Belarus takes on giants in high-power tractor sector

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Belarusian manufacturer Minsk Tractor Works (MTZ), which uses the Belarus brand in Western markets, announced it is taking on the US and European OEM giants in the 400hp-plus tractor sector, with the launch of its 4522 model at Agritechnica in Hannover this week (November 12-18).

MTZ/Belarus has in recent months shown a prototype of its 4522 in its home country, but the company this week marked the full European launch of the vehicle. 

Preference for rigid frame machines is particularly strong in Europe, where this tractor type is better suited to the region’s faster, longer-distance road travel requirements, narrower roads and mounted equipment. 

For the first time the firm has turned to Caterpillar to power its 4522, using Cat’s 12.5-liter, six-cylinder C13 engine. In the 4522 it produces 431hp (317kW) at a rated engine speed of 2,100rpm, and a maximum 466hp (343kW) at 1,900rpm. Maximum torque of 2,048Nm is achieved at 1,400rpm, and torque rise is 42%.

Although other manufacturers have chosen to go CVT-only at the top end of this power sector, Belarus stays with a conventional transmission, the 4522 putting its power to the ground via a ZF-sourced, 16 forward/8 reverse, semi-powershift offering four clutchless speeds in each of four ranges. A creep speed addition is available, and the machine is capable of 50km/h on the road.

Supplied by a 200 l/min load-sensing pump, the tractor’s hydraulic system gives the machine a 10,000kg lift capacity. Belarus continues its relationship with Bosch for supplying the electronic hitch controls for its largest tractors, with the 4522 also featuring the German firm’s system.

Unballasted, the tractor weighs 16 tonne. Tyre equipment comprises 710/75 R42 on the rear axle and 600/70 R34 at the front. 

“In addition to our home market and that of other countries in our region, we also want to expand our reach into the larger arable farm enterprises of Western Europe and other parts of the world,” said an MTZ/Belarus spokesman.

“But we want to do that without changing what people expect of a Belarus tractor – rugged build and a competitive price. Our new engine partner at this power level, Caterpillar, has helped us to do that, as has staying with our long-term component suppliers, such as Bosch.”

By Martin Rickatson

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Tom Stone is Editor of the iVT brand – which includes digital and print editions of a quarterly magazine, Off-Highway Annual, and the Advanced Lift-truck supplement, as well as the iVT website ivtinternational.com, which is updated daily with industry news, exclusive features and expert opinion. During his time at the helm of iVT Tom has met and interviewed some of the world's leading industrial vehicle OEM presidents, CEOs and MDs, and takes great pride in cementing iVT's place as the leading forum for debate within the industry, a reputation that his been built up over the brand's 25-year history.

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