Swap ’n’ Go

Bergmann TSW A 19 uni­ver­sal spreader

Farms & Farm Machinery - - Contents - Pho­tos by Andrew Brit­ten

Un­like many Euro­pean-made prod­ucts that are de­signed on the lighter side to work on per­fectly pre­pared soils that have been farmed for hun­dreds of years, the Ger­man­made Bergmann TSW A 19 uni­ver­sal spreader is, if any­thing, over­specced and well suited to the rigours of work in Aus­tralia.

I re­cently headed to the town of Trafal­gar in Vic­to­ria’s West Gipp­s­land re­gion to check it out.

There’s only one Bergmann uni­ver­sal spreader chas­sis com­bi­na­tion cur­rently in Aus­tralia but, if im­porter and dis­trib­u­tor Steve Dep­peler’s con­fi­dence in the brand is any­thing to go by, it will be the first of many.

The multi-pur­pose Ger­man-made spread­ing unit is a com­bi­na­tion of a Bergmann TSW A 19 uni­ver­sal spreader mounted on Bergmann Vario 440 mul­ti­pur­pose chas­sis us­ing a quick-re­lease chas­sis sys­tem.

A lock­ing mech­a­nism on each cor­ner of the bin – the same that is used to lock down ship­ping con­tain­ers to truck chas­sis – is used to se­cure the spreader to the Vario 440.

The let­ter A in­di­cates that the body is de­tach­able.

The Uni­ver­sal TSW range is also avail­able as an all-in-one unit that can­not be sep­a­rated.

The Vario 440 mul­ti­pur­pose chas­sis con­tains all the sus­pen­sion, brak­ing, weigh­ing and steer­ing com­po­nen­try and forms a solid base on which to mount a va­ri­ety of spread­ers, tanks, chaser bins and silage carts.

As you can imag­ine, this can equate to mas­sive cost sav­ings. Agri­cul­tural con­trac­tor Steve Dep­peler’s first ex­pe­ri­ence with Bergmann was us­ing one of the com­pany’s silage wag­ons which, in his words, epit­o­mised Ger­man man­u­fac­tur­ing qual­ity.

“I was af­ter a multi-pur­pose spreader so when I found out Bergmann had a va­ri­ety of spread­ers on the mar­ket, I thought I’d try and get my hands on one,” he says.

“The trou­ble was, there was no-one in Aus­tralia deal­ing them, so I was forced to travel to Ger­many to get one for my­self.”

The pur­chase didn’t end there, though, be­cause he re­alised that if an ex­pe­ri­enced con­trac­tor like him recog­nised its qual­ity, then so too would other con­trac­tors in Aus­tralia.

With this in mind, he and his wife founded the com­pany Me­gahire for the pur­pose of im­port­ing and dis­tribut­ing Bergmann prod­ucts here.


The 19-cu­bic-me­tre uni­ver­sal spreader’s body mea­sures 6.9m long, 2.05m wide and 1.25m high, and is ca­pa­ble of spread­ing a wide range of ma­te­rial — dairy feed pad and calf pen residue, lime, gyp­sum and chook ma­nure.

The spreader body is com­pletely sealed so it can even spread the thick sludge from dairy ef­flu­ent ponds. Op­tional ex­ten­sions in­crease the car­ry­ing ca­pac­ity up to 25 cu­bic me­tres.

Straight sides on the bin are the key to this unit’s abil­ity to han­dle a broad va­ri­ety of ma­te­rial – they help elim­i­nate bridg­ing above the dual con­vey­ors and al­low a wider con­veyor floor to be in­stalled.

The hy­drauli­cally op­er­ated rear slid­ing door has a work­ing range from fully shut to a max­i­mum open­ing of 1.7m. It con­trols the flow of ma­te­rial to two hor­i­zon­tal beat­ers and two heavy­duty spin­ners.

The beat­ers and spin­ners are PTO driven, while the rear door and floor have hy­draulic drive.

It should be noted that the spin­ners are not your ev­ery­day light­weight alu­minium or stain­less steel types; they are built from heavy-duty steel.

That’s very im­por­tant be­cause when you’re load­ing the left­over ma­te­rial from feed pads, you in­evitably get the odd bit of

con­crete go­ing in, which would de­stroy a light­weight spin­ner on the way out.

The dual floor con­vey­ors are driven by two 25-tonne chains which pro­vide a to­tal of 100 tonnes of force.

Dual floor con­vey­ors have far less stress placed on them than sin­gle floor con­vey­ors, which only have one chain ei­ther side with the bars hav­ing to span the full width of the floor.


The draw­bar has hy­draulic sus­pen­sion built in to cush­ion the shock of the load on the trac­tor and al­low the op­er­a­tor to change the an­gle and the height of the draw­bar to match the height of the trac­tor’s tow hitch.

Dep­peler says the K80 ball hitch used on the spreader com­pletely elim­i­nates any move­ment within the hitch, re­duc­ing ma­chine wear and dou­bling the life of the bear­ings in the PTO shaft.

The chas­sis has a hy­draulic sup­port stand that is op­er­ated from inside the cabin to aid the at­tach­ing and de­tach­ing process. It means the spreader can eas­ily be re­moved from the trac­tor even when it is com­pletely full.


The Vario 440 is a tan­dem-axle chas­sis us­ing Bergmann hy­draulic sus­pen­sion.

Hy­draulic rams on all four wheels al­low load trans­fer shar­ing be­tween the front and rear axles, each with up to 300mm of travel. There is no load shar­ing be­tween the left- and right-hand side wheels as this can cause in­sta­bil­ity on hills.

ADR axles and sus­pen­sion are fit­ted as stan­dard. BPW axles are avail­able upon re­quest but add an ex­tra $6000 to the pur­chase price.

The sus­pen­sion rams are con­nected to the chas­sis and axles us­ing tight rub­ber bushes with­out grease nip­ples. Wher­ever a grease nip­ple is used, there has to be a gap to al­low grease to get in and that gap im­me­di­ately cre­ates a wear point. This rub­ber bush de­sign al­lows some give with­out wear and has been proven to be ef­fec­tive on Ken­worth truck sus­pen­sions.


The Vario 440 has air-op­er­ated anti-lock brakes with au­to­matic load sens­ing to help main­tain con­trol.

With this sys­tem, the brakes re­ceive hy­draulic pres­sure read­ings from the sus­pen­sion sys­tem and ad­just their sen­si­tiv­ity ac­cord­ing to the load.

Ba­si­cally what this means is that when the bin is full and at max­i­mum weight the brakes ap­ply full pres­sure. As the weight in the bin de­creases, the brak­ing sys­tem au­to­mat­i­cally de­creases the brak­ing pres­sure to pre­vent the breaks from lock­ing up.


The spreader fol­lows be­hind the trac­tor with­out too much cut in thanks to its self-track­ing me­chan­i­cal steer­ing sys­tem.

When the self-steer­ing func­tion is en­gaged it al­lows the wheels to float freely and fol­low the path of least re­sis­tance, which in this case is fol­low­ing the di­rec­tional pull of the trac­tor.

Out on the road, when you want the ma­chine to be more sta­ble at higher speeds, you dis­en­gage the self-track­ing sys­tem and hy­draulic rams lock the wheels in a fixed po­si­tion.

Forced steer­ing is avail­able as an op­tional ex­tra to pro­vide an even tighter turn­ing cir­cle and forces the unit to fol­low the tow­ing ve­hi­cle more pre­cisely.


Re­mov­ing the bin is a sim­ple op­er­a­tion that takes no more than about 10 min­utes. First you un­lock the four truck locks and

pres­surise the sus­pen­sion to ex­tend the rams to their max­i­mum 300mm of travel.

With the spreader bin lifted to its full height, four leg stands can be slot­ted in – one each cor­ner.

To com­plete the de­tach­ment of the spreader, a few hy­draulic hoses and the PTO drive must be dis­con­nected. The chas­sis is now low­ered by de­creas­ing the pres­sure on the sus­pen­sion rams and driven out from un­der the bin ready for an­other unit to be in­stalled.


As I walked up to the Bergmann TSW A 19 uni­ver­sal spreader in the pad­dock, my first im­pres­sion was that it looked to be a sturdy piece of equip­ment.

Load­ing it up with a dense clumpy mix­ture of hay, straw, wood shav­ings and cow dung piled up be­side the dairy feed pad was a fairly ba­sic process.

This is the most com­mon time for dam­age to oc­cur from load­ers smash­ing into the sides dur­ing fill­ing. To help pre­vent dam­age, the Bergmann spreader has a pro­tec­tive rub­ber bumper at­tached to the top of each side.

Once in the pad­dock, we raised the rear door to the rec­om­mended height. A scale at­tached to the spreader gave an in­di­ca­tion of where the door should be set to achieve the de­sired rate of ap­pli­ca­tion for a va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent prod­ucts.

How­ever, the marker is about 10cm wide and doesn’t clearly in­di­cate at which point along its width it is point­ing at the num­bered scale.

En­gag­ing the PTO to 1000rpm started the beat­ers and spin­ners in mo­tion. The ma­chine was now ready for op­er­a­tion and only re­quired for­ward move­ment to start the dou­ble floor con­veyor.

A short test run al­lowed the spread width to be mea­sured and recorded into the mon­i­tor along with the de­sired ap­pli­ca­tion rate. The mon­i­tor uses this in­for­ma­tion to con­trol the speed of the con­veyor floor to achieve the cor­rect ap­pli­ca­tion rate.

I found the ISOBUS-com­pat­i­ble ter­mi­nal’s large dis­play screen was very easy to nav­i­gate. It has back­light­ing for night op­er­a­tion and of­fers var­i­ous in­ter­faces such as USB, Wi-Fi ac­cess and video in­put.

Our thick clumpy wet mass was smashed down into small pieces no big­ger than a ten­nis ball and spread very evenly across the pad­dock.

A rear skirt dropped down so that the de­gree of spread was re­duced and pre­vented spread­ing onto neigh­bour­ing pad­docks on the first pass around the bound­ary fence. The spread was much bet­ter than I would have ex­pected.

The dual hor­i­zon­tal beat­ers did a good job of tear­ing clumps off the face of the pile but it was the high-speed heavy-duty steel spin­ners that re­ally smashed it down to pieces that will quickly break down back into the soil.

Weigh scales in the chas­sis al­lowed for pre­cise ap­pli­ca­tion rates to be ap­plied by con­tin­u­ally pro­vid­ing in­for­ma­tion to the Bergmann con­trol ter­mi­nal.

My gut feel­ing on this ma­chine is very good and I am sure you wouldn’t be dis­ap­pointed if you had one of these in your fleet.

I re­ally like the fact that you can buy one chas­sis then add var­i­ous units to it.


1. The tan­dem-axle Vario 440 with TSW A 19 with bin ex­ten­sions has a

to­tal car­ry­ing ca­pac­ity of about 25 cu­bic me­tres

2. The ex­change­able bod­ies are locked in place quickly and eas­ily with

twist-lock mech­a­nisms

3. The load is evenly dis­trib­uted on all wheels, while the high-sus­pen­sion

travel (up to 300mm) im­proves han­dling on un­even ter­rain

4. The hor­i­zon­tal beat­ers and the spin­ners have an over­load clutch to

pre­vent over­load­ing the gear­box

5. Dual floor chains give a more even and con­sis­tent flow of ma­te­rial to

the beat­ers and spin­ners

6. Trac­tion man­age­ment, au­to­matic lev­el­ling, roll sta­bil­sa­tion and the weigh­ing unit on the Vario 440 chas­sis can be op­er­ated with the CCI 200 ter­mi­nal

7. Even the rough­est ma­te­rial is smashed down and broad­cast to an even

spread pat­tern 2 3 4 5 6 7

The hy­drauli­cally ad­justable draw bar keeps the ma­chine per­fectly level re­gard­less of the tow ball height of the trac­tor

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