Caterpillar's latest rotary separation combines are rolling out the doors of its new combine manufacturing plant in Omaha, NE. The company timed the opening of its plant in September with the introduction of four new Lexion models. The new models, identified with the letter R (Lexion 470 R, 475 R, 480 R and 485 R), are added to Caterpillar's existing line of three Lexion combines.

The upgrades in the new Lexion models include a more powerful engine and improved cab and operator controls. The Lexion 470 R and 475 R are powered with a new Cat C-9 engine rated at 340 hp. The engine provides a power bulge to 355 hp for tough working conditions. The new engine also is fuel efficient and includes Advanced Diesel Engine Management (ADEM) III technology.

The Cat C-12 engine with 400 hp is installed in the Lexion 480 R and 485 R combines. This engine provides a power bulge to 431 hp.

Redesigned cab

Caterpillar upgraded and improved the Lexion cab and controls for operator comfort. Company engineers said they spent many long days with growers in their cabs to pinpoint problems. Then they redesigned the cab to make it more comfortable and easier to operate.

For example, they widened the air-suspension seat to handle all sizes and slightly shifted the seat to one side to allow more room for the instructional seat.

They reconstructed the steering column to tilt in two places so it can be adjusted for all operators. They also redesigned the multifunction control handle for better operator control and shortened it for easier grasping. Growers can control 14 functions with the handle, including header operation, auger unloading and combine speed.

Outside the cab, Caterpillar updated the Lexion's engine air filtration system, improved its lighting and increased the durability on items prone to wear.

Like all Lexion combines, the new models are available with tracks or wheels. A buyer also may order the autopilot and laser pilot options for electronic steering.

Suggested list prices are $180,040 for the 470 R, $214,780 for the 475 R, $223,940 for the 480 R, and $253,980 for the 485 R.

Lexion owners may order a new yield-mapping program that ties the Caterpillar yield monitor and GPS system to Farm Works software. The program, called Cat Yield Tools, helps growers transfer Lexion harvest data to Farm Works yield maps. This program will replace the Agro-Map software previously used to process GPS yield data.

Floating assembly

All Lexion combines are assembled in the new 200,000-sq.-ft. plant. Major components are shipped to the plant from suppliers in the United States and from Claas in Germany. Caterpillar plans to ship combines in two to three days of receiving orders by preassembling basic machines. When a customer places an order, the company fits the basic combine with custom features the buyer wants.

Combines “float” through the plant during assembly on an air pallet conveying system. Instead of having an assembly line installed in concrete, the plant uses air pressure to move the heavy equipment down the line. This keeps the plant space flexible because nothing is anchored. And when a problem occurs on the line, the combine is floated off to the side and production continues.

For more information about the new Lexions, contact Caterpillar Agricultural Products, Dept. FIN, 8401 S. 132nd St., Omaha, NE 68138, 402/861-1070, www.cat-ag.com.