Machinery Chatter
Jim Patrico Progressive Farmer Senior Editor

Wednesday 10/17/12

High Tech Is Signature for New Fendts

Fendt sought to fill in a gap in its tractor line with what calls a "Universal Tractor;" so it set its engineers to work on the 500 Vario series. What they designed is a utility tractor line that features cutting-edge technology, has a horsepower range from 125 to 165 and is a versatile complement to Fendt's larger Vario tractors.

The controls on the 500 Vario include a joystick, touch-screen monitor and a rotary device for scrolling and choosing options. (DTN photo by Jim Patrico)

First the technology. As in its larger tractors, Fendt employs a single, easy-to-use terminal to control all electronic functions. It comes in two variations, a 7-inch or 10.4-inch Varioterminal that attaches to the multi-function armrest. An operator has three options: using the touch screen or punching keys on the joystick or swiveling a rotary control. The same terminal is part of the rest of the Vario line-up: 700, 800 and 900 models.

Optional cameras can be placed on the tractor and can display up to two images on the high-resolution Varioterminal. An automatic brightness control adjusts the screen image based on lighting conditions. The operator also can tilt the screen to customize the angle for his comfort.

The Varioterminals and their connections are ISOBUS-compatible so they can work with most implements in a plug-and-play environment. Operators can choose between two views on the larger Varioterminal. A half-screen view lets the operator see both the tractor settings and the implement functions at the same time. A full-screen view lets the operator toggle between views.

The 500 Vario comes with the VarioGuide automatic steering system, which features a headland management setting that -- once programmed -- kicks in automatically, even without the push of a button. VarioGuide in the RTK mode can use either a mobile network or radio tower signals.

Integrated into the Varioterminal is Fendt's VarioDoc system to record functions the tractor performs. Jobs are stored in the terminal until transferred via Bluetooth to a data storage device.

A final technology feature is the 500 Vario's ability to use Fendt's GuideConnect. With this system, one operator can control two tractors using satellite navigation and radio signals.

If you use the 500 Vario for front-loader operations, the Fendt Profi system is also loaded with technology. An integrated set of sensors can monitor and document the weight of individual bucket loads as well as the total weight moved during a project. A memo feature can record and save arm and attachment positions for later use; handy, for instance, if you routinely work in a building with low ceilings.

For power, the four models of 500 Vario series tractors rely on 4.04 liter, 4-cylinder Deutz engines with a common rail injection system. They are interim Tier 4 compatible. In keeping with their European roots, 500 Varios can fly. Their top road speed is 31 mph.

The 500 Varios soon will roll off the lines for European markets. But because Fendt is still modifying features for North American markets -- lighting packages, brakes, PTO positions, etc. -- no release date has been given for the U.S. and Canada. Likewise, prices are not yet available.

Posted at 10:45AM CDT 10/17/12 by Jim Patrico
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