Having got throught the ravages of PSA, kiwifruit production has bounced back delivering record harvests and record prices for orchards.
The new RX 218 measures 6.7m long, 2.56m wide, it has a 1.3m high body and tips the scales at around 7 tonnes empty.
Offering a capacity of 21.4 cubic metres filled level or 26 cubic metres heaped, the feeder is rated for a load capacity of 20 tonnes. In practical terms, the manufacturer suggests this means 10 round bales of 14 large squares.
Featuring a Tridem axle configuration with rear wheel steering, the layout incorporates heavy-duty leaf springs and tie rods. This keeps the vehicle on track while eliminating 'bounce', with stopping duties falling to hydraulic brakes on all six wheels.
The company also suggests that in other units of this type, fitted with only tandem axles, there is a likelihood of exceeding tractor drawbar ratings as the load moved forwards, with subsequent poor ride quality. By spreading the load over its three axles, there is a much larger footprint through the 500-45R22.5 tyres, leading to a more constant loading and a smoother ride.
Looking at the 'feeding' hardware, the main bod and unloading areas incorporate a heavy-duty porate a heavy-duty Puckboard floor of up to 15mm thickness. This is said to be naturally slippery, tough and durable. The twin-speed pusher plat, running on grease-less slides, brings the load forwards using hydraulic cylinders. The feeding element uses 12,000lb rate chains, running over hardened sprockets, with largers feeder bars for greater strength.
Ease of maintenance is taken care of by a central greasing system that looks after the axle assemblies and hard to reach bearings. The drivelines are fitted with bearings throughout, with all chains kept in check by adjustable tensioners.
Operators benefit from a host of features, including joystick controls, a large frontal viewing area to monitor the position of the load, bolt-on fenders, access platform and ladder and a two-speed parking jack.