A revamped cooling system can lead to better engine performance

November 8, 2019

This week, nearly half a million people from 130 different countries have descended upon Hanover, Germany for Agritechnica 2019. They’ll discuss big ideas like sustainability, globalization and technology. They’ll show off big equipment – tractors, plows, handlers and more.

But what’s easily overlooked is the seemingly smallest tweaks in diesel power generation can make a world of difference – for example, an overhauled engine cooling system.

Today’s most effective airflow solutions include a viscous-driven, fully-variable-speed fan drive that turns the engine fan only as fast as is necessary to maintain optimal cooling. How? By featuring an electronic control that communicates with a tractor’s ECU to determine the necessary engine temperature, then releasing a corresponding amount of fluid into the drive’s inner workings.

The more fluid released, the faster the fan spins. But once the engine is cool, the fan can automatically slow down.

Seems like a small deal, right? Hardly. Optimized cooling reduces parasitic draw on the engine, making for a cleaner environment. It decreases the amount of particulate matter released into the air, lowering harmful emissions. And it also allows operators to burn through fuel slower, as the energy that might be used to turn the fan is instead used for an application’s original intention – to move forward and get the job done.

Horton will unveil its new LCX series of viscous fan drives at Agritechnica. In addition to providing the most precise cooling in the company’s product portfolio, the LCX170 and 230 feature Cold-Start Disengagement, a proprietary feature that makes for faster and quieter engine starts, even in the harshest environmental conditions.

The fan drive, though, is just part of the equation.

The length, number and curvature of an engine fan’s blades significantly impact the amount of air that flows through the radiator. Fan materials also vary from metal all the way to high-tech composites; these depend on the specific tractor’s operating environment and the risk of damage due to debris and other external factors.

Fan suppliers have made it a point to give their customers multiple options when it comes to determining necessary airflow. Typically, an application engineer will work with an equipment manufacturer to determine their needs, then offer a solution that proves to provide the proper amount of cooling.

One example is Horton’s HM1400. This modular nylon fan can feature anywhere between five and 15 blades and is customizable for just about any off-highway application.

Together, the fan and fan drive can help a high-horsepower engine operate at an optimal temperature. For customers, that means longer engine life, better performance and – ultimately – higher outputs as they spend less time worrying about their equipment operating and more time achieving.