When Case IH introduces its 2003 combines at farm shows this fall, the first thing you'll notice is that the combines are bigger. The first thing the Case IH rep will tell you is that the axial-flow rotor that distinguishes a Case combine from other brands is getting its biggest overhaul since the technology came to market in 1977.

The combines

Although Case has discontinued its smallest Class IV 2344 combine because of lack of demand, it will continue making the Class V and VI 2366 and 2388 with more horsepower and throughput. And the radically new Class VII AFX7010 and AFX8010 will pump out 325 to 375 hp. The Class VIIs (the biggest might be called a Class VIII) will employ a first-of-its-kind continuously variable transmission on the rotor and feeder systems.

The 2366 combines have 10 additional horsepower with a new Case IH air-to-air, intercooled engine for improved performance. But the engines run quieter because they have new mufflers. New air cleaners improve engine performance and simplify service.

Heavy-duty, non-powered guide axles with dual cylinders add strength for hillside and 12-row applications. A new cover for the thrust bearing on the Cross Flow fan improves bearing life by preventing material from entering the thrust bearing.

From the new operator station, you can use the updated Case IH Advanced Farming System Universal Display to watch moisture and yield maps develop as the combine travels through the field. The new Case IH AFS100 WAAS receiver provides free satellite-based differential correction for sub-meter accuracy.

New rotor

The new rotor, called the AFX, increases throughput in a Case IH 2388 axial-flow combine by up to 25%, while improving fuel efficiency and reducing wear. Terry Snack, a Case IH combine marketing specialist, says most of the improved performance comes from a graduated pitch impeller that's shaped more like a boat motor prop than a fan.

Performance improvements can be seen most readily in tough harvesting conditions. Green, wet or down crop situations can take the AFX advantage all the way up to 25%.

Snack says graduated pitch inlet flights transition the crop from the feeder to the rotor cage. This design creates smoother, more consistent flow of material.

Other new equipment that helps the AFX rotor do its job includes an upgraded rotor drive to help maintain constant rotor speed in varying crop conditions. The new drive has larger rotor drive pulleys, along with a spliceless rotor drive belt to improve the belt's reliability and service life.

The rasp bar configuration also has been redesigned to provide more “grain-on-grain” threshing. The result is reduced wear and tear on threshing components, improved throughput, quieter operation and reduced horsepower requirements in tough harvesting conditions.

“Farmers will notice less rotor rumble with the AFX,” Snack says. “Grain flows through in a more relaxed state so there's less strain and less noise.”

Case plans to sell a kit that will allow the AFX rotor to be retrofitted into combines up to 10 years old, including the 1688, 2188 and 2388 axial-flow combines. A fully equipped dealer will be able to install the kit in about four hours. Prices for combines equipped for corn and soybeans, including a typical corn head and flex head, start at $219,754 for a 2366 and $252,659 for a 2388. For small grains, including a typical rigid head, prices start at $181,049 for a 2366 and $206,666 for a 2388. Both 2388 models can upgrade from the standard rotor to the AFX rotor for about $950. Contact Case IH, Dept. FIN, 700 State St., Racine, WI 53404, 262/636-6011, visit www.caseih.com or www.freeproductinfo.net/fin, or circle 208.