Darren Bailey tested the new 3.5m Major Cyclone, which won a gold medal at the innovation arena at this year's Ploughing
Major Equipment Intl Ltd is a family business based in Co Mayo, with offices also in the UK and the Netherlands. Since its establishment, Major has used 40 years of manufacturing and engineering experience to develop innovative machinery for both the agricultural and fine turf markets. First released in 2012, the Cyclone rotary mower complements the manufacturers' range of toppers and flail mowers, but is designed specifically for use in set-aside, forestry margin management and sensitive environmental scrubland control. However, it is equally at home when topping grassland in an agricultural setting.
Horsepower requirement: According to Martin Walsh from Major, the Cyclone requires less horsepower than the equivalent flail mowers, therefore reducing fuel consumption and allowing farmers with smaller horsepower tractors the option of a machine to control their scrubland themselves.
"In heavy conditions, a 2.5-metre flail mower could require as much as 120hp to drive, whereas the equivalent cyclone only requires 50hp. Ground speed in gorse would typically be 1m/h to 2m/h with a flail mower, but thanks to the multi-rotor design the Cyclone can travel between 5m/h and 8m/h in the same conditions and give potential fuel savings of up to 25%."
Build quality: Looking at the Cyclone you can certainly appreciate the build quality that has gone into it. Being designed to work in the harshest of conditions, strength and quality are key to its success. Strenx 700 MC high-strength steel is used throughout the manufacture in order to reduce weight while maintaining strength. Underneath, the rotors are fitted with undersole discs made of Hardox 450 – a wear and abrasion- resistant steel – providing protection to the hardened spring steel blades, which are designed to swing back when they come in contact with a foreign object for added safety. Heavy duty gearboxes are used throughout, with driveline protection provided by a shear bolt system which gives way before any serious damage is done. Completing the package, the machine is galvanised to protect it from corrosion and increase its lifespan.
Set up: The model we tested was the newly released MJ30-350 with a cutting width of 3.5m, which is achieved by using a hydraulically folding wing on one side that is locked in transport or work position via a top link for added safety. Setting the machine is very simple, regardless of what size tractor is being used. Coupling the tractor and Cyclone together is the job of a three-point linkage frame, which has floating bottom pins that provide ground contouring during operation. Rear chain links are connected from the top link frame to the deck, to allow the Cyclone to contour much easier than that of a fixed-frame design. To help absorb some of the shocks when working on rough ground, rubber buffers are incorporated into the top link frame. Power is delivered through a PTO shaft running at 1000rpm, which is connected to a split-drive gearbox, which then delivers the power to an inter-gearbox drive system – this essentially means each rotor has its own individual gearbox. The cutting height can be adjusted by removing bolts in the side skids, repositioning the skids to the desired hole and bolting it all up again. At the rear, a heavy-duty roller supports the machine and helps produce a better finish. This roller is attached to the side skids, allowing the entire unit move together – but it can also be adjusted independently if required.
Chopping system: Underneath the machine, each rotor is fitted with four blades made from high-grade hardened spring steel. The design of the cutting system is based on the same principle as a household blender. The bottom two curved blades do the cutting and lift the material into the top two blades, which then mulch/chop the material. For added protection and safety, each rotor is fitted with a Hardox undersole disc which protects the rotor and blades from large stones and deep ruts.
Safety: When it comes to any machine, safety is always paramount, especially with a machine such as the Cyclone that is designed to tackle the heavy scrub that often contains hidden objects. Hinged steel deflectors and a thick rubber curtain prevent material from being deflected forwards during operation, while at the rear the roller and a thick rubber curtain provide this function. Safety in the drive system is taken care of by a simple shear bolt design.
Operation: Operating the Cyclone is quite straightforward. Fitting it to the tractor requires the attachment of the three-point linkage, PTO shaft and a hydraulic pipe (folding model). Upon arriving in the field, the first step is the removal of the locking pin and top link for the folding wing – which is then put back into place once folded down to stop it being accidentally folded up again when running. Next, the top link should be adjusting in order for the machine to float along the ground and the working height set, then it is just a case of engaging your PTO in the 1,000-speed box and lowering your lift. Forward speed is determined by both the material being cut and the ground conditions. We had more than enough horsepower up front courtesy of the new 160hp Mc- Cormick X7.650 Efficient. Having said that, you could tell that the Cyclone was very easy to drive even when chopping tough material as the engine was never under any load. During operation we managed to maintain an average forward speed of about 8km/h on level ground, which reduced as the ground conditions got worse.
The Cyclone handled everything we could throw at it and then some. The limiting factor was never the machine itself, but the operator not being able to drive faster on the rougher ground and the tractor itself not being able to physically drive over some of the larger thicker material. To solve this, the Cyclone can be specified in a front-mounted version for fitting to a front-linkage or a reverse drive tractor. Although we did find the shear bolts' limit a few times during the test, the undersole protection did its job and we were quite impressed with the finish it achieved working over various material. The Cyclone is available with cutting widths from 2 metres up to the 3.5-metre test model and has horsepower requirements starting from 30hp.
Thanks to Darren Bailey at the Farmers Journal. The full article can be found here.
3.5m Cyclone Test