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Mercedes' new Unimog strikes the perfect balance between versatility and speed

2018-11-19 10:58
Mercedes-Benz Unimog

Image: Naresh Maharaj

The new Unimog U529 sets a new standard as a robust and versatile specialised truck, delivering on the Mercedes-Benz "trucks you can trust" brand promise.

The U529 is a new concept in the South African agricultural industry offering significant farming versatility with haul speeds of up to 80km/h.

An agricultural dream

It employs a six-cylinder 7.7-litre Mercedes-Benz OM 936 Euro 5 engine, that is equipped with an engine compression brake and offers maximum torque output from as low as 1150 rpm making this an exceptionally flexible engine.

READ: 70 years of Unimog at the SA Cars in the park

It is exceptionally fuel efficient when compared to a conventional agricultural tractor when employed in applications requiring high speed or high power to weight ratio.

The central tyre inflation system (CTIS) allows inflation and deflation of the vehicle tyres while the vehicle is in motion. The advantage of the CTIS is that it offers excellent traction, protects the soil, prevents compaction, and avoids wheel-spin leading to excessive tyre wear when operating in the field.

When operating in a high-speed transport mode the tyres are inflated on the move to highway pressures ensuring fuel economy and predictable vehicle handling.

Mercedes-Benz Unimog

                                                                        Image: Motorpress

It has an optimised weight distribution providing excellent traction when required to pull hard as well as safe and predictable handling when running at high speed on the road.

The key concept behind the U529 is its amazing versatility allowing it to be used in all four seasons, fulfilling agricultural roles including manure spreading, high-speed haulage, crop spraying, fertiliser spreading, mowing, raking, baling, firefighting and combine harvester chasing.

Here are a few features that make it a serious contender in the agricultural contracting and medium to large scale farming arena:

• 40t gross combined weight, offering a legal payload of up to 25 tons with an appropriate trailer configuration.
• Low ownership costs, and low fuel consumption when compared to standard agricultural tractors running in transport applications
• Long maintenance intervals (1200h or one year) between oil changes
• Robust and field proven Unimog drivetrain technology
• Central Tyre Inflation System (CTIS) to reduce compaction and increase traction in the field
• High ground clearance with low center of gravity thanks to the use of portal axles for row crop applications
• Safe high speed capability up to 80km/h due to truck steering geometry, two stage engine brake and truck type full air brake system
• High productivity due the year round usage potential and versatility
• Long travel coil spring suspension on both axles offering excellent driver comfort and the ability to traverse rough ground at high speed.

It is designed as an implement carrier, adapted for agriculture use, with the added speed of a truck, and incorporates Mercedes-Benz safety technology.

Mercedes-Benz Unimog

                                                                               Image: Motorpress

The Unimog is custom built to meet each end users requirements and can be specified in a large number of different configurations for each customers exact application.

The unit as demonstrated at Winterton is equipped as follows:

• Mercedes-Benz OM936  Engine 7.7 litre 6 cylinder inline engine producing 210kw and 1150Nm.
• Two stage engine compression (Jake) brake.
• Side mounted cooling system with reversible fan.
• Unimog UG 100 8 speed automated transmission including a working range for a total of 16 forward and 12 reverse speeds.
• An 85kw 0 to 50km/h infinitely variable hydrostatic drive for operations requiring constant engine rpm or precise speed control.

Implement connections

• A Cat 2 front three point linkage plus a Cat 3 rear three point linkage.
• A 540/1000rpm rear PTO offering up to 200kw of available power.
• The option of a front 540/100rpm PTO offering up to 160kw.
• Four electronically controlled hydraulic spools.
• A closed circuit variable displacement hydraulic pump offering up to 1 10l/min with a maximum pressure of 240 Bar.
• An optional open circuit gear pump arrangement is available which is capable of offering 2 x 1 25l/min @ 280 bar for use with implements such as hydraulic mowers.
• An automatic clevis and pin style tow-hitch mounted on a height adjustable ladder frame.
• A fixed 80mm trailer ball hitch rated for three tons imposed load.

- Tare weight approximately 8 000kg
- Maximum front axle mass 6 000kg
- Maximum rear axle mass 8 000kg
- Gross vehicle weight 13 500kg on 495/70R24 Agricultural lug tyres, can be increased to 15 500kg on 385/65R22.5 truck tyres.
- Gross combination mass 40 000kg.

Ergonomics / Operation

• Modern Drivers Cab with high comfort, safety and exceptional forward visibility.
• A Standard camera system is employed with up to four remote cameras available.
• All Equipment, hydraulics and drive functions are driveable via the multi-function joystick.

Drivers Cab

• Optimal view of front mounted implements
• Panorama windscreen
• Light package with work and roof spot lights
• Charcoal filtered cab air conditioning /heating system

Drivetrain concept

• Permanent all wheel drive with driver selectable centre and cross-axle diff locks
• Portal Axles on long travel coil springs attached to the chassis via parallel torque arm system.
• Brake system is a full air system actuating dry discs on all four wheels with a fail safe spring actuated parking brake on the rear axle.
• High speed trailers can be braked via a the standard full air trailer brake system.
• Auxiliary braking is via the powerful engine compression brake.

Central Tyre inflation system (CTIS)

• Allows inflation or deflation of tyres on the move.
• Tyre pressures are adjustable from as low as 1.2 bar up to a maximum of 4.5 bar depending on the type of tyres employed.
• Vehicle speed is limited according to tyre pressure and load to prevent tyre damage.

The UGE Unimog family which the U529 belongs to has been on sold in Western Europe for three years now and the product is selling especially well in what is known as the "Agri–Schlepper" or agricultural haulage role because of the high productivity and low fuel consumption offered by the Unimog product.

Mercedes-Benz Unimog

                                                                          Image: Naresh Maharaj

It has been extensively tested by the German DLG Test Center (German equivalent of Nebraska Tractor tests) and been proved to be more fuel efficient than standard agricultural tractors in roughly 70% of the roles where standard agricultural tractors are employed in Western Europe.

This raises the question of why doesn’t everyone use a Unimog? The answer is that mid-range (100-200kw) tractors are ever more employed in roles (such as road transport and PTO work) where brute pulling power is not necessarily required all the time, which has created the need for a machine like the Unimog.

Mercedes-Benz Unimog

                                                                          Image: Naresh Maharaj

The Unimog is not intended as a replacement for front-line tractors working in primary tillage applications like ripping and discing where large tyres (or tracks) and heavy iron is the only way to get the work done.

The product’s market niche is those applications where the power to weight ratio, speed and versatility are crucial.

The idea behind it is to buy the farmer or contractor time, by performing those tasks not requiring massive drawbar power faster than a conventional tractor and using less fuel while doing so.

Mercedes-Benz Unimog

                                                                         Image: Naresh Maharaj

This positions the product perfectly for applications such as spraying, spreading, mowing, silage cutting, baling and transport style work such as combine chasing and manure spreading.

Due to the excellent field of view offered by the UGE series Unimog, the driver can better assess and react to challenging road and field conditions.

The outstanding field of view with a short front overhang, significantly reducing the risk when approaching crossroads/concealed entry and exit points, allowing the driver to react to dangerous situations sooner.

Standard Warranty

The Unimog U529 comes standard with a 4 year/or 5000-hour warranty.

Sales and aftersales support for the Unimog UGE product is available from selected Mercedes-Benz truck outlets in Gauteng, KZN, Mpumalanga, Free State, Western and Eastern Cape.

Read more on:    mercedes-benz  |  south africa  |  new models

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