Perhaps the clue was the name of the event – Intelligent Farming All Ways – for a global media event New Holland held July 28. The focus was on a new tractor, but the talk expanded beyond that to the wider use of the company's Precision Land Management approach to technology. But that may be most shown in the new T7 HD tractor launched during the event. The tractor will enter the U.S. market in the fourth quarter.
The T7 HD gets a new cab that has a range of changes. Oscar Baroncelli, New Holland Agriculture Tractors product management leader, started his conversation by pointing to a range of firsts the company can claim. "We were the first to adopt electronic instrumentation, we were the first with the SideWinder console, and the first to offer cab noise below 70 dBA," he points out.
To launch the updated T7 line – which includes 14 machines ranging from 140 to 300 hp – the focus turned to the cab. The challenge was to improve the cab and add more space customers wanted without changing the machine's footprint.
Tractor cab design and testing
Baroncelli explains that vehicle architects at the company's Basildon facility in the United Kingdom, started work on the cab. This is the facility where these T7 machines are built. From that team, engineers in Modena, Italy, put the design through design analysis and a range of simulations. He notes that the frame, sight lines and testing were important for the durability demanded on the farm.
That also meant building a test stand to put this high-tech cab through its paces and make sure it can stand up to the rigors of farming. "We put the cab through rigorous testing of all components and full functionality for the full life of the tractor," Baroncelli says. "That included the [rollover protective structure] too."
The company developed what Baroncelli calls the equivalent of a Formula 1 simulator for the tractor. The system was designed to replicate field and farm actions, acceleration, field conditions and vibration. The machines were put on the test rig and run 24 hours per day, seven days a week to capture 10,000 ours of actual tractor life in a condensed timeframe.
In addition they put actual machines in the field including prototypes, prebuild machines and early production units, gathering another 10,000 hours of operation.
New tractor cab details
So what did this process net? New Holland calls it the Horizon Ultra Cab, which Baroncelli has more than 1,000 new part numbers with just 2% of parts carried into the new operator station. "It seems similar to the T7 but it is totally new," he says. "This cab is more connected than ever and set a new record as the quietest cab in the industry at 66 dBA noise level."
Richard Hollins, high horsepower tractor product manager, shared that the machine maintains the T7 family feel but you can see the rear cab pillars are moved and the cab interior size is 7.5% larger. The wheel arches are also lowered that provides many benefits with visibility to the side improved. "The doors are 33% wider and there's a lower arch for easier entry," he adds.
The cab windshield is also angled upward for better visibility and the rear window provides the operator an improved view to the linkage. And 24 new LED work lights are designed to give users greater visibility during all hours of operation.
One feature that's becoming more common is the car-like approach to the interior. Hollins points to cleaner lines and finishes around the cab. In addition, there are a lot more storage areas and even room behind the seat. And there's a cooler below the training seat to hold beverage bottles.
One feature of the T7 is the new Ultra SideWinder console. That SideWinder was first introduced in the New Holland Genesis tractor more than 20 years ago, and has remained as part of the cab design ever since. The new Ultra SideWinder has the IntelliView 12-inch monitor integrated so the user always has information at their fingertips.
In 2020, New Holland introduced advanced controls on its tractor consoles, allowing enhanced customization. The T7 HD has that capability and allows the user to customize those controls to match the work at hand. Hollins pointed to a programmable button on the Command Grip control that could be used for everything from answering the phone, turning down LED lights – depending on how it's being set up.
The new tractor can even have a keyless entry option and a car like starter button.
Intelligent farming commitment
The T7 HD was the highlight of the virtual event, but New Holland also shared its strategy for supporting farmers and machines in the field. Sean Lennon, New Holland Agriculture Commercial vice president, explains that for the company precision farming is about doing more with less – "less waste, less water, less inputs and more profit," he says.
The focus is Ag 4.0, a concept that every operation on the farm is integrated and the data is captured. "This is the sum of precision and interconnected farming so farmers can plan all of their operations in advance," he says.
Moving forward New Holland continues to enhance its offering in this area, working to provide remote display access, and capture machine data and put it to work avoid, or manage, downtime.
Eduardo Nicz, who works with precision agriculture at New Holland, explains that PLM is the combination of hardware and software. He chose the use of spraying as one area where the tech works. "When working in the field with application control systems, you can spray with precision when needed, reducing the use of chemicals," he says. "You can analyze information from every...centimeter of the field."
He classifies the work of PLM and Intelligent Farming in three areas – field, fleet and farm.
For the field, Nicz says this is the traditional precision farming areas including that onboard technology and software in the machine. "It makes life easier while optimizing use," he says.
Fleet is the productivity of each machine including connectivity and monitoring machines to control the fleet in real time. This includes the value of telematics.
Farm is the practice of analyzing the data captured on the farm including a range of agronomic information.
PLM is working to be engaged in all three areas – field, fleet and farm, Nicz says.
One area of rising attention is how machine information can be used to better manage that fleet, including predict failures and reduce unscheduled downtime. Alessio Quatraro, connected services product marketing, New Holland, says that uptime is important. "New Holland can monitor the location, check parameter and push software updates remotely to the tractor or combine," he says.
But farming is unpredictable and New Holland is now gathering machine data, analyzing error codes and working with dealers to provide alerts to customers for potential future machine failures. The company uses what it calls a Control Room where the information can be gathered and analyzed. Dealers can be alerted to reach out to customers to provide those alerts.
"We're seeing critical issues in advance and we have visibility to error codes from machines," Quataro says. "We can provide the best procedure to fix the problem, or prevent a failure, to support the dealer."
That alert also shows what's breaking so the dealer can have the right parts on hand and provide timely service if needed.
The new T7 HD can make maximum use of these new tools. And the machine will offer a range of technology features. The new T7 HD will be on the lot at the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Illinois, Aug. 31, Sept 1 and 2.