Machinery News

  • Written by: Farmers Guide
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Claas mid-size combine range options increased

Claas demonstrated new and updated models in its harvesting ranges at a press event in early August. David Williams reports. 

Claas continues to invest heavily in research and development and has announced new combines, mowers and balers promising benefits for farms of all sizes. A new control concept has been added for the mid-sized Tucano models, with even more automation to help operators of Lexion machines. 

The Tucano range is extended with a new top 580 model. Claas combine product manager Adam Hayward explained that this fills the gap between the previous most powerful Tucano 570 and the larger Lexion range. 

Tucano models are available with 5 or 6 straw walkers or as hybrids, with a drum separator then a rotor, and in narrow or wide body widths. 

For 2019 the Tucano line-up includes 13 variants, with 5 available as new Montana hill-side versions. 

Engines are all from Mercedes Benz from 245–381hp meeting Tier 5 emissions standards and maximum power is available at just 1,900rpm, down from 2,000rpm. 

Also, for the first time, Dynamic Power is standard. This has been available on Jaguar forage harvesters for many years, and on the Tucano it operates in a similar way to save fuel and wear and tear as power is adjusted to match demand, although operating speed remains the same. There are 10 power steps, but for unloading on the move maximum power is immediately available. 

Montana versions compensate automatically for side slopes up to 16 per cent on wider body models or 18 per cent on narrower 430 and 560 variants. Final drives to the front wheels rotate hydraulically providing the height differential and an additional benefit is that both can be rotated together to provide extra table clearance for narrow gateways, allowing it to remain attached between fields. 

Feeder housing adjustment up to 20 per cent allows the header to follow the ground angle while the combine remains horizontal.

Further advantages include cutting angle adjustment, allowing the table to be tilted forward to more easily pick-up laid crops by presenting the knife closer to the ground, or tilted back to reduce losses by keeping seed from over-ripe crops or oilseed rape in the header.

Hill-side models come with a 2-speed manual transmission with automatic engine load adjustment. In both gears there are 2 drive ranges, selected dependent on wheel drive loading and the speed change occurs automatically on the move maintaining traction and motion.

All-wheel drive provides up to 70 per cent more tractive power compared with standard model 4wd, through a more powerful independent hydraulic system, and a differential lock for the front axle is standard. 

For further improved hill harvesting performance a 3d sieve box and auto-slope compensation by the fan are additional options, also available on standard models. Using the hill compensation system only requires the operator to select the ‘A’ button and settings are made and adjusted automatically with the actual ground angle displayed on the Cebis terminal. 

“The narrow 430 is attractive to smaller farms and the new specification and availability of the Montana version will certainly add to its appeal,” said Adam.

Improved controls

The 2019 Tucano models have a new Cebis touch-screen monitor which allows performance monitoring and ease of adjustment through an intuitive screen menu.

The operator has only to select the combine system to be adjusted with a tap on the image and a sub-menu opens up displaying adjustments available. Touching the relevant icon then allows the setting to be changed. Claas realises that not all operators like electronic displays so a quick-access bank of traditional switches on the new armrest allows the same range of adjustments to be made.

The Cebis screen also allows quick selection without all the menus by allowing users to set ‘favourites’ for fast recall using buttons on the CMotion joystick. 

The terminal can be positioned anywhere in an arc from the user’s right knee to the right hand side. This allows it to be swung out of the way for a clear view of the full knife width, or positioned in front when constant attention to settings is preferred. 

Auto Crop Flow, available previously only on Lexion models is added to the Tucano options list. Sensors measure the APS drum, residual grain separation system, straw chopper and engine and automatically react to overloading by stopping the header and intake elevator, while alerting the user. This allows operators to confidently push the combine to work at higher outputs without fear of blocking the threshing or separation systems. 

Higher grain capacity

Grain tank capacity up to 11,000 litres is available on the new range, including on the largest Tucano 580 Montana, and even the smallest Tucano 320 has either 6,500 or 7,500 litres available. A further update is an automatic unloading auger flap which engages when the auger is stopped, preventing grain spillage even when the auger is still full. 

For 2019 additional benefits of the latest Tucanos include; 

  • Grain feeder housing dust extraction, improving visibility in dusty conditions and particularly at night. 
  • Returns information displayed on the Cebis screen allowing assessment alongside grain losses.
  • Increased tool and spare part storage space. 
  • Larger maintenance panels for improved service access and an on-board water tank allowing hands to be washed in the field.

Automation adds output

Cemos combine automation was launched by Claas in 2012 and precision farming product manager Edward Miller said it is now in its third generation with take-up increasing each year. “It costs extra but we have seen a strong trend for those who have had it, specifying it again when combines are updated,” he explained. Advantages include reduced working costs due to higher output and saved time, improved grain quality, better performance in the field – particularly operating in laid crops – and constant performance optimisation all day, where an operator eventually becomes tired. “It doesn’t replace an operator,” he added. “It helps those with less experience make the most of the combine’s potential and experienced operators like it as it helps them fine-tune the harvesting operation.

“Overall, when we compare combines working in all countries with Cemos against identical machines without, we see 15–18 per cent improved output.”

A new 12in high-resolution touchscreen version of the Cebis Mobile terminal is available for 700 Hybrid and 600 straw-walker models allowing easier and faster set-up and improved performance monitoring. A silhouette of the combine includes settings for the main function areas such as the rotor and fan speed, grain moisture content and grain tank fill level in progressive steps. “Accurate grain tank level information is especially useful for those using our Fleetview system for fleet management as trailer drivers are kept informed of when they will be needed,” added Edward.

Slider controls on the screen allow the operator to set the Cemos system to prioritise grain quality, straw quality or throughput. 

The new Cebis Mobile terminal is also used to monitor 4D cleaning and to set up and monitor results from the grain quality camera, mounted at the elevator head. The camera records images at intervals up to one per second which are analysed to identify broken grains and foreign bodies including un-threshed heads. An image of the grain sample is displayed with damaged grains or chaff highlighted in pink and blue and by touching the screen the operator opens a second window allowing system sensitivity to be altered, for increased or decreased threshing and cleaning. 

The screen also displays Cruise Pilot status. Cruise Pilot automatically adjusts operating speed up to the limit set depending on crop volume in the feeder housing, throughput in t/hr and engine load, with all parameters displayed. 

Factors limiting performance are highlighted and the operating mode can be set to constant speed, constant throughput or constant throughput with losses. 

Automated control

Optional Cemos Automatic comprises three modules. Cemos Auto Cleaning is available for all Lexion 600 and 700 models and a new option is Auto Threshing. Lexion 700 models can also have Cemos Auto Separation. 

Auto Threshing works with Cruise Pilot and the other Cemos modules when fitted, to adjust drum speed and concave gap. Taking a basic crop setting as the start point, Auto Threshing then finds the ideal drum speed and concave setting to thresh the crop, but keeps the action as gentle as possible. 

Auto Cleaning works with the grain quality camera and automatically adjusts the fan speed and upper and lower sieves constantly to maintain optimum grain quality. Four operating strategies can be set; Maximum Throughput, Optimum Fuel Consumption, High Grain Quality or a combination of all three. 

Auto Separation on 700 Hybrid models automatically adjusts rotor speed and cover plates depending on the operating priority selected. Cemos Auto Separation reacts and adjusts settings constantly for optimum performance.

A demonstration of the system on a Lexion 780 proved the benefits. The sloping field of wheat appeared an even crop but from one side of the field to the other the automatic threshing system varied the drum speed and concave gap as variations in the numbers of broken grains or un-threshed heads were detected. Unless the images were inspected very closely there was little difference detectable by eye, but the combine’s system is more thorough, identifying minute variations. What is comforting for the operator is that the image quality on the high-resolution screen is clear enough to see each grain, so there is no need to constantly check the grain tank contents. 

Balers updated

New model Rollant 540 fixed chamber round balers have a stronger chassis and new roller design, improving durability and improving bale formation. There are three variants, all suitable for demanding farm or contractor use, including the 540RF (Roto Feed), 540RC (Roto Cut) and 540RC (Comfort).

Bale size is 1.25m diameter and 1.22m wide made in a chamber with 15 rollers, all constructed from 4mm steel. 

The 15 rollers have a modular build, with new bolted stub shafts, and a serrated profile for efficient bale gripping even in wet conditions and the Claas MaxPressure System (MPS 2) is an option, with rollers 7, 8 and 9 on a pivot mounting to apply pressure earlier in the bale forming cycle for improved density. 

An improved rear door fastening system, with closing rams horizontally mounted at the sides, has been introduced to cope with the higher pressures and ensure perfect bale formation. 

The rollers are driven from the left side with direct drive for uniform force distribution. Chains are 1.25in to the rotor and main drive and the tailgate rollers have a 1in chain. Bearings are upgraded over previous 374 and 375 models. 

Central lubrication is an option, but for manual greasing most grease points are grouped in blocks. 

The pick-up is 2.1m as before and the well-proven double crop roller is now joined by additional options of a single roller or baffle plate at reduced cost. “We have always found users get on particularly well with the double roller but where it isn’t needed the new options provide a cost-effective alternative,” explained product specialist Dean Cottey. 

For bale wrapping the net system has a new brake, and the new RC Comfort model can be used with net or film wrap. Changing between the two takes under 10 minutes. “Film holds the bale shape better during handling, and gives added protection,” explained Dean. “Additional advantages are that it can be disposed of with the plastic wrap rather than having to separate the net from the film, and it also wastes less of the crop as it comes away clean rather than with material stuck to it. That is likely to be a valuable benefit this year when fodder and bedding are in short supply.” 

Stronger construction includes a 80mm full width beam axle replacing previous bolt-on stub axles and a wider range of tyres as well as air or hydraulic braking.

Control is by the standard Operator terminal but options include the Communicator or full management from the tractor’s Isobus link. An iPad can also be used through a free Claas app. Settings can be altered from the cab including net delay and the drop-floor, but the Comfort specification also allows the number of net layers to be set, the net brake to be adjusted and the number of chopping knives to be selected, all from the seat.  

Faster mowing

A new front-mounted Disco mower was displayed at the event. The Claas Disco Move offers superb ground contour following and mounts on an A-frame allowing rapid hitching and unhitching from the tractor or direct hitching to the tractor front link arms. For unhitching, the mower suspension is isolated using a selector lever and for re-hitching a simple pair of arrows have to be matched so that the tractor’s front linkage arms are the correct height. 

The headstock is narrow allowing great forward visibility. Active Float suspension is standard, integrated within the main frame and allowing ground pressure to be adjusted to suit the conditions. The new suspension allows mower travel up and down to 1,000mm, independent of the front linkage.

The mower is pulled from the front, with low mounted arms inclined at a low angle for smooth operation. Two pre-series mowers have operated in the UK and Dean said feedback from users has been very positive, including one saying the design allowed perfect cutting even at speeds up to 20kph. 

Jaguar flagship

A new flagship to the Jaguar 800-series forage harvester range has been added for next year. The 800-series was introduced 25 years ago including models from 300–500hp but the new 880 tops the 2019 line-up with 626hp from a 15.6-litre Mercedes Benz power unit. 

Dean Cottey said the new model provides an alternative for those needing high capacity and has the same engine as the Jaguar 960 but will suit those who don’t want to move up to the physically larger 900-series. 

The new model is ideally suited to livestock farms and contractors producing silage for livestock feed with a chop length of 9–10mm and longer. 

Three pre-series models have operated for the 2017 and 2018 seasons having replaced previous 492 and 496 models, and harvesting grass, wholecrop and maize. Dean said they have performed well against previous models.

  • Written by: Farmers Guide
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