DRIVING IMPRESSION: In 2019 the new Hardi Aeon took its place at the top of the company’s trailed sprayer range. Whilst the stalwart Commander, range flagship for over two decades, continues as before, the high-tech Aeon has ushered in a plethora of new features and updates. We take a closer look at the 4,200-litre model.
Hardi has had good success in the UK with its long-serving Commander range, first introduced in 1997 and updated in 2005 and again in 2011. So, it makes sense to keep it in production while the Aeon slots into the range above it, not necessarily in tank capacity but in terms of specification. And although it was first unveiled nearly four years ago the first machines only landed in the UK last season.
Not an improved Commander
The two sprayers share very little, the Aeon actually has more in common with the Evrard Meteor R-Activ which is sold in France in blue/white with the option of Pommier aluminium booms. The Aeon has a completely new chassis, tank, back frame, steering system and electronic controls. It is available in two specification levels – the more basic TitaniumLine and the top-spec CenturaLine with virtually all available options fitted as standard. We looked at an Aeon CenturaLine machine.
Beginning with the basics, the chassis is completely redesigned. One of the biggest changes is to the rear end – gone is the SafeTrack steering system of the Commander, which pivoted the entire back end of the sprayer, and in its place a conventional steering axle christened ComfortTrack. This is the first time a Hardi trailed sprayer has used a steering axle. This can be used with the booms folded, a big advantage which will be particularly appreciated by potato and vegetable growers where headlands are not planted. Hydraulically steerable mudguards are a novel feature – they turn with the wheels to avoid mud being flicked up into nozzles.
Leaf spring drawbar suspension is a new feature, again taken from the Evrard cousin, as is the hydraulic jack which uses an innovative sliding design. The axle has hydraulic suspension, although lower spec TitaniumLine machines have the option of a coil spring instead. Our machine was fitted with tall 420/80 R46 row-crop wheels and Hardi reports that it typically supplies just one set of general-purpose wheels with each machine.
Moving onto the spraying equipment, the plastic tank is new but the tapered shape is retained. Capacity of the Aeon is currently 4,200-litres or 5,200-litres, but a longer chassis with 6,200 and 7,200 litre options is on the way. Twin clean water tanks are relocated to the front, putting weight on the drawbar, and are mirrored on each side for maximum stability.