Through 25 years in the rotary combine business, Case IH has continually improved the performance of its innovative threshing system. The newest incarnation is called the AFX rotor. An integral part of the new AFX combines, the rotor also is available as an upgrade kit for Case IH 1688, 2188 and 2388 combines. We called on Team FIN farmer Erik Petry in Rochelle, IL, to test the kit on his combine. Here's what he had to say after installing it and harvesting a few fields last fall.
I'm not certain what the “AFX” stands for in Case IH AFX rotor, but I have one word that describes it: smooth. It is amazing the difference it makes over the older-style rotor.
I was given the opportunity to try the kit because I was in the midst of rebuilding my 1993 Case IH 1680 combine. I have done rotor installations before and found that this new kit installs as easily as any other type of rotor. The only changes in the kit are the rotor, so every other aspect of the combine remains the same.
The AFX rotor basically is the Rochelle specialty rotor with a screw or auger-type intake instead of the old “elephant ear” impellers, which relied on the vanes in the transition cone (the area between the feeder house chain and rotor threshing area where the material starts its spiral movement) to get the material going.
The older-style impellers would grab the crop material and rely heavily on the vanes to give it the direction back into the rotor. The old “ears,” or impellers, would grab large and uneven amounts of material and force the slugs into the rotor, which we know as “rotor rumble.”
The AFX rotor has solved this problem. Its screw-type intake, with “help” from the transition vanes, feeds the crop material into the rotor evenly, which in turn distributes the crop uniformly over the threshing area.
In my opinion, this makes the whole combine better. Even feeding equals even threshing, which means uniform separation and residue management either through the chopper or spreaders. It is the only upgrade I can think of that improves every aspect of the combine.
This is where I salute Case IH. Since day one of the axial-flow combine, any upgrade or improvement was available in kit form to update older machines. Case IH could have kept the AFX rotor for new machines only; however, this rotor kit is available for machines dating back to the early 1990s. It will fit any older 80-series combine, but the company recommends combines with the longer cleaning system, which was introduced at that time.
I did the installation myself, and the kit is in the $5,000 range. This might sound like a lot of money to put into an older combine, but after witnessing its performance this harvest, it is as if I have a “new” combine — at 1/26th the cost of a brand-new one!