A variety of transport tasks arise in agricultural business and for contracted hauliers. Thanks to their high payload, low fuel consumption and typical high driving speed, trucks are gaining ground in the transportation chain between farm, field and warehouse. With this in mind, the MAN TGS is kitted out as an agricultural truck and features all-wheel drive, fifth-wheel coupling, trailer coupling and support, load-sensing hydraulic system and wide, soil-friendly agricultural tires.
MAN trucks are suited for transporting harvested crops over great distances – from grain to agricultural dealers, silo corn to the biogas plant, beet to the sugar refinery or potatoes to the starch plant – right from the farm or from the edge of the field. It is in combined use in the field, on the road and in further processing applications where MAN agricultural trucks are really able to demonstrate their high level of efficiency. They offer distinct advantages in the transportation chain compared to other vehicle types, due to their high payload of 38 or 40 tonnes, lower fuel consumption and the higher speeds typical of trucks. What's more, established semitrailer combinations often enjoy greater acceptance among other road users and in the population in general than tractors with bulky, multi-axle trailers do.
Agriculture and the way it is perceived by the public has been going through a period of change for some time. The areas being cultivated are growing all the time due to economic reasons. So too are the volumes being transported. The areas farmed by agricultural businesses are no longer situated in the direct vicinity of farm buildings. The transport distances between locations are therefore on the increase and the areas which contracted hauliers have to cover is expanding. Contractors are paying more and more attention to the efficiency and total cost of ownership (TCO) of their fleet, while the public are concerned with the issue of environmental friendliness in the transportation chain. The increasing prevalence of biogas plants is ensuring increased transport volumes for the delivery of corn, grass and grain silage, as well as the movement of fermentation substrate across great distances. Transportation applications in particular are where trucks that have been adapted to meet the needs of the agricultural industry really show their strengths. This is something that has come to MAN's attention with the increase in demand for adapted vehicle concepts.
In most cases, these are semitrailer tractors in the MAN TGS series, pulling trailers specially designed for agricultural use. Options include semitrailer tractors and chassis with rear wheel drive and standard or medium-high design height. All-wheel drive MAN TGS in high design height with switchable or permanent front wheel drive are also available. With permanent all-wheel drive, the centre differential means it is possible to balance the front and rear axles, preventing damage to the floor when cornering. The solution positioned between road use and all-wheel drive is called MAN HydroDrive and offers hydrostatic front wheel drive for additional traction.
The MAN TGS as an agricultural truck
Showcased by MAN Truck & Bus at AGRITECHNICA 2017, the world's leading trade fair for agricultural machinery held in Hanover, the two-axle MAN TGS 18.500 4x4 BLS semitrailer tractor impresses with its wide range of equipment specifically for use in the agricultural industry. One of these is the option to have the vehicle approved for agricultural or forestry use. The advantage of this is the fact that its permitted width can be up to 3.0 m and that the vehicle is exempt from Sunday driving bans applicable in certain countries.
Permanent all-wheel drive is the ideal choice for agricultural use. Routes to many fields take vehicles across challenging terrain and roads that have not been asphalted and are usually covered in gravel. What's more, not all access routes to silage heaps, slurry tanks or silo systems on agricultural premises are surfaced. For maximum traction, the driver can apply the differential locks in the longitudinal and then in the transverse direction using just one rotary switch. The all-wheel drive really comes into its own when combined with the soil-friendly agricultural tires, as they allow the vehicle to leave the country lanes and move onto grasslands or fields, where the chopper can fill the attached trailer straight away.
The tires are able to meet the various requirements placed on them: the low level of pressure they exert on the ground means they look after country lanes and productive land, their V-profile takes care of traction, and they are still able to manage high transport speeds on surfaced roads. When a vehicle is approved for agricultural or forestry use, it can be up to 3 m wide – a factor which influences tyre choice. If the standard truck width of 2.50 m is to be maintained, 445/65 front tires and 600/50 individual rear tires are fitted to the axles. Yet if the maximum permitted width is to be utilised, the MAN TGS can run on 580/65 22.5 tires at the front and 750/45 26.5 tires at the rear. MAN takes care of the huge wheel arch required with adapted mudguard cutouts, splash guards and attachments. If transportation is to take place over an extended period and on surfaced roads, it is worth replacing the field tyres with road tires that have higher wear resistance and lower rolling resistance, making them more economical.
In the high design height, the driver can comfortably climb into the MAN cab using the four steps. The interior colors of “sand” or dark-grey “urban concrete” convey a user-friendly appearance. To provide a view of the load, windows have been incorporated into the rear wall. Alternatively – and often providing a more practical option – the images captured by two externally mounted cameras can be played on the 7-inch display of the new MAN infotainment system, enabling the driver to monitor the load and the area around the rear of the vehicle. On the outside, the M cab impresses with functional accessories: grilles on the rugged, three-piece steel bumper protect the headlights. A step on the left mudguard with a long handrail on the roof makes it easier to see into the tipper and cross over to the semitrailer. Additional headlights illuminate the area around the vehicle and rotating beacons warn other road users. The attachment of a snow-plough mounting plate with the associated elevated headlights and indicators enables contractors to make economical use of the vehicle in the winter season too. Behind the cab, the exhaust pipe is located on the right and tilted upwards to reduce the exhaust gases released in the vicinity of the vehicle and to prevent dust from being swirled up on the ground.
The 6-cylinder in-line engine from the MAN D26 Common Rail series has a capacity of 12.4 L and delivers 500 hp at 1,400 rpm in the Euro 6c emission standard. Its maximum torque is 2,500 Nm at 930-1,400 rpm. This engine series is also available with an output of 420 hp and 460 hp. The engine is coupled with the automated MAN TipMatic 12 gearbox. With its SmartShifting function, the driver is able to change gear particularly quickly depending on the driving situation in order to minimise the interruption to traction. The “OFFROAD” gearbox software provided for all-wheel vehicles and which is activated by turning the gear selector switch is specially adapted for journeys over difficult terrain. It prevents drivers from skipping gears as well as indicating modified shifting times and higher shifting speeds to prevent interruption to drive traction. As a result, a typical truck speed of max. 89 km/h is possible even with a full payload – provided this is permitted in accordance with traffic regulations. At low and medium speeds in particular – as are common with MAN agricultural trucks – the wear-free MAN PriTader really demonstrates its brake force. Integrated into the water circuit, the maximum brake output of this system is 620 kW.
In terms of industry-specific equipment, MAN can also install a trailer coupling support in addition to the fifth-wheel coupling at the end of the frame. This is comprised of a bar coupling with a 38-mm bolt and an 80-mm ball coupling. It also includes two 50-mm steering balls to pull agricultural trailers with forced steering. This mechanism allows the trailer to cleanly follow the path of the tractor vehicle when cornering. The installed load-sensing hydraulic system regulates the output and pressure as required. This means that the full hydraulic output is only provided when required and that fuel is saved, as the hydraulic pump does not have to permanently operate at full capacity to supply the hydraulic system with high pressure.
Alternatively to the two-axle semi-trailer tractor, the MAN TGS agricultural truck is available as a two-, three- or four-axle chassis with a drive ranging from 4x2 to 8x8 to allow various bodies such as grass silage trailers, push-off trailers, lime and fertiliser spreaders or slurry tanks to be mounted. Although this vehicle concept has the edge over the semitrailer combination in terms of its offroad properties, it is restricted with respect to its payload as well as being at a disadvantage in terms of its suitability for universal use and the extent to which it can be used economically all year round.
Modifications to MAN TGS semitrailer tractors and chassis for agricultural use are carried out by MAN-certified companies. Depending on the task at hand, these include the MAN Truck Modification Center (TMC) and MAN-qualified modification contractors.
The MAN TGS agricultural truck in use all year round
Another advantage of the MAN agricultural truck relates to the extent it can be used all year round. Once farming operations and harvest time have come to an end, you need only exchange the tyres and semitrailer to be able to use this semitrailer tractor in the transport sector – primarily in the construction industry – and as a winter service vehicle. The MAN TGS provides contractors with economical use of their vehicle and a source of income all year round.
MAN trucks for the agricultural industry
Trucks from the MAN product portfolio are suitable for a wide range of tasks in the agricultural industry. The TGL, TGM and TGS series transport mobile grinding and mixing plants to name just a couple of examples. When choosing the chassis, the size and the power take-off performance required for the grinding mill, mixing facility, screw conveyors and conveyor belts are the decisive factors. The semitrailer tractors for tank semitrailers with liquid waste such as slurry or fermentation substrate as well as for silo trucks containing fertilisers and feed generally come from the MAN TGS series. These vehicles ensure an efficient transport solution. Thanks to their high payload and fast driving speed, MAN TGM with all-wheel drive and soil-friendly agricultural tyres provide an alternative solution for spreading fertiliser on navigable and stable ground. And given that it is often necessary to bring workers along, MAN cabs can also be equipped with three seats.
MAN HydroDrive for traction if required in the agricultural industry
In 2005, MAN launched the HydroDrive drive system – a solution which at the time was the only one of its kind worldwide. The selectable hydrostatically powered wheel hub motors in the front axle – or the second axle if the vehicle has four axles – are the ideal configuration for vehicles that are primarily driven on surfaced roads and only occasionally need additional traction. This may be the case if the vehicle has to move from the road to the edge of the field. For example, it may be necessary to deliver seed or slurry, collect beet from the clamp or gather bales of grass or straw. Milk collectors often have to navigate gravel or snow-covered paths on farms to get to the milk tank.
The payload advantage compared to a conventional all-wheel drive is one of the recognised benefits of MAN HydroDrive. The weight advantage is 500-750 kg depending on the vehicle configuration. From a business perspective, the fuel saving represents a further benefit – when the system is switched off, the front wheels rotate freely, as with an on-road vehicle. MAN also offers this additional traction for vehicles with a standard height design. The low frame height makes it easier for drivers to enter and exit the cab. The system also sets itself apart in terms of how easy it is to mount bodies, as all MAN TipMatic and MAN HydroDrive components are located below the top edge of the frame.
The MAN TGS as a milk tanker
For milk tankers, the MAN TGS series offers a three-axle chassis that has been specially configured for the industry. The steered trailing axle reduces the turning circle, making it easier to manoeuvre in built-up areas and on farmsteads. Four corner air suspension is recommended to ensure high suspension comfort and the gentle transportation of fragile loads. To create space for the fittings cabinet mounted on the right of the frame, MAN has moved the units that were installed there for the Euro 6 standard. This means that the exhaust silencer, battery box and fuel tank are now on the left. As a result, body manufacturers have a space ranging from 2.5-3.1 m in length to work with for their installations. To ensure safety and improve the driving characteristics of tankers, MAN provides a high-load roll stabilisation package consisting of a stabiliser and X control arm.
The MAN TGS and TGX as an animal transporter
In order to transport animals promptly and with care, MAN offers chassis from the TGS and TGX series. Three-axle vehicles with a steered trailing axle bring together loading length and manoeuvrability. The air suspension at the axles ensures that delicate cargos are looked after. If animals are housed across multiple levels, this results in a high centre of gravity for the body. To reduce rolling movements in the body, MAN provides a high-load roll stabilisation package with stabilisers and an X control arm to guide the rear axle.
The MAN TGX series supplies economical and high-torque engines ranging from 360-640 hp. Particularly when transporting across challenging terrain or over great distances, engine outputs of over 500 hp are required to complete transport tasks promptly. The 6-cylinder in-line engines from the D38 Common Rail series deliver 540 hp, 580 hp and 640 hp. These are reserved exclusively for the MAN TGX series. In the somewhat narrower cabs of the MAN TGS series, the output rating starts at 320 hp and extends all the way up to 500 hp.
Loading points on agricultural sites or pastures cannot always be reached via asphalted roads. What's more, snow-covered roads in winter can make access difficult. In such cases, the MAN HydroDrive system installed in the TGS and TGX series is on hand to provide additional traction. The hydrostatic drive installed in the front axle can be combined with both the TipMatic automated gearbox as well as manually operated gearboxes.