Claas’s product specialists and senior management were bursting at the seams with excitement as they gave dealers and the media a preview of their updated Lexion combine line in early August. The company unveiled the new machines, which include a range-topping class 10, 770 model, with the drop of a giant curtain at a special ceremony in Omaha, Nebraska. But there was more than just size to talk about. The new 700 Series models are the result of a significant redesign that sets them apart from the previous 500s.
The introduction of Claas’s Lexion line of combines to the North American market about a decade ago was the result of a partnership between that company and Caterpillar. Today, although the partnership has officially ended, Caterpillar remains a key supplier of components, particularly its C9 and C13 Accert engines.
And while Lexions still wear Caterpillar-yellow paint rather than Claas’s own shades of green and white, the Claas name now dominates the side panels. The company is making it clear to farmers in Canada and the U. S who builds these combines. But Claas officials say they intend to maintain their marketing arrangement with Caterpillar dealers in both countries, just as AGCO has done with its Challenger equipment line.
The updated 700 Series, and the new 670, made their public debut at the U. S Farm Progress Show, held at Boone, Iowa, at the end of August.
The 670 model offers farmers a conventional cylinder-straw walker combination for those who want to leave straw in good condition for baling. The 700s use what Claas calls its APS Hybrid design, blending a threshing cylinder with rotors instead of straw walkers.
APS stands for accelerator pre-separation. In that system a smaller accelerator drum takes material from the feeder house and accelerates it in front of the main threshing cylinder; it also separates about 30 per cent of the grain.
The majority of the remaining grain is squeezed out by the 24-inch diameter main threshing cylinder before an impeller moves the remaining material back to the dual rotors, where the remaining 10 per cent of the grain is collected. The company claims this overall design allows for a 20 per cent increase in performance without a corresponding rise in fuel consumption.
Making threshing adjustments is easily done right from the driver’s seat. Concave settings are controlled hydraulically. Changing cylinder speeds automatically causes a proportional speed change in the APS drum and impeller, so one control function takes care of all three. The 17.5-inch diameter dual rotors have a speed range from 350 to 1,050 r. p. m. They are controlled independently of the cylinder to let operators compensate for changing field conditions.
THE FIRST CLASS 10
And with the 770, Claas has raised the bar when it comes to capacity. That machine actually stands above the rungs in the current combine-rating system, which now tops out at Class 9. Company management is calling the 770 a Class 10, which is where it will fit in when when the rating system is eventually expanded.
It is the only Lexion not to use a Caterpillar engine. Instead, it uses a 16-litre Mercedes Benz V-8, the same one powering Claas’s Jaguar self-propelled forage harvesters. This giant engine is rated at 523 horsepower, which jumps to 563 at peak output. All Lexions coming off the assembly line for the remainder of this year will use Tier 3 engines, changing over to Tier 4A technology in 2011.
These new combines also offer a host of improvements and design updates that marketing reps say are a direct result of input from customers. Included among them is a noticeably larger cab and it includes a full-size buddy seat mounted on top of a larger cooler for your lunch box. A new lighting package offers up to 14 forward lights.
The cross-auger inspection hatch inside the cab on older models has been changed to a window, which allows operators to check it without letting in a blast of dust. The control console is now mounted directly on the seat arm to keep everything easily at hand as the suspension bounces the seat up and down. And a grain sampling hatch is positioned just outside the cab door.
Hydraulic performance is now 50 per cent faster, allowing for a much quicker response when raising or lowering the header.
At the rear, the Lexions offer a choice of three straw choppers; the base model starts with a 52-knife version. The high-end pro-chop option has 108 knives and the power to spread material evenly across the full width of a 40-foot header. The pro-chop also allows the operator to redirect material flow in windy conditions to ensure a good spread.
If you’d rather ride on tracks than wheels, you’ll appreciate Claas’ new-generation terra trac system with adjustable suspension height. And it makes the new Lexions the fastest tracked combines on the road, with an impressive top speed of 40 kph.
For more information, check out Claas’s website at www.claasofamerica.com.
Contacthimat [email protected]