just under 60 greasing points are marked in the plan – mainly at the chassis and at the folding cylinders. Greasing bars would be a nice-to-have. The tines, the levelling discs and the roller bearings are however completely maintenance-free.
At the moment the HORSCH Cruiser 12 XL with 12 meter working width is the largest spring tine shallow cultivator. Of course, you need enough power for such a size – we recommend 500 or more hp. The tines of the Cruiser are unique, too. On the one hand, they are led over the beam – which is positive for the clearance height, on the other hand they are pretensioned – which guarantees that they remain smoothly and homogeneously in the soil.
Due to the swivel chassis, on the headlands the shallow cultivator is lifted via the double RollPack packer and at the front via the massive support wheels. Quick turning on the headlands without rolling thus is guaranteed. The working depth is adjusted by means of spacer discs at the hydraulic cylinder – in the future, there surely will be a simpler solution.
+ high area output
+ tines with pretension
+ high clearance
+ safe headland position
+ mechanical transport securing device
– only one roller option
– depth adjustment with clips
More to this topic
Source: www.traction-magazin.de (Edition November / December 2018)
YouTube: Video — Horsch Cruiser 12 XL in der traction Arbeitsprobe
Feedback from a practical expert
Excellent working quality, simple handling
In addition to a 1,600 kW biogas plant, the AGN Agrargesellschaft mBH from Neuenheilingen, Thurinigia, also has a sow house with 1,500 animals. On the 3,100 ha arable land of the farm they mainly cultivate winter wheat, rape, maize and malting barley. Since spring 2018 they have been using a HORSCH Cruiser 12 XL - not only for stubble cultivation after the harvest, but also for seedbed preparation. After six months the machine has already worked 4,000 ha.
„The Cruiser 12 XL needs the 600 hp of the Challenger tractor with power tracks. Otherwise the operational speed is too low – at least 12 to 14 km/h. Wheel tractors with less hp did not get by. Moreover, a tractor with power tracks is optimum for our hilly terrain. The working quality of the HORSCH Cruiser is excellent and we are more than satisfied with the area output. Our drivers like the simple handling of the machine“, summarises managing director Marko Hesse.
„After 4,000 hectare the reinforced narrow points are worn out and have to be replaced. But we will continue to rely on the narrow version and not use duck foot points. On the headls, the Challenger and the Cruiser 12 XL turn fast and track-to-track driving is possible. However, we will abandon this driving strategy and leave out at least one track. Thus, the lateral forces on the fine cultivator respectively the roller are lower – this protects the material. This is no problem for our large structures“, Mr Hesse adds.