Claas giants now come with straw walkers
By Andrew Faulkner
THE massive Claas Lexion 480 combine is multiplying, with six new models joining the Lexion line-up for harvest 97.
Similar in most respects to the high profile, 40t/hour flagship, there is one fundamental difference: The six new machines lose the 480s two rotary separators and gain either five or six straw walkers.
"The Lexions modular build makes extending the range a simple process," says Laurence Rooke, Claas UKs product manager for combines.
"In fact, anyone who looked carefully at the rotary 480 last year would have noticed bolt holes in the side panels ready to take the walker module."
The new Lexions are designed to improve crop flow and output over and above the current Mega combines which they replace; target is 300-400t/day for the top models. And that big output philosophy extends from header to chopper, with just the firms APS pre-drum crop accelerator and Vista cab retained from the Mega machines.
Starting at the front, all Lexion headers are now of modular construction with a common centre section; different wings are simply bolted on to achieve the wider widths – up to 9m (30ft). Only the top three models get the Autocontour table – pre-set cutting height and lateral float -, as standard, whereas it comes as an extra cost option (£4000) on 405, 410 and 420. Auto-reel height and auto-matching of reel speed to travel speed are also standard on 460 and 450.
Other neat header touches include dividers which hinge for transport, and a single multi-link pipe connector for quick coupling.
Further modifications are made to the main straw elevator, which is stretched for improved header visibility and a shallower crop entry angle into the APS accelerator. This, again, is designed to smooth out and quicken material flow.
From the accelerator, the crop passes into 600mm (24in) diameter main drum – 1.7m (68in) wide on 460 and 450, 1.42m (57in) wide on the others.
In the event of a threshing overload, both main and pre-separation concaves open to allow the blockage through before returning to their pre-set position.
Straw walker width is wider – six walkers on 460 and 450, five on the rest – than on previous models as is volume over the top. This gives a greater potential throughput of material over the walkers and into the chopper which, cleverly, the driver can set for (or out of) work with the touch of one button on the top four models. The 405 and 410s choppers are engaged conventionally.
Twin ventilated sieves are standard on all but the two smaller models, while the 3D slope compensation system for hill work is an option across the complete line-up.
Now to perhaps the most important bit – where man meets machine, the cab. Claas places great emphasis on operator comfort and just about everything that can be automated, is.
The Vista cab comes with either one of two computerised control systems, depending on model: IMO on 405, 410 and 420, with CEBIS on the top trio. The two systems are similar, the main differences being CEBIS gets more memory and a smart-card downloading facility. In simple terms, a global positioning system for yield mapping becomes an easy-fit addition on CEBIS.
Both systems incorporate preprogrammed settings for different crops, 24 crops on CEBIS and eight on IMO; one touch on one button alters drum speed, concave setting, fan speed, sieve gap – even the sensitivity of the grain loss monitor. All settings can still be fine tuned manually.
A comprehensive in-cab information display enables the operator to monitor the effect of any changes. The aim is to keep the driver in the cab and working, rather than scratching about in the swath behind.
"By spending more time in the cab, you may be able to add up to 4-5t/hour to output," says Mr Rooke.
• Claas is already working on future developments for the Lexion line-up. These include auto-steering systems for maximum performance from the wider headers – "its not easy to see out to either end of 30ft" -, and a type of cruise control system in which sensors throughout the combine automatically adjust travel speed.
NEW STRAW WALKER MODELS FOR 97
m (ft)hpsq.m (sq.ft£
Lexion 4607.5 (24.6)300hp Mercedes5.8 (62.4)180,000
Lexion 4506.6 (21.7)275hp Mercedes5.8 (62.4)168,400
Lexion 4306.0 (19.7)240hp Mercedes4.8 (51.7)149,300
Lexion 4205.4 (17.7)220hp Mercedes4.8 (51.7)135,150
Lexion 4105.4 (17.7)190hp Perkins4.4 (47.4)122,100
Lexion 4054.5 (14.8)170hp Perkins4.4 (47.4)115,250
Claas Lexion 460, complete with 7.6m (25ft) header, tucking into a 7.5t/ha crop of Riband winter wheat earlier this month. In-cab monitor gave spot output of 35t/hour. Automatic settings are now possible.
An arm rest-integrated, multi-function lever to operators right has total of 12 functions.
Multi-link pipe connector speeds up switch from transport to work mode. Note bolt-together header construction; centre section is common to all models with different wings used for the different widths.