Harvesting technology, and the combine, have been on the market for decades. The basic principles of these harvesters is long established, but new tools, sensors and innovative programming are changing how these machines work. Often that means that the latest version of a new harvester may not look much different than its predecessor, when in fact it is quite a bit different – on the inside.
Take the new 250 Series from Case IH. New for 2019, these machines look familiar, though they get new detailing and model numbers. Inside, there's more going on.
The biggest enhancement for these new machines is a high-tech option called AFS Harvest Command which uses wide-ranging sensor data and an advance control system to make setting and runningthe combine much easier. Ryan Blasiak, Case IH harvesting marketing manager, delved into what will set the new machines apart noting that. "our harvest technology is not a reaction to the market, this has been under development for years," he said. "AFS Harvest Command uses 16 sensors in the combine to manage seven key factors of the machine to manage harvest."
There are three models in the line – the 7250, 8250 and the largest, the 9250. The 250 comes in essentially three option levels – standard, a middle level with feed-rate control and the top end with the AFS Harvest Command system.
All models in the 250 series feature a new two-speed transmission, which is a change from the four-speed model. "This minimizes downtime for the customer and increases efficiency in the field," Blasiak said. "There's also closed loop sensing."
With that closed loop sensing, if you head up a hill and feel the combine lagging, the system senses that and will give the machine a push, while on the down hill side it will pull back.
The two-speed electric ground drive system offers advantages and was first introduced on the 140 series. "I think of low as harvest speed and high as road travel speed. It gives you better tractive effort and wide speed range in those ratios," explained Kelly Kravig during a ride-and-drive of the new machine. Kravig is marketing manager for combines and headers at Case IH.
That two-speed range also provides a wider harvest operating range, which is valuable in higher-optioned models with the feed-rate control. That feature combined with sensor information allows the machine to speed up and slow down during harvest based on user settings.
Along with that two-speed electric shift ground-drive transmission, the 250 series gets other new features. One that many operators will appreciate is the new adjustable rotor cage vanes. The current process for adjusting those vanes is complicated, and in the heat of harvest doesn't always happen, which can impact harvest quality and in-field losses. The new system offers a manual adjustment using an easy-to-reach turnbuckle. There's an optional in-cab adjustment system that eliminates the need to remove bolts and pivot those vanes. And in the highest end system, the rotor cage vanes can be altered as part of the AFS Harvest Command system.
There's a redesigned feeder house with an optional feeder fore/aft face plate control that allows in-cab adjustment. And other changes have been made to enhance durability. "We've lowered the floor design, which will improve harvest in crops like canola too," Blasiak said.
And there's the self-leveling cleaning system that can save more grain even on hillsides while maintaining harvest ground speed. And the system now includes in-cab adjustable pre-sieve allowing the operator to make adjustments on the go.
The 250 series includes a base machine – with that two-speed drive, enhanced feeder house and manually adjustable rotor cage vanes. Moving up, there are more features to consider.
In the middle level machine there's a more advanced harvest control system that provides three settings – performance, fixed throughput and maximum throughput. The operator sets the machine within one of those parameters, the machine does the rest. "With the new ground drive we have a feed-rate control algorithm," Blasiak said. "We can automatically adjust ground speed to maintain capacity and manage losses. It's part of our high-efficiency harvesting system."
The operator chooses the mode for operation and using those sensors, the combine adjusts to maintain specific settings. With feed-rate control, the operator can set an operational range too, including maximum forward ground speed and engine load. "Some operators like to operate at up to 110% of engine load, while others won't see that number rise above 100%," Blasiak said.
And for the top end system – AFS Harvest Command – there's a more advanced algorithm that a user can set for a specific crop and throughout harvest the machine will automatically adjust for changing conditions. "We're not eliminating the need for the operator to get out of the combine and check for grain loss," Blasiak said. He added that once those settings are fine-tuned based on operator need the machine will alter settings on the go automatically.
This highest level option adds grain quality as a setting, and uses added sensors, including a camera, to "see" grain in the system. The new 250 series combines from Case IH bring a high level of technology to harvest for the 2019 season. AFS Harvest Command is up and running for corn, soybeans, wheat and canola. Other crops including barley and rice are in the works.
Looking back with the 150
During the past three years, Case IH has made a range of changes to its 140 series machines. These are essentially the original axial flow designs with enhanced cabs, the incorporation of continuously variable transmission drives and other features. "We've made a lot of changes to those machines and we wanted to acknowledge that with the new model designation, the 150 series," Kravig said.
Those enhancements include the two-speed electric ground drive (available here before the 250 series) and the Cross Flow cleaning system that uses an actuator to vibrate the cleaning system to keep material flow more level in rolling conditions.
These machines – the 5150, 6150 and 7150 – in class 5, 6 and 7 sizes – remain popular for operations in the 1,200- to 3,000-acre size. And to acknowledge their original rotary heritage, for 2019 they get "retro" paint jobs and cab tops.
"This was something that was tried in Australia and was very popular," Kravig said. "These machines get the white cab top and white tire rims."
Note, the 150 and 250 series will be on hand for the major fall farm shows with their farmer-debut at the 2018 Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa, August 28 to 30. And the 250 series will be included in the field demos, Kravig noted.
These machines will only get that livery for the 2019 season. You can learn more about the new machines at caseih.com.