Nebraska Farmer Logo

New Class 8 combines bring new innovation to create optimum harvest, while staying true to ideals of first Gleaner built 90 years ago.

Tyler Harris, Editor

August 21, 2013

6 Min Read

It's been 90 years since the Baldwin brothers built the first Gleaner harvester near Nickerson, Kan. On Aug. 15, over 1,500 people gathered at Wichita's Hartman Arena for Gleaner's launch of its Tier 4 Final Class 6 through 8 platforms and the first Class 8 transverse rotary combine in the industry.

Kevin Bien, Gleaner brand marketing manager, says 90 years of innovation have led directly to the new combines, which stay true to the original Gleaner ideals of durability, simplicity, and grain quality.

Class 8 combines are defined by their horsepower. The S88 and S78 have new Tier 4 Final engines – AGCO Power 9.8 liter 7 cylinder engines with dual turbochargers. The S88 is rated at 430 horsepower with a maximum boost of 471 horsepower, and the S78 at 375 horsepower with a maximum boost to 451 horsepower.

The S68 keeps its 8.4 liter, which has also been updated with dual turbochargers. It is rated at 322 horsepower with a maximum boost to 390 horsepower.

"It's a pretty exciting thing, because when you go to Tier 4 Final, you wouldn't expect that your fuel consumption numbers would actually drop," Bien says. "But we actually improved our torque and fuel consumption by going to the twin turbochargers on the engines that we have in all three models."

The engines meet Tier 4 emissions standards without using a heat-generating diesel particulate filter, or DPF, which is often used to remove diesel particulate matter. The new Gleaners avoid this by using selective catalytic reduction, or SCR, and external-cooled exhausted gas recirculation.

Improving grain quality and throughput capacity
Upgrading the Super Series actually started three years ago with its launch. With the industry's only transverse rotor, the 2011 model year had a huge processing capacity, increasing the volume by 48% with 360 degrees of separating area.

Grain spends less time in the separator, meaning improved grain quality – one of Gleaner's key traits. "The processor was already there," Bien says. "So what we started to do then is start looking at those areas that we would have to upgrade when we'd bump the horsepower up."

Gleaner engineers went through every drive of the machine to find areas that could be improved for the Optimum Harvesting Performance platform. One new feature is the new Dura-Guard two-speed rotor gearbox. The gearbox can reverse, making it easier to remove any foreign material plugging the rotor. It is designed to accommodate the needs of the Class 8 and changing harvesting dynamics of today and the future, with more grain going through the machine. It can also be found on the new Class 6 and 7.

The speeds on the gearbox overlap. "The key is that this new gearbox allows me to accommodate for a wider variance of crop conditions, and a wider variance of speeds," Bien explains. "This allows me to run on the high side of the low range of the gearbox in a lot of crops and conditions so that I get more torque."

They also upgraded the front feed conveyor system to deliver the crop to the processor faster.

 "We ended up changing the slat configuration on the feed chain on the front," Bien says. "What we do is we grab the crop and then we release it quicker to the rear feed conveyor, so we can get it into the processor, because the big challenge right now is to feed that animal."

To help pull the crop into the processor faster, the rear feed conveyor was also upgraded.

"On the rear feed conveyor area, we actually went to a two V belt system which basically changed everything on the right-hand side of the combine in model year 2013, getting ready for the S8," Bien continues. "Now we've increased the amount of volume we can take through there and the amount of horsepower. We can actually take about 50% more horsepower through that drive system than we could in the previous models."

A new two-stage cleaning system with distribution augers and accelerator rolls accelerates the crop at four times the speed of gravity, eliminating most of the material other than grain, or MOG, before it gets to the cleaning shoe.

"We're doing two-thirds of the cleaning before [the grain] ever hits the shoe," Bien says, adding other manufacturers clean all grain on the shoe. "When you get a wet year and you have wet leaves and you've got all that MOG that you're having to deal with, the shoe is having to work itself to death."

The clean-grain elevator has 30% more capacity and moves grain away from the shoe faster. The new clean-grain cross auger has a deeper grain auger trough, a below-centerline cross auger, and heavier chain and thicker elevator paddles.

It also has the fastest unloading rate in the industry at 4 bushels a second. "The two-auger unloader system has a cross auger in the grain tank, and when it transitions to the unloader, it's a shallow 29-degree angle. So there's not three augers with 90-degree angles found on turret systems," Bien explains.

This means less wear, better grain quality, and less horsepower needed. "Anytime you have a 90-degree angle, imagine the amount of horsepower it takes to move that grain," he says.

More horsepower where it counts
A key Gleaner feature is a lighter weight, even with its 390-bushel grain bin. Gleaner's Natural Flow system, which moves the crop from feeding to threshing in a "smooth ribbon" without changing direction, allows a more compact, lightweight combine.

"The S88 touts itself as a 15,600-pound lighter combine than one of our leading competitors out there," Bien says. "That translates to about 31 horsepower that you save with the Gleaner. That savings goes directly to the separator."

Another horsepower-saving feature is the new SmartCooling system, which uses a reversing variable-pitch fan. It monitors air intake temperature, coolant temperature, hydraulic oil temperature and outside ambient temperature, and adjusts pitch accordingly.

Every 15 minutes for 5 seconds, it automatically reverses the air and blows out the radiator, cooler, and rotary screen, and tilts back to a 40-degree pitch and cleans the engine compartment. It cleans and cools with up to 66% less horsepower.

"We can avoid doing the one thing that most customers just hate: having to get an air compressor out, having to clean your radiator out because you've got a lot of soybean fuzz or you've got chaff and debris in the radiator," Bien says. "[The operator] always knows he never has a plugged radiator, or any coolers, he never has to worry about a heat buildup because the radiator's plugged. It's piece of mind that he has."

Reducing these factors, or parasitics, contributes to more horsepower going to the separator, a key Gleaner feature and focus of the new combines.

"Up to 88% of the rated horsepower is getting to that main clutch shaft," Bien says of the S88. "When the customer is in the field, he's also going to see a higher horsepower utilization to the separator due to lower weight and more efficient drives."

For more information, see the newest Gleaner combine on display at the 2013 Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Ill., on the AGCO lot, off Central between Second and Third Streets. The combine can also be seen in the field during harvesting demonstrations.

About the Author(s)

Tyler Harris

Editor, Wallaces Farmer

Tyler Harris is the editor for Wallaces Farmer. He started at Farm Progress as a field editor, covering Missouri, Kansas and Iowa. Before joining Farm Progress, Tyler got his feet wet covering agriculture and rural issues while attending the University of Iowa, taking any chance he could to get outside the city limits and get on to the farm. This included working for Kalona News, south of Iowa City in the town of Kalona, followed by an internship at Wallaces Farmer in Des Moines after graduation.

Coming from a farm family in southwest Iowa, Tyler is largely interested in how issues impact people at the producer level. True to the reason he started reporting, he loves getting out of town and meeting with producers on the farm, which also gives him a firsthand look at how agriculture and urban interact.

Subscribe to receive top agriculture news
Be informed daily with these free e-newsletters

You May Also Like