Farm Industry News Blog

My day with a Lexion

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Wehrspann takes the new Claas Lexion combine for a test drive.

Those attending the event had a few hours of classroom time to learn about the features of the combine before being escorted to the track to drive one. Among them: the 3rd-generation Terra Trac suspended track system. Cebis (CLAAS Electronic on-Board Information System) machine monitoring and control system. And a newly branded line of precision farming technology called Easy, which stands for Efficient Ag Systems.

During a combine walk-around, new Easy specialist Brandon Olstad pointed out the progression of advancements that are leading to autonomous combines. He says the first was automated steering, which took over steering. The second was Cruise Pilot, a ground speed control system. And a third, which Claas just launched for the small grains grower, is Cemos Automatic, which continuously makes adjustments to machine setting to match the changing crop conditions “It makes adjustments every 15 seconds, compared to the every few hours a combine driver might think of making them,” Olstad says. “It’s just another step toward autonomy.”

With that, we stepped out to the field to give these bad boys a ride. I set my sights on Claas’s newest combine, the Lexion 780. I bummed a ride with Claas intern Julian Kollmeyer from Germany, who is finishing up a graduate degree in engineering. I sat in the buddy seat while I filmed him with my iPhone.

“I’m going to show you the Lexion 780, the biggest combine from Claas,” Kollmeyer says. “It has a 16L Mercedes-Benz engine with almost 600 hp. And, it is really quiet in the back compared to other engines.”

He revs up the engine, unfolds the grain tank in back, engages the header and separation system, and together we start down the gravel path. He explains that the Lexion 780 is Claas’s second combine they’ve labeled “Class 10” designed to power today’s biggest corn heads. (Because there are no other combines on the market with the type of size and throughput that the largest Lexion combines offer, there isn’t technically a classification for anything larger than a class 9.)

Kollmeyer points out that the combine is equipped with Claas’s Terra Trac mobile track system, now in its third-generation with full and independent suspension. The tracks are fully suspended to cushion the ride and keep the combine stable when going over ditches and around obstacles.

What I’m going to show you now is how Auto Contour works,” Kollmeyer says in reference to an automated header height control system that keeps the corn heard close to the ground by automatically adjusting to ground contours.

“When we are going over the hills, you can see how it follows the contour of the ground while keeping up the ground speed. It accurately follows the ground without the head getting stuck in the ground.”

With that, Kollmeyer powers down the combine and greets a customer waiting for his turn behind the wheel.

Other models offered up for the test drive were the new 670 series straw walker combines, launched this year at the Canada Farm Progress Show, and a 100th anniversary model signed by Helmut Class to commemorate the 450,000th unit produced.

We finished off the night with a Claas-labeled lager, steak dinner, and a brownie and ice cream topped with “Claas” green and white M&Ms. Nothing like a little subliminal advertising.

I asked one farmer whether the ride-and-drive had any influence on his next purchase decision.

“I think it does,” he says while standing in line for dinner. “You get a chance to see how the machine works and what goes into it.  I’d seriously consider buying one.”

 

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on Apr 9, 2014

The event is named as Adventures in the Field..
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The Farm Industry News Blog features commentary from Willie Vogt, Jodie Wehrspann, Kathy Huting, Lynn Grooms, Daryl Bridenbaugh and Jeff Ryan.

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