Modifying Claas combines to meet Tier 4 Final requirements, said Jeff Gray, Claas’ product co-ordinator, “resulted in new engines.” The updated combines have new horsepower ratings, as well as a new cooling system introduced in 2014. “We call it a dynamic cooling system,” Gray said. “It’s one of the highly sought after features of the new combines.”
Dynamic cooling system
What makes the Claas combine cooling system different, Gray said, “is that it’s horizontally mounted on top of the engine. It’s pulling the air from the top down where it’s coolest and cleanest. We draft it though the radiators and the oil coolers and then, as it’s expelled out through the radiator, it’s forced into the engine compartment to blow the engine compartment clean. Then it’s also forced through the vents in the side to force all the dust and light material that gets aloft away from the combine, so that the cooling fan doesn’t pull it back in.”
Gray says this dynamic cooling system keeps the combine cleaner, and allows it to run cooler, allowing for an increased maintenance interval on the air filter. Farmers who once changed air filters daily may be able to service them every week, or “maybe even two weeks,” Gray said, depending on conditions.
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Powertrac rear axle
“We’ve also come up with a new Powertrac rear axle,” Gray said.
The difference with this model, Gray said, is that Claas is “using outboard planetaries instead of hydro motors for the rear wheel assist. It’s mechanically driven at the wheels. That gives us 33 per cent more tractive power without any reduction in ground speed.”
In the past, hydraulic-driven rear axles were ground speed-sensitive. “When you engaged them, that would drop you down to a lower range.”
With the new system, operators can have more traction, without reducing ground speed.
Claas’s new Class 9 and 10 combines are “equipped with the new full-length suspended rear axle. That improves steering efficiency. It allows the rear axle to shift left to right, sideways, to improve that turning efficiency. It gives us more clearance for larger tires as well.”
All of the combines in this line have a heavy-duty 260 horsepower feeder house drive.
In 2010, Gray said, “We brought out our generation three Terra-Trac.” This is a fully-suspended track undercarriage integrated right into the combine design. “It’s not modular,” Gray said. “It’s actually designed for the combine and vice-versa. It frowns and smiles, so it takes on the shape of the terrain.”
“Besides all of the obvious benefits — flotation, stability, comfort — it also lends itself very well to improving combine and header auto-contouring ability.
Gray said that that when you’re using the tracks, “you’re dampening the system — the combine and the cutterbar — even more when you’re switching into rolling terrain.” This can really enhance performance, Gray said, making the cutterbar more efficient. “That oftentimes get overlooked,” Gray said.