If your goal is to introduce new combines to North America, why not do it right where those machines are built. That was the logic behind Case IH’s July media event at its combine assembly plant in Grand Island, Nebraska.
Members of the North American farm media were invited there to get a first look at the new 250 Series combines, which will begin production in time for the 2019 season. These models are updated versions of the existing 240 Series, but they push the technology bar yet higher.
“We have a lot of new and exciting base features and new optional features,” says Ryan Blasiak, harvesting marketing manager, Case IH. “Everyone thinks technology makes things more complex. But it actually simplifies your harvest, and it allows that extremely inexperienced operator to become more skilled.”
Buyers will be able to choose from several automated adjustment systems when spec’ing out a new machine.
“For the 250 Series we’ve completely redesigned the feed rate control,” Blasiak reports. “We used to use a strain gauge on the feeder drive shaft. We’ve redesigned the (digital) logic, so now we’re looking at engine load, and we’re looking at ground drive pressures to determine the available power for crop processing. It’s going to automatically adjust my forward ground speed to maintain one of three modes: fixed throughput (maintaining a constant harvest rate per hour), maximum throughput (putting the most material through the combine in the shortest time) or performance mode, which is really looking at grain savings and minimizing losses.”
As well, an on-the-go rotor cage vane adjustment feature will also be offered on the 250 Series.
“We have in-cab adjustable cage vanes,” says Blasiak. “As conditions change, I may need to change how long that crop spends in the threshing and separation area. I can do that from the cab now.”
For buyers who want the most sophisticated version in a new red combine, they can order a 250 model with the optional, updated version of AFS Harvest Command.
“AFS Harvest Command is our answer to automation,” Blasiak explains. “We’re utilizing 16 sensors to proactively look and make seven combine adjustments. We’re adjusting forward ground speed, rotor speed, upper sieve, lower sieve, pre-sieve and lower cage vanes. We’re adjusting those to meet one of those three modes: performance, maximum throughput and fixed throughput.
“And now we have a fourth mode, which is grain quality. So we have a camera that is looking for MOG, crackeds, and brokens. The nice part is not only are we adjusting forward ground speed, we’re adjusting the whole machine. And that’s for the four crop types, soybeans, corn, canola and wheat. But we’re certainly trying to understand other crops. And that’s based on customer demand.”
Up front the basic combine design gets a completely re-engineered feeder house and the feeder floor has been lowered by 20 millimetres to improve material flow.
“For a canola grower, it’s really going to help the feeding of the crop,” says Blasiak. “And we went from a three-piece floor to a two piece, so we reduced the number of seams there, which will result in less wear and more reliability. We’ve changed the feeder top shaft design. We’ve gone to a crown spline coupler, so we get three times the life out of that versus the previous design.”
The 250 series combines also get a self-levelling cleaning system, which the brand claims will allow them to clean and move grain more efficiently, particularly in uneven terrain. Brand marketers say it will ensure producers keep more grain from going out the back while maintaining ground speeds.
Attached to the Fiat Powertrain diesel engines that power the three 250 Series models (7250, 8250 and 9250) are two-speed transmissions. They will replace the four-speed versions used in the existing 240 Series. With just two ranges, they provide a wider spread of working speeds. One is for on-road travel while the other covers the full range of necessary working speeds, eliminating the need for shifting in the field.
Along with the 250 Series introduction, Case IH also debuted the new 150 Series models — an update on the lower-spec’d existing 140 Series — which will now have a throwback appearance similar to the original IH Axial-Flow models, which debuted in 1977. These limited-edition versions celebrate the 40th anniversary of IH Axial-Flow combine production and will also display retro IH decals on their flanks.
When it comes down to it, the 150 models are really the direct descendants of those original Axial-Flows with a series of updates in the intervening years as the model evolved. This year along with the retro styling, they’ll get updates, like the Cross-Flow cleaning system and two-speed transmission.