April 4, 2008
The Power Platform from Custom Chassis is the ultimate power tool. It’s a heavy-duty cargo truck, it’s a tractor, it’s a service vehicle — it’s everything in one package. The Power Platform can pull a tillage tool, shuttle pallets of seed to the field, cut hay with a mower-conditioner attached to either or both the front and rear 3-pt. hitch, or apply fertilizer with a spreader mounted on the bed. It is a modern-day farmer’s Swiss Army knife!
The Power Platform gets its power from a four-stroke, turbocharged, 260-hp Cummins diesel engine. With a top speed of 32 mph, and an optional gearing package to reach 45 mph, the Power Platform will get to the job site in a hurry. A massive swing-arm suspension system with electrohydraulic load carrying and bounce control help keep the ride smooth at those speeds.
The total vehicle and cargo weight can be easily measured via axle weights, which are displayed on the screen in the cab. Those load measurements also are used to make sure the machine is not overloaded. When the machine is overloaded, a warning light will come on and prevent the machine from being shifted higher than first gear. When the vehicle is severely overloaded, a warning light will illuminate and prevent any movement until the weight is reduced.
The spacious cab sits directly over the front axle, allowing the operator to have a clear view of the work at hand. The operator station is similar to that of a combine with controls on a console to the right. A joystick controls both forward and back motion and also allows the operator to control two remote hydraulic outlets.
A 10.4-in. color LCD screen provides a variety of information to the operator in four different screen arrangements. The operator can monitor everything from engine speed, to fuel remaining, to shifting information, to outside air temperature — right from the comfort of the operator seat. There is also a camera to help the driver hook up the drawbar or rear 3-pt. hitch to equipment.
A co-pilot will be taken care of in comfort, too, with a full-size seat. The cab even has a cooler compartment to keep food and beverages cold.
The Power Platform is available with both a PTO and a Cat. III-N 3-pt. hitch on the front and the rear. The area over the rear-mounted engine can be used to hold a dump box, sprayer or flatbed. Two pins and two bolts are all that is required to change attachments.
The Power Platform comes standard with a three-mode steering system of front steer, crab steer and coordinated steer to match operating conditions. In coordinated steering mode, with the front and rear axles steering in opposite directions, the machine will get down to a tight 16.5-ft. curb-to-curb turning radius.
The idea for the machine came when the two company principals saw a picture of my Ranch Hand Tractor & Utility Vehicle in the November 2004 issue of Farm Industry News. They called me and asked questions about the machine and my experience with it, and they eventually came to my farm in Iowa to see the machine firsthand.
Price of the Power Platform is $205,000 to $265,000, depending on options. For more information, call Custom Chassis Inc. in Wellington, OH, at 440/647-6401 or visit www.customchassisinc.com.
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