Film ID:
YFA 4385



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This is a promotional film made by the tractor and plough manufacturers John Fowler of Hunslett, Leeds. It shows the construction and use of the Challenger range of tractors.

John Fowler and Company (Leeds) Ltd.. A member of the Marshall Group present - The British Challenger

Produced by Denis Ward
Directed and photographed by Phil Dennis
Edited by Pam Bosworth and Shiela S Tomlinson
Camera Assistants - Brian A M Rhodes and Gerald Lewis
Commentary spoken by Alvar Lidell
Technical and Scientific Films Ltd. (in association with the Film Producers Guild)
Western Electric - Recording

Grateful acknowledgement is made to the following firms for facilities and assistance extended during the production of this film:
Associated Portland Cement Manufacturers Ltd.
Dowsett Engineering Construction Ltd.
Holderness Plough Company Ltd.
Ransomes, Sims and Jeffries Ltd.

The film begins showing tractors being used in various roles: in building, earth moving and agriculture. It moves to the factory where the challenger diesel tractors are built, showing workmen working on the machinery, through the various stages of the production process. In a large drawing office many men are at work at drawing boards designing the tractors. It moves to the foundry pattern shops. This is where the castings are made of iron, steel and non-ferrous metals. In the foundry women are putting in the moulds and placing them on conveyor belts. It then moves to the heavy casting workshop. Metal for casting is lifted up by a magnetic crane, including pig iron, coke and scrap, all carefully weighed to ensure the correct proportions. Unwanted sulphur from the molten metal is burnt off. It then moves off to another process, oxidising other elements, with the silicon and manganese going into the slag.

In the laboratory a woman is checking the composition using test tubes. Back in the furnace the appearance of the convertor flame shows that oxidation is finished. The red hot metal is poured into the moulds on a continual conveyor. The finished castings are inspected, and gamma ray photography is used to detect hidden defects. In the pattern shops, flame cutters work on the rolled steel cutting out the outer skin. Then on to the 400-ton presses. More work is done on the sheet metal, making various parts; including welding and work in the forge. Among the parts being made are the track links and the heavy duty gear transmission. Other parts of the gear mechanism are also shown being made. These are then hardened in a gas carbonising plant. To avoid distortion they are quenched in jigs. Other parts are hardened in the flame hardening plant. The gears then go onto a grinder.

The film then moves on to show the work in the machine shop, with repetition work being made on modern copy lathes, then spinning. Some parts, like the track links, are processed through electric induction hardening. Every component goes through a hardness test, and there is a periodical destruction test. There are routine tensile tests of the inductors.

Then on to track assembly. The links, pins and bushes are assembled to form the chain of the track. The main frame is put together on the assembly line. Other parts are added, such as the bevel box. The 85 horse power engine is fitted. There is more inspection of the Challenger 3. Then on to Challenger 1, younger brother of 3 and 4. After everything has been put together, filled with fuel and lubricated, the finished tractor leaves the line. It then gets tested on the skip plates where it is run in each speed. It then goes off for the fitting of auxiliary parts, such as winches. A finished Challenger is driven out of the factory on the back of a low-back lorry, followed by a tram with adverts for Melbourne Ales and Tizer.

The Challenger 1 is shown in action pulling a plough in a field. It is then shown towing a scraper, followed by pulling a cultivator. The film then moves on to the Challenger 3, shown moving earth. The commentary runs through the specifications and advantages of the machine. It is then shown at work in agriculture aerating the soil and pulling logs. The largest tractor, Challenger 4, is shown hauling a large scraper. They are seen in operation at the Hope Cement Works, using a multi-bucket excavator. The commentary lists the countries where crawler tractors are working.

The End

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