Case IH has demonstrated new models in its Axial Flow harvester range, with more technology to help operators boost output while maintaining grain sample quality. David Williams reports.
The new three-model 250-series (7250, 8250 and 9250) replaces the previous 240-series flagships in the Case IH range. The main update is AFS Harvest Command automation, which uses 16 sensors to continuously monitor machine performance and provide performance information from which the system automatically adjusts 7 main working settings to maximise productivity. The system still relies on operator input but will constantly optimise settings during long working days saving driver fatigue and ensuring a better focus on the header and surroundings.
Three versions offer different levels of capability.
The base version has the proven Automatic Crop Settings (ACS) system, adjusting components such as fan speed and concave clearance to match the selected crop type, saving the operator having to make each setting individually. Initially basic settings are made, and during work these can be fine-tuned to suit the crop and conditions and stored for future quick selection.
The next version adds Feedrate Control which adjusts ground speed using information from sensors regarding crop load. The operator selects the desired outcome; prioritising loss reduction, maximum throughput or constant throughput. Target ground speed and engine loads are set and Feedrate Control allows operation up to these limits. Using crop and ground-drive load information, ground speed is varied to suit. It can also be used as a standalone mode.
Top specification is full AFS Harvest Command with automatic threshing and cleaning system adjustment based on the same priorities as Feedrate Control, but adds in grain quality monitoring. Cameras constantly scan grain for damage and impurities using multi-spectral light emission (UV, blue, green, red and infra-red) and sieve sensors monitor working pressure with data sent to the management system. Grain sample impurities can be minimised and grain quality maximised through continuous fine adjustment. Currently the system is compatible with wheat, oilseed rape, canola, maize and soybeans, with additional crops being added.
AFS Harvest Command with full automation can be used in four different modes; Performance – the combine operates at a speed to ensure acceptable level of grain loss from the rotor and cleaning system.
Fixed Throughput – a target output is maintained by varying travel speed and settings are adjusted to minimise losses.
Maximum Throughput – the system maximises operating speed up to the power or speed limit set by the operator, while making adjustments to minimise grain losses from the rotor and cleaning system.
Grain Quality – A target grain quality standard is set and maintained with adjustment to minimise impurities and losses.
All operators benefit
Case IH harvesting product marketing manager for Europe, August von Eckardstein said AFS Harvest Command is designed to assist rather than replace operators and both novice and experienced users will benefit. “Experienced operators can further enhance output and grain quality, and inexperienced users can more quickly achieve productivity comparable to those with more hours in the seat,” he explained. “Identifying limiting factors as conditions change, displaying them and making adjustments to compensate means there is less need to worry about factors such as losses, fan speed and rotor speed allowing the user to focus on header position and unloading.”
New models equipped with AFS Harvest Command also gain in-cab adjustable rotor cage vanes, set manually from the right hand console or automatically when the harvester management system is engaged. The rear six vanes are linked and can also be adjusted from the ground. Changing the vane pitch adjusts the speed at which crop moves through the rotor cage, matching aggression of separation performance to the crop and conditions.
Upper and lower sieve control from the cab is joined by new pre-sieve adjustment allowing Harvest Command automation to adjust the cleaning system from start to finish according to feedback from the loss sensors, grain camera and sieve pressure sensors. All can also be manually adjusted if the automation is turned off.
The new Axial Flow’s sieve pressure sensors monitor the sieve loading allowing the automation system to anticipate losses before they occur, and take immediate preventative action. The sensor information allows the cause of losses through sieve overloading or fan power to be identified so adjustments can be made accordingly. At the beginning and end of each bout, losses often increase because of the reduced volume of material passing through the separation and cleaning systems. Because the new Axial Flow’s sensors immediately detect the changed working load, settings are adjusted to compensate so losses are reduced. Working with the optional Auto Fan, they also help prevent losses by detecting sieve load when working on slopes.
New transmissions offering improved drive performance and on and off-road modes also feature on the new models. The hydrostatic unit with transport and work modes has on-the-move, two-speed range control and benefits include increased traction and the ability to keep moving on slopes rather than having to stop to change gear.
Control is through a multi-function lever and maximum speeds in ranges 1 and 2 are 18 and 40kph respectively, while alternative maximums can be set to suit operator preference and working conditions.
Uprated hydraulic drive improves hill climbing performance by 36 per cent on the road. A new floor-mounted button controls the electronic differential lock, replacing the previous mechanical pedal.
Brakes are uprated to internal oil-cooled units from external discs reducing operating pressure required.
Header lift capacity of 6.1t is available for the largest models allowing them to carry 13.5m Draper tables and factory-supplied dual lateral tilt is available providing fine control of the widest headers.
A new option which will appeal to those harvesting long or very short-strawed or laid crops is an in-cab controlled face plate with fore and aft adjustment allowing header angle adjustment up to 12 degrees. Height control is also improved for faster response and better flotation performance, and includes adjustable return-to-cut rate upgrades.
Header height sensitivity automatically adjusts as forward speed alters, keeping the header stable but offering maximum response. With sensitivity set to high for changing terrain, for example, when the operator reduces travel speed the system sensitivity also drops, keeping the header stable. The control setting remains at high though, so the header returns to faster response when higher speed is resumed.
AFS Connect telematics allows two-way data file transfer between the combine and farm office via a web portal. Combines come pre-wired for the system with antennae already fitted but if the combine is ordered ‘telematics ready’ it also comes with the modem installed. The system is initialised at the factory and to make use of its capabilities an unlock code must be purchased from Case IH.