Hardi Rubicon 9000 handles 1000-hectare days

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With a front-mounted 48.5m boom coupled with an enormous 9000-litre tank capacity, the Rubicon is a top choice for large-scale farmers and contractors
With the Rubicon 9000, Hardi has produced its biggest self-propelled sprayer to date – there are 9,000 litres in the tank along with the choice of a 36.5 or 48.5 metre boom and it all glides along with a Cummins 276kW (370hp) engine as the driving force

With the Rubicon, Hardi claims to have established a new class in self-propelled sprayers.

Designed to meet the productivity demands of large-scale farmers, the machine offers tank capacity of up to 9000 litres and a boom width of an industry-leading 48.5m. These two features combine to deliver hectare-eating performance to conquer everyday spraying tasks with ease.

Hardi says the tank capacity of the Rubicon 9000 takes efficiency and productivity to a whole extra level. Increased tank capacity not only improves productivity, but the timeliness of spray applications as well. Time and timing can both be critical factors for spraying, especially on large paddocks. The Rubicon capacity reduces travelling and filling down-time, so operators can keep spraying and finish sooner.

Hardi estimates the 48.5m Paragon AL boom represents a 35% increase in work rate over a comparable 36m boom. In addition, boom height management, including AutoHeight and Auto Terrain, keeps spray nozzles at their optimum spray height across the full width of the boom and a wider range of operating conditions.

Working together, Hardi says it’s these functions that allow the Rubicon to spray at speeds up to 35kph and achieve a work rate of 170 hectares/hr – meaning covering over 1,000 hectares per day is an achievable goal.

The Rubicon’s AIS Circulation system (Accurate & Instantaneous Spraying) is pressurised by a Run Dry Ace centrifugal pump and an automatic valve sequencing system.

The tank fill volume can be set, and once reached the fluid valves automatically switch over to agitation and boom priming.

The tank contents are then agitated and the spray circuit is recirculated and primed at standby operating pressure in readiness to start spraying. The instant the sections are opened the nozzles start spraying at the right pressure without lag.

ActivAir is a rapid nozzle on/off control system, that uses the Rubicon’s on-board air supply to instantaneously open and close the non-drip nozzles during spraying.

ActivAir’s rapid nozzle control is fast and accurate, making it ideal for AutoSection control systems. The spray lines are divided into 14 sections to ensure minimal overspray when AutoSection control is in operation.

When a solenoid is activated to turn the nozzles on, air pressure opens the non-drip valves and the nozzles start spraying. When the solenoid is deactivated to turn the nozzles off, the non-drip valves are held closed under spring tension.

When the nozzles are off, the fluid system continuously recirculates the spray mix through the boom tubes at high volume to ensure the boom is primed before spraying starts.

The Rubicon is powered a Cummins 8.9-litre QSL 9 Tier 3A engine that delivers up to 272 kW (370hp) and is wedded to a hydrostatic 4WD transmission from Danfoss.

The OverRide suspension of the Rubicon is fully independent with triple convoluted low-pressure air bags and heavy-duty shock absorbers that allow each wheel to independently react to the prevailing paddock conditions. These functions working together are designed to allow the Rubicon to deliver the ultimate flotation with a better ride for operator and boom.

The Rubicon offers a 3 to 4m track width adjustment, close to 50/50 weight distribution front and rear and a generous 1.85m ground clearance to reduce turbulence and spray drift as the sprayer moves through the crop.

The buggy style of the Rubicon with its front-mounted boom means the operator has a commanding view over the boom from the operator’s seat which makes spraying easier and safer.  

With the need to manage a 48.5m boom width, Hardi has put a lot of work into optimising boom stability on the Rubicon.

The boom suspension system allows independent stiffness control settings on the springs and rams fixed to either side of the centre frame. Spring tension holds the centre frame in the middle position while the hydraulic damper absorbs energy from the boom movement. A hydraulic actuator operated from the cab exerts more or less pressure on the spring to change the resistance.

The Rubicon’s Panorama cab is large, spacious and uncluttered, with top level ergonomics. Pressurised to the top category 4 standard and with a climate control system featuring active charcoal filtration, operators enjoy high quality air free from contaminants while spraying.

The cab is built to provide a quiet and stress-free relaxed environment, which is easy on conversations and mobile phone use.

Tinted safety glass with front and side retractable sunscreens filter the light and minimise glare into the cab. An air-ride fully adjustable driver’s seat provides operator comfort in rougher paddock conditions.

The joystick and SprayCentre are attached to the driver’s seat and move in unison with it. Switches for the transmission, axles, fluid and boom functions are logically placed and grouped for easy

fingertip operation. They are illuminated for night spraying.

The steering column pivots in two places and extends to provide adjustment for the most comfortable driving position.

For spray control, the system is ISOBUS and comes standard with a TOPCON X35 touchscreen display can be used in portrait or landscape format and up to five precision farming functions can be displayed simultaneously in a range of layouts and user interfaces.

A recent purchaser of the Rubicon 9000 is Scott Johns who runs a 2000-hectare mixed cropping operation in Victoria’s Mallee region. Typical crops for Scott include wheat, barley, lentils, canola and chickpeas.

When looking to upgrade from another, older self-propelled machine, Scott was attracted to the Rubicon’s high-quality boom with its 48.5m width and the machine’s exceptional 9000 litre capacity, all at what he says was a very competitive price compared to machines with narrower booms and smaller tanks.

With his previous machine running a 36m boom, Scott targeted the Rubicon’s 48.5m boom because of what he saw as the opportunity to reduce wheel track damage to his crops while spraying. In his estimation, the wider boom delivers a 3% reduction in damage.

Scott also noted that the 9000 litre tank capacity meant that you could select your water rates without having to worry about running out of water.

Scott was also keen to get his hands on the Rubicon’s optional H-Select nozzle technology.

Designed to bring extra precision and efficiency to large sprayer booms, H-Select automatically provides accurate target rate control through the widest possible speed range.

H-Select precisely co-ordinates four different nozzles at each nozzle body to continually maintain the required dose set point right across a wide, turning boom.

Hardi says this rapid switching between nozzle combinations means H-Select can achieve increased dosage accuracy over the paddock and reduce chemical usage by 5 to 7%.

H-Select’s rapid nozzle switching technology is designed to adjust the spray rate instantly and accurately without affecting the fluid velocity or the droplet size. This has important benefits for accurate dosage, coverage and drift control, especially in difficult spraying conditions.

When turning around obstacles or in headland at typical spraying speeds, the nozzles at the outer tip of a 48.5m boom can be moving almost twice as fast as those on the inside of the turn.

In fact, the speed variation across the boom is close to the forward speed of the sprayer at the centre. H-Select turn compensation ensures all areas receive the same spray dose irrespective of boom position.

Scott says there was a learning curve in getting used to the Rubicon’s icon-based control systems and the front-mounted boom design but at the same time he says the machine is much easier to operate with far better boom visibility and control of the boom.

To find out more about the Hardi Rubicon 9000 with a 48.5m boom, call Hardi Australia on 1300 042 734, email info@hardi-aus.com or go to: www.hardi.com.au.

Hardi Rubicon 9000 specifications
Drive (2/FWA/4):Hydrostatic 4WD, 2WS
Engine kW/HP:276/370
Engine make:Cummins QSL9 8.9-litre, Tier 3A
Fuel capacity (litres):1000
Transmission type:Hydrostatic 4WD Sauer Danfoss H1
Standard speed:56kph
Brakes:Wet disc
Standard tyres:480/95 R54 or 380/90 R54 option
Turning radius without brakes:17.8m
Mass (weight as sold without ballast):15,670kg
Tank cap. (lt):9000
Rinse Tank cap. (lt):630
Pump type:Centrifugal HARDI / Ace 650
Pump Cap. lit/min:650
Boom width (m):Aluminium 36.5 or 48.5
Boom sections:14
Boom lift (m):0.5 to 2.7
Spray Control:ISOBUS
Wheel track (m):3 to 4
Length (m):10.2 with 36.5m boom, 12.3 with 48.5m boom
Width (mm):3680
Height (mm):4200
Clearance (mm):1850
Transport width (m):3.68
Climate control Opt/Std: Standard