13 October 1995

Top heavyweight combine

By Andy Collings

THE combine with the highest capacity in the world, is the claim for the new Claas Lexion 480. With a rated output of 40t/hour, it is a claim which has some substance.

And with a price tag of £225,000 it could also be in for another record.

To achieve such an impressive output, Claas has introduced a threshing system which combines the traditional drum/concave with a rotary separation system.

The Lexion employs the companys APS threshing system used in its Mega combine range which pre-accelerates the crop ahead of the drum and pre-loosens the grain before being threshed.

The Lexion breaks with tradition by using a 1.7m (5ft 7in) wide drum with a diameter of 60cm – all other recent Claas combines, it will be recalled, are equipped with 40cm drums.

But it is after the crop leaves the drum that the most important changes are to be found. An impeller rotating at the same speed divides the crop into two streams with each being fed into a rotary separator.

Claas claims that the straw exiting the combine remains of "baler quality" but if chopping is required, the straw is directed into a chaff and straw chopping unit which then blows the material through two swiveling funnels to spread material over a 9m (30ft) width.

Front end of the Lexion, although large – 9m or 8-row maize headers are the norm – is conventional to a degree.

The use of a common central section to which outer wings can be added for different header widths, automatic height control (Auto Contour), folding dividers and single lever detachment will appeal to many users.

Positioning the 375hp Mercedes engine behind the 10,500 litre capacity grain tank, rather than the cab, will also be welcomed by operators who value a quiet working environment.

And it is in the cab that convention becomes a distant memory. No banks of switches or levers here – just a single control lever, a screen and a few selection dials.

Heart of the control system is the companys Cebis computer which, with pre-programmed data, allows the operator to press a single button to select all the settings – fan speed, drum speed, concave gap and so on – required to combine a particular crop. It is a system which can, if required, be over ridden to allow the operator to enter and store his own settings.

Among the many other functions offered by the Cebis system is a monitoring service which warns of any deviances from normal operating speeds. Claas maintains it allows harvesting to proceed with maximum efficiency at all times.