by Adrian-Liviu Dorofte

Unimog and Zetros at Agritechnica 2011

Things are definitely looking up at Agritechnica, the world’s largest exhibition of agricultural machinery, taking place from 15 to 19 November 2011 in Hannover. The event’s host, the DLG (German Agricultural Society), is expecting over ten percent more exhibitors, including a number of companies offering their products and services here for the first time. The exhibition programme encompasses agricultural engineering, agricultural equipment and crop management from tilling to harvesting. Two years ago, 355,000 visitors came to Agritechnica, and the expected turnout for 2011 is just as promising. Some 2600 exhibitors will be showing their wares on over 300,000 square metres of floor space – an ideal platform form at the perfect time of year for farmers.

Agritechnica thus provides a meeting point for all professional groups involved in agriculture: in addition to farmers, managers and staff of machinery rings, and service providers and contractors in farming and landscape preservation. Agritechnica has also become a trade fair for municipal applications. The reason: many service providers and farmers put their operations to work in winter for snow-clearing operations in municipalities and landscape preservation. This means that the exhibition is also visited by representatives of municipalities and regional authorities, particularly from northern Germany.

Visitors can receive complete information from vehicle manufacturers in the industry in Hall 9. At an exhibition stand covering approximately 320 square metres (stand number C 27), Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks will present the following exhibits: one 210 kW (286 hp) agricultural Unimog U 500 from the professional implement carrier series, one 160 kW (218 hp) Unimog U 5000 from the highly mobile off-road Unimog series and one 240 kW (326 hp) Zetros 1833A/4x4 off-road “cab-behind-engine” truck as an agricultural logistics vehicle.

Agriculture as a transport sector

Modern agriculture has seen a steady rise in transport services: each year farmers in Germany transport 500 million tonnes of goods over increasingly long distances. Time is usually an important factor here, since seasonal work is more important here than in any other industry. Grain, beets, maize, potatoes and special crops such as strawberries are taken from field to market, or for further processing, within an extremely tight time frame. Loads of sugar beets travel 90 kilometres on average, and grain maize, cereal and potatoes travel 20 to 30 kilometres. Also gaining in importance is the transport of biomass in the form of maize and grass to centrally located silos, where the base materials ferment and are converted to “food” for biogas plants. The fermentation substrate finds its way back to the field as manure. Such transport is frequently carried out by specialized contractors, because unlike farmers, they have the required logistics. With the Unimog and the Zetros, Mercedes-Benz offers two vehicles that are tailor-made for agricultural logistics.

Unimog: outstanding economy

An independent test conducted by the Lower Saxony chamber of agriculture on the Unimog from the implement carrier series recently demonstrated its economic efficiency. In this test, a fully loaded Unimog U 500 with a three-axle trailer (gross combination weight: 39 tonnes) achieved optimal consumption figures, both on federal roads and the autobahn, to which the Unimog has unrestricted access, of course. With its optional tire pressure control system, the Unimog can easily negotiate fields – an important criterion for agricultural logistics, and one that earned the vehicle high marks on the test. Thanks to the Umimog’s classic excellent off-road capabilities, loading on the field is a breeze.

Due to the relatively low unladen weight of the Unimog U 500, it can accommodate a high load capacity before reaching the permissible total weight of 15 tonnes. With two two-axle trailers, it comes in at precisely the legal transport length of 18 meters. With a gross combination weight of 39 tonnes, the Unimog U 500 essentially achieves the load capacity of a semi-trailer combination with a payload of 24 tonnes.

The electropneumatic transmission ‒ also available as an automatic – is designed for road operation and ensures low fuel consumption in conjunction with the engines from the large truck series. That has also been proven by independent tests. The DLG measured very good consumption figures for a Unimog U 400 operating as a tractor unit in front of a 21-tonne tandem trailer, namely a peak figure of just under 19 litres per operating hour. Of course, drivers appreciate the Unimog’s truck-like comfort, the high visibility of the work area, the optimal implement controls and the easy shifting.

The Unimog’s legendary versatility helps farmers and contractors tide themselves over during the off-season by carrying out municipal services ‒ here the Universal Motorized Working Machine, or Unimog as it is better known, has always been right at home as an implement carrier. In the quieter winter months, there’s snow clearing and de-icing to be done, and roadside landscaping in mid-season. The Unimog features up to 4 attachment points, a quick-change system for implements, good manoeuvrability, excellent handling both off-road and in snow and ice thanks to permanent all-wheel drive and portal axles, not to mention its excellent capabilities on the road.

Focus on safety

Like all vehicles from Mercedes-Benz, the Unimog models are systematically designed for safety using a comprehensive concept. The driver is aided by an optimal 360-degree view from the open-view cab on the Unimog U 300/U 400/U 500, which offers an unobstructed view in all directions thanks to five mirrors in total, and an ideal seating position, giving a clear view of intersections as well as implements mounted in front. A brake system with four-channel ABS and an automatic load-dependent brake (ALB) for regulating the brake force between the front and rear axle ensure driving safety. And the comfort level is also just right: vibration limits in the Unimog are lower than required by law for mowing and snow clearing, an important aspect of driver comfort. Thanks to a short front end, most front implements can be carried without requiring additional measures, and the favourable axle distribution ensures accurate tracking even in poor road conditions. Comfort seats with three-point belts and integrated head restraints guarantee occupant protection on par with a truck in the ECE R29-certified cabin.

Zetros: smooth handling off-road

The Zetros, a cab-behind-engine vehicle with an imposing presence, also has a special off-road suspension (planetary axles, robust and reinforced lead frame) and delivers an exceedingly smooth ride on rough terrain due to its cab position between the axles and even axle load distribution. The drive train houses a fully automatic torque converter transmission and two-stage transfer case with low-range gearbox. The in-line six cylinder engine (OM 926 LA) produces 240 kW (326 hp).
The Zetros comes in a two-axle and three-axle configuration. It is used primarily for fire-fighting, in the energy sector, as an expedition vehicle and now also in agriculture. In independent studies by FH Soest, the Zetros demonstrated maximum cost efficiency in transport applications, low fuel consumption and minimal impact on the ground. Recent measurements also document the unparalleled comfort of the cab. Moreover, the Zetros meets truck standards in terms of safety, eco-friendliness and noise emissions. The generous cab seats up to three people, with an optional folding bed and a work space that protects people and equipment in all weather conditions. The Zetros is also designed for mounting and attachment of implements. Front implements are mounted on the stable frame head, with an axle load of 7.5 tonnes, with as much as 9 tonnes as an optional extra.

Exhibition vehicles:

Unimog U 500 agricultural logistics with hydraulic power take-off and grain tipper

This 210 kW (286 hp) Unimog U 500 from the implement carrier series represents a typical application in agricultural logistics. Unlike a mechanical power take-off, which is also available, the hydraulic power take-off driven via oil pressure is continuously variable and transmits an output of around 100 kW to the implements. The power take-off is manufactured by the AS-Baugeräte company, as is the grain tipper with its particularly high load volume. In conjunction with one three‑axle trailer or two two-axle trailers, a highly effective vehicle combination for agricultural transport can be built with this Unimog. A gross combination weight of 39 tonnes yields a payload of 24 tonnes.

Unimog U 5000 with Dammann body-mounted sprayer

The highly mobile off-road U 4000/U 5000 series is frequently used for herbicide applications. The Unimog is equipped with a Dammann body-mounted sprayer with a capacity of 4000 litres that can achieve a working width of up to 36 metres. The newly available 495/70R24 tire dimension improves the already high ground clearance of the U 5000, enabling it to pass over tall crops. The vehicle is equipped with a tire pressure control system that allows it to travel over arable land with minimal impact, even under difficult conditions. Thanks to its short wheelbase of 3.25 m, the vehicle combination is highly manoeuvrable.

Premiere: Zetros as an agricultural logistics vehicle

The Mercedes-Benz Zetros will celebrate its premiere at Agritechnica. Designed by the Bruhns company as a tractor unit for the agricultural transport sector, the two-axle 1833A/4x4 version is tailored precisely for towing special agricultural trailers: the cab-behind-engine vehicle combines the pulling power and off-road capability required in agriculture with the economic efficiency of a truck. With a kerb weight of 8.1 tonnes and a gross combination weight of 40 tonnes, the Zetros provides a large payload. The 240 kW (326 hp) engine and six-stage fully automatic torque converter transmission enable the vehicle to travel slowly on the field and fast on the road. The fully automatic torque converter makes work easier and increases economic efficiency. The two-stage transfer case provides the optimal gear ratio in every situation. The Zetros is also equipped with a tire pressure control system that can be controlled from the driver’s seat. Yet another advantage: because the speed is electronically limited to 60 km/h, the Zetros can be operated as an agricultural tractor with a Class T driving licence.

60 years of Mercedes-Benz Unimog – The success of an idea

The Unimog has celebrated two big anniversaries in recent months. Sixty years ago, on 3 June 1951 to be precise, the first Mercedes-Benz Unimog was produced in Gaggenau, and in December 2010, the 10,000th unit of the U 300/ U 400/U 500 series left the assembly line at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Wörth. With maximum off-road capability thanks to all-wheel drive and high-speed capability on the road, a one-of-a-kind vehicle concept for its time was created. Since then, Unimog vehicles have established a proven track record not only in snow-clearing operations and landscape preservation and other gardening and landscaping work, but also in fighting forest fires, transplanting trees, levelling out ditches and drilling holes in the ground, shunting on railways and emergency services on rough terrain.

In 60 years, over 380,000 units of the “Universal Motorised Working Machine” were built, at the Gaggenau plant until 2002 and since then in Wörth.

Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks

The Mercedes-Benz plant at Wörth is the largest truck assembly plant in the world and the second-largest employer in the region, with approximately 11,000 employees. The product line covers a gamut of gross weights ranging between 6.5 and 60 t with the Actros, Axor and Atego model series and the three Special Truck series, the Econic, Unimog and Zetros. Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks (MBS) is a separate business unit within Mercedes-Benz Trucks and has three functions. With the Econic, Unimog and Zetros model series, MBS is the professional small volume specialist, with sales of around 5000 units annually. It is also responsible for the Mercedes-Benz Trucks military business with the Actros, Axor, Atego, Econic, Unimog and Zetros model series. In addition, with the Molsheim, France, plant and its conversion partners,MBS is the professional conversion specialist for all model series, with approximately 10,000 trucks per year. MBS employs around 1500 staff at the Wörth and Molsheim sites.

Source: Daimler AG

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