We’ve been to Italy to find out more about Argo Tractors and see the results of a fiveyear €125 million investment in the firm’s McCormick, Landini and Valpadana brands
It is a dozen years since the last McCormick tractor left the Doncaster assembly line, and production was moved to a new home at the Landini facility in Fabbrico. Located in the province of Reggio Emilia, the first thing visitors cannot fail to notice is that the 132,000mÇ facility is quite literally in the middle of Fabbrico town. And the fact that this is in an earthquake-prone region is evident throughout the main 60,000m2 assembly building, which is kitted out with a number of preventative measures, including the silent blocks on top of the roof support columns.
There are two assembly lines: one for tractors below 110hp (4 and 5 Series); and the other for 6 and 7 Series tractors from 110hp up to the new 240hp X7.624. The physical dimensions of the company’s flagship range, the X8, are simply too large to put it down either of these two lines, so the three-model range is assembled in two bays in a dedicated area of the building.
Three other points of interest when entering the main assembly building are: one, the machining area is filled with numerous new CNCs; two, all staff wear one of three different-coloured tee-shirts (blue for assembly, green for quality and red for the McCormick X8); and, three, it’s more than the final tractor product that’s assembled at Fabbrico. Unlike many tractor plants, Argo makes a lot of the base components, with 75% of the value parts of a tractor all designed and built inhouse. Our tour began with a peek at the manufacturing proceedings.
Steeped in history, the former wooden structure has gone, but the components building we walked through dates from 1884. Some of the €125 million spent on product development and manufacturing processes was earmarked for 17 new CNC machines. Bringing the total to 34, each one costs at least €500,000.
Doing its bit for the environment, 80% of the 500,000 litres of fluids used by these machines are recycled. Castings are outsourced from suppliers in Italy, the Czech Republic or China, but all the internal workings of the transmissions for tractors up to 150hp are made at Fabbrico. The only exceptions are in the top models in the X7 Series and the three X8 models, which are supplied by ZF, but then with Argo Tractors developing all the control software. It is difficult to change once it is in a tractor, so all transaxles are individually pressure-tested before being delivered to the main assembly line. If there is a fault at this stage, then they are returned.
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