Two companiesThe story is long and complex, but the upshot is that Deutz Fahr is now part of the SAME Deutz Fahr (SDF) group, which produces a range of tractors and farm machinery in the familiar bold green livery. Deutz AG, on the other hand, was spun off from SDF in 1994 to specialise in the production of diesel engines and is independent of any machinery manufacture. This includes Deutz Fahr and also Volvo Construction, which once held a 10% share of the company.
Given that the engine company is a separate entity, the agreement to cooperate with AGCO Power would appear a little easier to understand in that it is not two competing tractor manufacturing companies coming together after all.One aspect of the agreement, announced in July, which was not widely noted at the time, was that the two companies are going to work together on smaller engines of less than 150hp, as well as further developing the larger units for installation in Fendt tractors.
Deutz do another dealShortly after informing the world of the tie-in with AGCO Power, Deutz AG announced another cooperative venture, this time with the Turkish group, ASKO, which owns, among other brands, Basak Traktor. The deal has two stages, the first is to cement the supply agreement of engines to Basak, which already uses Deutz engines in its larger models. It is likely that they may also displace the Perkins units used in its range of telescopic handlers. The second phase involves founding a joint company in Sakarya, to produce engines within ASKO's existing facilities. Deutz is to contribute additional investment as well as technology and production 'know-how'. Basak has an annual production capacity of 10,000 tractors and, like other Turkish brands, has a modern look, but they do not appear to be as well equipped with the latest electronics which the western market expects. Deutz AG would therefore appear to be not only consolidating its position as suppliers of engines, but also engine design and manufacturing in the west and near east. This would have appeared a logical step forward not so long ago, but with the present focus on alternative fuels and forms of energy supply, the compression ignition engine is supposedly withering on the vine.
Battery failureThe idea of using batteries as an energy reservoir is not finding favour in the agricultural machinery world; they simply cannot store enough of it to drive machines which are often running on full power for extended periods.
Engine manufacturers are quite aware of this and AGCO has invested one billion euro in a new family of engines to be assembled in a completely new facility at Nokia in Finland.These new engines are designed to accommodate a variety of fuels, rather than just traditional diesel. Hydrogen is one option which is being explored, despite its combustion being far less efficient than its use in a fuel cell.
New hydrogen engineThis has not deterred Deutz AG which has just launched a hydrogen-fuelled version of its six-cylinder 7.8 engine which has a power output of 200kw or 168hp. Known as the TCG 7.8 H2, it is the company’s first hydrogen engine and meets all of the eligibility criteria set by the EU for zero CO2 emission engines. It has passed all the bench tests and is scheduled to go into full production in 2024. Despite this we are unlikely to see it fitted to tractors anytime soon for as Dr. Markus Muller, chief technology officer of Deutz AG, explains:
In principle, the engine is suitable for all current Deutz applications, but due to the available infrastructure, it is likely to be used first in stationary equipment, generators, and rail transport.”Deutz would appear to have taken something of a lead when it comes to hydrogen power. AGCO has yet to confirm any details of its new engine range while the widely reported conversion of a New Holland tractor to the fuel by a Dutch contractor, was a collaborative, rather than internal, project.