Arcusin MultiPack C14 and AutoStack XP54
Hay carting has come a long way. MATT WOOD takes a look at the Arcusin C14 and XP54 and thankfully comes away without any blisters.
It’s probably fair to say that I’m not fond of handling hay. I still rub phantom blisters when I think about it, so I was pretty darned interested when a couple of new machines from Spanish manufacturer Arcusin showed up in the country.
It all started when WA entrepreneur Ray Ronchi decided to move away from being dependant on contractors for hay carting on his property north of Northam in Western Australia.
The Arcusin machine caught his eye, as he felt that the other competing brand on the Australian market was a little too finicky about bale size and shape.
Ronchi then teamed up with Bernard Shapland and Arcusin Australia was born. While some machines had already been brought into the country by private buyers, Ronchi and Shapland now have an Australia-wide franchise for the brand and a Gippsland based dealer on board.
Arcusin MultiPack C14: Overview
The Arcusin MultiPack C14 is an automated way of picking up small bales in the paddock without earning blisters. This compact little machine picks up small bales and stacks them into packs of 10, 12 or 14 before twining them together and dumping them out of the rear of the machine.
Arcusin’s patented star chain allows the bale to spin when on the chute and from all reports deals with irregular sized bales quite well.
The C14 is also very compact and is only 2.4m wide making it easier to deal with when travelling by road and when loading on a truck for longer journeys and it tips the scales at only 3 tonnes.
The machine picks up bales, stacks them, compresses and twines them into a pack the size of a large square bale, roughly 2.4m long.
The chute will deal with three bales at a time meaning that in the right conditions a fairly high paddock speed can be maintained.
The average pack size is 14 bales but the machine will add more or less bales to the pack to maintain a consistent pack size to deal with irregular sized bales.
The knotting system, which can run up to four strands of twine from up to eight rolls, is also quite a basic set up that uses common components which should make sourcing parts quite easy.
Arcusin MultiPack C14 set-up and control
The key to using the C14 efficiently comes down to setting the chain speed of the machine accurately.
It’s quicker and easier to run the machine on auto but if the chain runs too slow it will shred bales, too fast and the chute gets clogged.
A control box for the machine sits inside the tractor cab but can easily be moved between tractors if needed.
This control box is connected to the Arcusin via a proprietary cable and plug. A manual override can intervene to take care of rough terrain or an emergency stop.
Arcusin MultiPack C14 hydraulics and power requirement
The machine uses all Bosch Rexroth hydraulics powered by two hydraulic pumps.
The guys from Arcusin Australia reckon that the C14 doesn’t take a great deal of horsepower to run and doesn’t need a big tractor out front.
Ray says a 50hp (37kW) tractor will run the machine just fine and its light tare weight means that it doesn’t need a lot of power to be dragged along.
Arcusin MultiPack C14 performance
I was able to watch the machine at work briefly and it did seem to gnaw its way through a line of bales deceptively easily.
I was starting to feel a little ripped off that I’d been born about 25 years too early.
The draw bar does seem a little short on this machine, and I’m sure a bit of added length would no doubt help with ride and stability when both on the road and while working.
Ronchi also says at this stage the machine doesn’t love Lucerne hay much either, it struggles with the heavier, denser bale mass. However, they are working with the factory to rectify the situation, and both he and Shapland are confident it will be an easy fix.
Arcusin AutoStack XP54: Overview
The XP54 is a large bale handler that takes the need for a telehandler or loader out of hay carting.
It picks ’em up and stacks ’em up apparently saving operators hours of time in the paddock. This means the only time you’ll need a loader in the paddock is when you’re actually loading the truck.
The XP54 looks pretty much like a silage wagon that has collided with an old school bale elevator.
The rear axle of the hay hauler is a self-tracker that locks straight when reversing to increase manoeuvrability. Much like the MultiPack this machine picks up and stacks hay bales however, it then also stacks the load of bales, standing the load on its end.
This makes stacking the bales near a truck-accessible paddock gate quicker and easier.
I caught up with one of the first examples of the XP54 sold in Australia as it was working hard in the hills just out of Toodyay, WA.
Young Zac Rocchiccioli was at the wheel of the big John Deere 8220 when I turned up. Rocchiccioli has probably more experience operating the XP than anyone else in the country.
With the power take-off (PTO) engaged and rpm set at between 500 and 600 we set off across the paddock to grab some bales.
The bale elevator itself is height adjustable to suit different terrain.
Arcusin AutoStack XP54 Performance
The most productive day the machine has done so far was 750 bales, a tally that can be recorded on the control box in the cab of the tractor.
A row of sensor alert lights keep Rocchiccioli informed of any potential faults that might occur. Sometimes the machine may lose count of bales and send him a signal that it’s got a full load of 12 on board when there’s only 10 or 11.
Occasionally chaff might lodge in a sensor, which triggers a fault light on the control box.
Rocchiccioli uses a dob of silicon in a gap near a sensor to fix a repeat offender something that has since been reported back to the factory. He reckons you have to take it a little slower with straw to keep the bales in good shape but agrees this machine makes his job much easier.
Once the machine has its full load of 12 bales on board it’s time to head back across the paddock and unload.
The bale elevator swings up out of the way and Rocchiccioli points the green snout of the Johnny at the farm gate. Having an experienced operator at the wheel makes it all look easy as Rocchiccioli swings the machine around and reverses up to the stack.
As the XP rolls backwards he starts manually tilting the load bed, then with a deft flick of the wheel we wedge the now vertical load of bales in place, drop the bales onto the ground completely and pull the machine out from under the stack.
With the XP now empty Rocchiccioli drops the load bed and heads back across the paddock for another load.
Both the XP54 and the C14 undoubtedly make getting hay off the ground a much faster process. The question of either machine’s viability more revolves around outlay and use. From a contractors point of view both machines do make a lot of sense.
The C14 packs the small bales; the XP picks up the packs and stacks them. Add a loader attachment to the tow tractor and with both machines you’ve got a one stop shop that can pick up, stack and load.
Arcusin XP54 Autostack
Tare weight: 6,930kg
Maximum Payload: 16,000kg
Width (elevator retracted): 2,550mm
Arcusin C14 MultiPack
Tare weight: 2,982kg
Length: 4,580mm (without drawbar)
Width (elevator retracted): 2,460mm