Machinery News

  • Written by: Farmers Guide
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Claas begins year of centenary celebrations


Cathrina Claas-Mhlhuser- pictured at a Claas product launch.

Lamma 2013 will mark the start of a very special year for Claas UK – the 100th anniversary of August Claas setting up his own engineering company in 1913.


During its 100 years in business, Claas has grown from a small acorn into the largest family owned agricultural manufacturing company in the world, employing over 9,000 people and with 14 manufacturing plants spread across the globe. Central to its success, believes the company, is the fact that it has retained its family roots, and it is now lead by the next generation of the Claas family – Cathrina Claas-Mhlhuser.


Ingenuity and the drive to develop technology that will simplify and improve every-day operations are a strong trait in the Claas family. While the Claas family business that we know today was established by August Claas in 1913, his interest in machinery was sparked by his father, Franz Claas who from a young age had been interested in agricultural technology, and in the 1880s set-up a workshop on the family farm to develop and manufacture machinery, including a highly successful cream separator, and reaping and binding machines.


From working with his father, in the summer of 1913 August Claas decided to set-up his own company, manufacturing straw balers, although this then had to be put on hold with the outbreak of the First World War the following year.


The Claas name is widely associated with harvesting machinery,  and it was August Claas development of the simple knotter in 1921 which provided the cornerstone of the company’s growth and success. This ingenious invention revolutionised agriculture, and its importance is reflected in the fact that the original patents taken out in 1921 still apply to knotters used in current Claas balers.


From balers, August Claas then turned his attention to other machinery, and began looking at how to improve on the American machinery that had been unsuccessfully trialled in Europe, resulting in the launch of the MDB in 1936. This was to be the start of a long list of combine innovations and developments, right up to the latest Claas combine flagship, the Lexion 780.


When looking at the growth of Claas to becoming a major manufacturer on a world scale, one name stands out; Helmut Claas, whose reputation as an engineer and innovator has been recognised worldwide. Under his management, the Claas Group has grown and developed to be a highly successful company, developing and manufacturing innovative high performance machinery, and now playing a leading role in how the use of electronics, GPS and other technological advances will help the farmers of the future.


When August Claas set up on his own in 1913, he could not have imagined that 100 years later his company would have factories and sales companies throughout the world, employing over 9,000 staff with a turnover of over 3 billion, generating profits of 255 million, and spending around 150 million on research and development of new products.



  • Written by: Farmers Guide
  • Posted:
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