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Essential Design Considerations for Today's Tractor Cab and a Challenge for the Future

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Essential Design Considerations for Today's Tractor Cab and a Challenge for the Future. ASAE Distinguished Lecture No. 22, pp. 1-14. Agricultural Equipment Technology Conference, 9-10 February 1998, Louisville, Kentucky  913C1998.(doi:)
Authors:   D. J. Templeton and R. W. Strong
Keywords:   Understanding Today's Design, Cab Enclosure, Entry and Exit, Visibility Criteria, Operator Comfort and Maneuverability, Controls and Instrumentation, Interior Trim, Serviceability, Styling Considerations, Designing for the Future, Future Trends, Drivers of Change, A Call for Invention

This paper is intended to be thought provoking and instructional to the less experienced designer on today's cab design and, more importantly, to highlight "opportunities for invention" for experienced cab engineers.

No single area or discipline is covered in great depth since these topics are well covered in many other more specific technical publications. This paper provides an overview of various areas of cab design and features many of today's "tricks of the trade" as a background for inventing the future. The real purpose is to inspire creativity and resourcefulness in applying the latest technology to go beyond today's level for future designs.

Among other factors, a tractor cannot provide excessive quality, stability, visibility, fuel capacity, traction or remote power capability, and it can't produce too little compaction.

Likewise, a tractor cab cannot be too quiet, comfortable, smooth riding, reliable, easy and safe to operate, easy to mount/dismount, easy to maintain, or repair.

Every tractor design provides some balance of these factors and most influence or are influenced by the cab. Market success depends on buyer perception of this balance. Sometimes, a minor advantage relative to a single key factor determines brand preference. Useful invention occurs when the design advances one or more of these factors without negatively affecting the others.

Changing user practices are also very important. The advent of reduced tillage, precision farming and emerging agronomy practices greatly influence the factors important to tractor selection. The design team inventors must stay in touch with the market and emerging trends. Such trends affect:

Tire sizes, track settings and the use of duals

Tires vs. rubber tracks

Changes in mounted and trailing equipment

Equipment attaching needs

The importance of a front hitch and PTO

Changes in equipment monitoring needs

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