JCB offers Fastrac tractors with all-new tech-focused controls

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JCB has launched its new Fastrac 4000 and 8000 Series tractors with an all-new electronics infrastructure that delivers higher levels of performance and convenience while giving operators unprecedented choice in the way they operate their machine.

The 175hp to 348hp (133kW to 260kW) Fastracs feature the new iCON armrest console and touch-screen display that provides outstanding flexibility in control allocation and operator information, and a new transmission control strategy to deliver ultimate operator comfort and powertrain efficiency. The tractors are also available with fully-integrated ISOBUS, precise JCB GPS guidance and implement control applications that minimise the need for additional displays.

The new Fastrac iCON operator environment has three key features:

  • iCONFIGURE – creating a bespoke control experience for every operator
  • iCONNECT – integrating advanced precision agriculture technology
  • iCONTROL – redefining operation through new driveline software

Above: The new Fastrac iCON offers a bespoke control system for the operator 

“We had three major objectives with this important project for the JCB Fastrac: to create a bespoke operator experience; integrate electronics technology such as ISOBUS and GPS guidance; and redefine the already high level of operator control and driving comfort that the Fastrac offers,” said JCB agriculture managing director John Smith. “At the same time, we wanted to maintain a familiarity in terms of the controls and information displays to ensure existing users can quickly adapt to the new system. Feedback from our extensive development and testing work with evaluation customers shows we have achieved all of these objectives, making the Fastrac an even more attractive proposition in terms of performance, productivity and operator appeal.”

The iCON armrest console

At the heart of the new Fastrac iCON models is a new electronics infrastructure that enables a host of modern technology features to be fully integrated as standard or optional equipment.

The most obvious manifestation of this development is the new iCON seat-mounted armrest console and a 12in colour touch-screen display that can be positioned ahead of the controls for easy viewing or moved to one side to maximise visibility through the Fastrac’s large windscreen.

The console houses a new main joystick; assignable RGB LED colour-coded levers giving proportional control of electrically-operated spool valves; pto and hitch controls; an auxiliary joystick; and hard keys plus an encoder dial for a tactile alternative to using the touch screen.

Hydraulic functions can be allocated freely to the five main joystick buttons and also to a four-way auxiliary joystick with its four buttons and rocker switch, with LED colour backlights identifying which spool valve is allocated to which control.

JCB’s new high definition 12in touch screen display presents key information on five screens using clear, crisp graphics, with the basic run screen layout designed to look familiar to current Fastrac users.

Swiping right brings up a more detailed running screen that includes settings for up to six front/rear electric spool valves; another two retain essential vehicle status information while providing a remote camera view and an ISOBUS 2 Universal Terminal screen; and a fifth screen is dedicated to JCB’s new satellite guidance and precision farming options.

JCB Headland Turn Assist now has up to 50 individual sequences with up to 50 steps each, making life easier for the operator across different field operations.

Ahead of the operator, a new 7inch fully digital dashboard display provides speed and engine rpm read-outs, along with essential vehicle status information.

Above: the Fastrac tractors offer Smart Transmission Control, a new speed-based system that allows operators to set the required forward speed 

Transmission control choice

Smart Transmission Control is a new speed-based system that allows operators to set the required forward speed and leave the tractor to do the hard work of balancing engine speed and gear ratio to achieve that speed under changing load.

For added convenience, the joystick and pedal driving modes no longer have to be pre-selected – they are automatically selected when either control is used; and a unique feature allows operators to choose one of two input configurations when controlling the transmission using the joystick.

Current Fastrac operators may wish to use the JCB Classic setting, changing ground speed by moving the joystick left and right, and select direction by moving it forwards and backwards.

Operators new to the Fastrac may prefer the new JCB Pro format that transposes those functions – so push forward and pull back to alter ground speed, move left to operate the forward/reverse shuttle and move right to engage the new roller thumb switch that provides very fine speed adjustments. 

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Saul Wordsworth is deputy editor of the iVT brand - which includes digital and print editions of a quarterly magazine and Off-Highway Annual, as well as ivtinternational.com. He is a keen cyclist and lives in north London.

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