News from Versatile
Senior management at Versatile had a lot to talk about on the 26th of October. The Clarence Avenue assembly plant in Winnipeg celebrated completion of the 100,000th tractor built there since it began production in 1966. The milestone model, a 305 MFWD, along with the dealer that sold it and the customers who bought it were present for a special ceremony as the tractor rolled off one of the plant's two assembly lines.
With all the pomp and pageantry you'd expect on such an occasion, media, plant employees, customers and dealers were present as the keys were handed over to the new owners, who are longtime Versatile customers from the U.S. midwest.
The 305 was given a custom paint job along with an ample serving of chrome accessories, to make it a one of a kind.
But the company had other big news to share. It has updated the models in its articulated four-wheel drive lineup. For 2012, the big tractors will use either a QSX 11.9-litre or 15-litre Cummins Tier IV-compliant engine, depending on the model. The current 305 horsepower articulated tractor will be dropped, and the new line will include six models in the 350 to 550 horsepower range. Versatile's largest model, the 575, will stay in production; but it will continue to use the existing Tier III engine for the time being.
A Caterpillar powershift transmission modified specifically for Versatile's application will now be available in all the new large tractors. It offers eight, closely-spaced gears in the critical working range, which gives operators a lot of choices when selecting the right field speeds.
And if two major announcements wasn't enough, management also gave the media a glimpse of its prototype combine, which is currently undergoing field trials in North America. The fact a combine will soon wear the Versatile name is possibly the worst-kept secret in the farm equipment industry today. But for the first time we had a chance to take a few photos of it behind the Winnipeg factory, as long as we kept our distance. With 485 horsepower, the Torum 760 fits in at the high end of the Class IIX range.
Everyone in Versatile management was tight lipped about the details under the sheet metal, but they did say the rotary threshing mechanism uses a counter-rotating concave. When will the company officially launch it? “Sooner rather than later,” was the official response. I'll keep you posted.
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