GIANTS COME TO THE FIELD
Belarus was the first from CIS states to work out a superpowerful automatic tractor
Even against the background of a big assembling department of Minsk Tractor Plant (MTP) this vehicle looks as a giant: 3 meters high, 6 meters long… An eight-liter engine is able to contain over 300 horsepower under hood, to put into motion a 12-ton’s vehicle and any mounted aggregates.
“In 2006 we started to work at the most powerful tractor in CIS, serially produced,” Sergey Shmatko says, the Deputy Chief Designer on electronics and electrical equipment of MTP. “I recollect a business-trip in one of the districts of Brest region. I talked to a machine operator, and he said that there is a modern, remotely operated TV-set in each home, and even children use it. Why the plant’s tractors are still mechanically controlled? We returned. Thought it over. We started the development of electronics for a model of the national tractor with increased capacity.
Designers, electronics technicians, hydraulic technicians, linkers — each year more than 30 engineers of the MTP design-engineering department concentrated at the new car’s project. They made a prototype model in summer 2007. Several months were spent for adjustment and controlling systems’ testing, and in March 2008 two first tractors came off the assembly line of the plant. They underwent a full assembly production cicle. Tests. The first dispatch to the republic’s regions.
Today a model 3022.1 is the most modern, powerful and maximum automatic tractor in Belarus and the neighboring states. New elements allow automatic performance of almost half of all technological processes. Instead of difficult operations with mechanical levers there is easy control with the help of electronic joypads and buttons. “The rest is performed by the tractor,” Sergey Shmatko explains. “Plowing, fertilization, sowing, cultivation, mowing — administration of all difficult processes is in a program module in the driver’s cab. In the matter of fact, it consists of several onboard computers in one. With the help of two joypads it accepts commands to regulate agricultural devices (ploughs, seeders, croppers). I set a mode, made a circle, and stored, pushing the “repeat” button. The tractor will reproduce everything in detail.”
There is one more tine joypad intead of a former change-gear lever. Alas, I didn’t remember all work details of a dodgy “remote automatic machine.” However, I understood the main thing: it allows gaining speed automatically, it doesn’t jerk while switching the gears, and provides almost cruising travelling comfort. The tractor is practically crammed with all possible devices (there are 50 of them) and equipped with different technical novelties. A single switching unit, computerized diagnostics of the units’ defects, an electronic control system in front of it and a rear mounted device. Everybody, who saw this vehicle working, say that it is created for fields and doesn’t need outside help. A capacious 500-liter fuel tank and the speed of soil processing allow it replacing four serial tractors. Easily.
“60 such vehicles have already been assembled. The half of them was sold to the republican households and several Russian regions. By the end of the year 40 more tractors of this class will come off the assembly line,” Sergey Shmatko says. “A market price of “Belarus-3022.1” is almost 100 thousand US Dollars lower, than that of the American “John Deer” and German “Fendt.” This is one of the most competitive vehicles in its category in the world in terms of productivity, capacity and price.
Certainly, this new model is a remarkable step in the development of the national agricultural engineering. Everybody say this. However, will a machine operator be able to operate joypads and novelties by himself? Engineers reassured us: a training center has been working at the plant for the fourth time. After semimonthly courses all questions disappear.