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  • Running circles around the competition

    Introduction

    Through our early vendor involvement (EVI) programme, Tata Steel worked with JCB Landpower and GKN Structures to help them create their most efficient tractor yet – the Fastrac 4000.

    Detailed Information

    Summary

    Summary

    • Smaller turning circle

      A reduced turning circle enables farmers to be more productive in the field

    • More comfortable

      The innovations also make the new Fastrac much more comfortable for the operator, with less vibration and better visibility.

    • 100% stiffer

      The new chassis is 100% stiffer, with no increase in weight.

    • 30% more load on axles

      A series of intelligent design changes by Tata Steel allowed for a 30% increase in loads on the tractor’s front and rear axles

    The collaborative approach and clean sheet chassis structure design meant we could examine every detail and implement and refine new ideas to achieve our objectives.

    Charles Nicklin, Engineering Manager, JCB Landpower

     

    A three-way partnership between Tata Steel, JCB Landpower and GKN (the manufacturer of the Fastrac tractor chassis) enabled JCB to develop an optimally-designed next-generation tractor.

     

    From initial concept through to production, Tata Steel, GKN and JCB worked closely as a project team to develop the design for a new solution. Members of the Project Engineering team at GKN worked hard to produce the optimum chassis to suit the requirements of JCB while incorporating the GKN philosophy of ‘Design for Manufacture’. This philosophy enabled them to give the most accurate chassis assembly while retaining the most efficient production process.

     

    The results -  Tata Steel recommended a series of intelligent design changes that allowed for a 30% increase in loads on the front and rear axles. The new chassis is 100% stiffer, with no increase in weight. The innovations make the new Fastrac much more comfortable for the operator, with less vibration and better visibility – but it remains competitive on price. There is a reduced turning circle too – an important part of JCB’s brief.

     


    GKN was able to input valuable process knowledge using design for manufacture (DFM) principles. We have manufactured chassis’, as well as other products, for JCB for a number of years, but a completely new concept inevitably has implications for the production process. We worked closely with JCB throughout the design work to ensure design and cost targets were met and that the required results were feasible through the design process and into production.

    Jamie Dobson, Project Engineer, GKN

    Challenge

    Challenge

    JCB Landpower is always seeking to improve its products so it can offer its customers more flexible and efficient vehicles. It wanted its next generation Fastrac tractor to have an increased load-carrying capacity and a smaller turning circle. Together with the need to move to a tier-4-compliant engine (to meet new EU and US emissions standards), these requirements called for a complete redesign of the existing chassis structure. JCB turned to Tata Steel and GKN to help achieve these objectives.

    Solution

    Solution

    A three-way partnership between Tata Steel, JCB Landpower and GKN (manufacturer of the Fastrac tractor chassis) enabled JCB to develop an optimally-designed next-generation tractor – the Fastrac 4000. The model was launched to the market in January 2015.

     

    Historically, vehicle design has often focused on developing the load structure, building up strength with structural material until it is fit for purpose. Using computer-aided tools, engineers from Tata Steel worked closely with JCB Landpower and GKN to meet the product specifications using the material in the most efficient manner, leading to a chassis structure that was as light as possible. This helped ensure the new Fastrac remained competitive on price, and boosted efficiency by not unduly increasing the mass or size of the components.

     

    Working as a team from the beginning and implementing GKN’s Design for Manufacture principles to ensure the product was what JCB required resulted in a more efficient chassis structure. As well as assessing the overall stiffness and strength of the chassis, this included making changes to the chassis rails to meet basic structural requirements.A smaller turning circle enables farmers to be more productive. The need to reduce the vehicle’s turning circle required a narrower chassis, while leaving room for the larger engine and gearbox. The team conducted some 250 analyses looking at various design iterations over a period of eight months. ‘Better for less’ was the mantra for creating a chassis that was 100 per cent stiffer, with no increase in weight.

     

    Through a series of intelligent design changes and developments, we were also able to increase loads by 30 per cent on the front and rear axles: from 2 tonnes to 2.5 tonnes, and finally up to 3 tonnes on the front.

     

    This smarter approach to vehicle design helped create a competitively-priced Fastrac tractor with a significant increase in front- and rear-load carrying capacity, with no increase in overall chassis structure weight.

    Gallery

    Gallery

    Summary

    • Smaller turning circle

      A reduced turning circle enables farmers to be more productive in the field

    • More comfortable

      The innovations also make the new Fastrac much more comfortable for the operator, with less vibration and better visibility.

    • 100% stiffer

      The new chassis is 100% stiffer, with no increase in weight.

    • 30% more load on axles

      A series of intelligent design changes by Tata Steel allowed for a 30% increase in loads on the tractor’s front and rear axles

    The collaborative approach and clean sheet chassis structure design meant we could examine every detail and implement and refine new ideas to achieve our objectives.

    Charles Nicklin, Engineering Manager, JCB Landpower

     

    A three-way partnership between Tata Steel, JCB Landpower and GKN (the manufacturer of the Fastrac tractor chassis) enabled JCB to develop an optimally-designed next-generation tractor.

     

    From initial concept through to production, Tata Steel, GKN and JCB worked closely as a project team to develop the design for a new solution. Members of the Project Engineering team at GKN worked hard to produce the optimum chassis to suit the requirements of JCB while incorporating the GKN philosophy of ‘Design for Manufacture’. This philosophy enabled them to give the most accurate chassis assembly while retaining the most efficient production process.

     

    The results -  Tata Steel recommended a series of intelligent design changes that allowed for a 30% increase in loads on the front and rear axles. The new chassis is 100% stiffer, with no increase in weight. The innovations make the new Fastrac much more comfortable for the operator, with less vibration and better visibility – but it remains competitive on price. There is a reduced turning circle too – an important part of JCB’s brief.

     


    GKN was able to input valuable process knowledge using design for manufacture (DFM) principles. We have manufactured chassis’, as well as other products, for JCB for a number of years, but a completely new concept inevitably has implications for the production process. We worked closely with JCB throughout the design work to ensure design and cost targets were met and that the required results were feasible through the design process and into production.

    Jamie Dobson, Project Engineer, GKN

    Challenge

    JCB Landpower is always seeking to improve its products so it can offer its customers more flexible and efficient vehicles. It wanted its next generation Fastrac tractor to have an increased load-carrying capacity and a smaller turning circle. Together with the need to move to a tier-4-compliant engine (to meet new EU and US emissions standards), these requirements called for a complete redesign of the existing chassis structure. JCB turned to Tata Steel and GKN to help achieve these objectives.

    Solution

    A three-way partnership between Tata Steel, JCB Landpower and GKN (manufacturer of the Fastrac tractor chassis) enabled JCB to develop an optimally-designed next-generation tractor – the Fastrac 4000. The model was launched to the market in January 2015.

     

    Historically, vehicle design has often focused on developing the load structure, building up strength with structural material until it is fit for purpose. Using computer-aided tools, engineers from Tata Steel worked closely with JCB Landpower and GKN to meet the product specifications using the material in the most efficient manner, leading to a chassis structure that was as light as possible. This helped ensure the new Fastrac remained competitive on price, and boosted efficiency by not unduly increasing the mass or size of the components.

     

    Working as a team from the beginning and implementing GKN’s Design for Manufacture principles to ensure the product was what JCB required resulted in a more efficient chassis structure. As well as assessing the overall stiffness and strength of the chassis, this included making changes to the chassis rails to meet basic structural requirements.A smaller turning circle enables farmers to be more productive. The need to reduce the vehicle’s turning circle required a narrower chassis, while leaving room for the larger engine and gearbox. The team conducted some 250 analyses looking at various design iterations over a period of eight months. ‘Better for less’ was the mantra for creating a chassis that was 100 per cent stiffer, with no increase in weight.

     

    Through a series of intelligent design changes and developments, we were also able to increase loads by 30 per cent on the front and rear axles: from 2 tonnes to 2.5 tonnes, and finally up to 3 tonnes on the front.

     

    This smarter approach to vehicle design helped create a competitively-priced Fastrac tractor with a significant increase in front- and rear-load carrying capacity, with no increase in overall chassis structure weight.

    Gallery