CWEIC Strategic Partner JCB Celebrates 75th Anniversary

December 22, 2020

A huge ‘75’ artwork visible from outer space was carved into a Staffordshire stubble field to mark JCB’s 75th birthday – and to help launch a new high-tech precision guidance solution for JCB’s unique Fastrac agricultural tractor.

The giant logo was cultivated in a field eight miles away from the company’s World Headquarters at Rocester and covered almost eight acres – equivalent to four football pitches. The birthday tribute was so distinctive is could be seen by imaging satellites orbiting high above the earth.

The special artwork was created ahead of JCB’s 75th anniversary on October 23rd by one of the company’s most famous products – the Fastrac tractor, which was equipped the new JCB Twin Steer guidance system.

A team of JCB employees was behind the larger-than-life creation which is close to the market town of Uttoxeter where the late Joseph Cyril Bamford founded JCB in a lock-up garage on the same day as his son Anthony, now Lord Bamford, was born.

The team comprised Fastrac Sales Engineer Peter Williams; Senior Fastrac Sales Engineer James Coxon; JCB Agriculture Product and Marketing Manager David Timmis and Fastrac Product Specialist Tom Mowforth.

David Timmis, Agriculture Marketing Manager said: “Seventy five years is a big milestone to reach and we wanted to mark it in a big way with a product which has played a significant role in JCB’s success. Using the JCB Fastrac to create a giant JCB logo in a field which could be seen from space seemed the perfect idea and the whole team was delighted with the result.”

John Smith, Managing Director, JCB Agriculture said: “The planning, organisation and execution of this novel commemoration of JCB’s 75th anniversary year was a perfect example of the innovative thinking and team work that goes into every JCB product.

“The Fastrac was the perfect tractor to undertake this task; with its all-round suspension, four-wheel steering, multiple implement mountings and high road speed, the JCB Fastrac remains unique, with performance capabilities and unequalled levels of ride comfort that make it an increasingly popular choice for farmers and agricultural contractors.”

The distinctive tribute was created by uploading a digital version of the artwork prepared by Trimble, JCB Agriculture’s precision farming partner, to the Fastrac tractor’s automatic steering system, which than calculated the guidance paths.

The operator only had to turn the tractor at the end of each run and lift and lower the cultivator mounted at the back – the JCB Twin Steer guidance system did the rest.

The JCB Fastrac 4000 Series tractor used to create the commemorative artwork was equipped with a new satellite guidance system controlling both steer axles for unprecedented levels of accuracy.

Hands-free steering is now commonly employed on tractors to accurately match every pass across the field to maximise implement working width when cultivating, applying inputs such as fertilisers and crop protection materials, and when sowing new crops.

This not only improves work rates, reduces costs, eliminates wastage and minimises soil compaction but also makes the operator’s job more comfortable and less tiring – something for which the Fastrac is already renowned.

Auto steering works by intercepting signals from a constellation of satellites via a receiver mounted on the tractor’s cab roof; the most high-definition system available for the Fastrac works to an accuracy of +/- 2cm.

JCB Twin Steer exploits the added manoeuvrability of the Fastrac’s multi-mode four-wheel steering system by adding a second receiver mounted directly above the rear axle and installing a second data processor so that the two axles can be controlled individually.

This functionality can be used to keep precision weeding cultivators and hoes on track and when forming and planting beds for crops such as potatoes, onions and carrots, and salad crops such as lettuce, as well as when laying a fleece wrapping to protect delicate crops.

John Smith explained: “This new technology is especially applicable when working across sloping ground because it can be used to counteract gravity and the tendency for the tractor and implement to slip off course.

“Steering the rear wheels independently from those at the front keeps the outfit properly aligned to maintain accuracy and avoid running over crop plants; our trials show that it achieves up to 90% greater accuracy than a conventional auto steering system in this situation.”

He adds that compared with hydraulic side-shift and implement guidance, JCB Twin Steer adds no weight or added mechanical complexity to the outfit.

JCB Twin Steer is available on the newly-introduced Stage V versions of the Fastrac 4000 Series tractors, which have uprated axles, increased payload capacity and new higher performance tyre options, by adding the optional Trimble TMX-2050 precision farming system and Twin Steer GPS Ready unlock key.

Additional function unlock codes, and an additional receiver and NAV3 controller, are then sourced from a Trimble reseller to complete the system.