MFs range-topper goes for even greater output
Still a conventional straw
walker combine harvester,
but Massey Ferguson has
managed to squeeze even
greater output out of the
system to create its new
range-topping 7278 – the
Cereon. Andy Collings reports
HAS Massey Ferguson achieved the ultimate – the maximum output achievable from a conventional straw walker combine harvester?
It is a good question. Bearing in mind that one of the key factors in combine output is the available separation area – and that is size – the limitations would appear to lie in a machines ability to be operated and transported effectively.
So if combines are not to become larger dimensionally then their harvesting efficiency has to be improved. And that is what MF design engineers believe they have achieved with the new 7278 combine, which now tops out MFs 7000 series introduced last year.
The Cereon, as the model is called, is claimed to offer 20% higher output, compared with the earlier MF40 combine. While MF is reluctant to quote actual hourly tonnage, this would still appear to be a significant increase.
But it is not just about output, insists the company. A series of design improvements has also enabled large volumes of crop material to be handled in a wide variety of conditions, an important development considering the stems of many modern cereal varieties are still relatively green when the heads are ready for harvest.
MF engineers achieved these gains by, first, installing a more powerful engine – a 387hp 6-cyl Sisu block, which should, they say, provide ample power for the machine in all crop types.
Other areas majored in include the concave, grain pan, elevators and augers. Starting with the concave, the 7278 is fitted with a version which has 12 bars, rather than 13, eight centre supports instead of six, and a wider gap between the concave wires.
The result is a heavy duty, high capacity unit having greater permeability than before, which means greater separation capacity, an increase in overall capacity, and a reduction in sensitivity to changes of harvesting conditions.
A major change in the key straw walker department sees the use of eight walkers rather than six, even though the width and length of this section remains the same. Clearly narrower, the other main difference is that the first step is longer and the second shorter.
This, combined with a new design of crankshaft and geometry of crank movement, is claimed to accelerate the material on the walkers and tear the material apart more aggressively.
Other claimed benefits are better use of the entire area, particularly the sides, and reduced unequal loading when working across slopes. MF says the grain pan and shaker shoe also function better thanks to positioning the crankshafts to provide more space on these units.
It is one thing to have a high capacity threshing system onboard but it counts for little unless sufficient crop volumes can enter the machine and exploit it.
Fitted as standard with a 7.2m (25ft) Powerflow header, table auger tweaks to improve crop entry include an increase in the number of retractable fingers – 19 instead of 15 – a lengthening of the distance between auger flights, and an extension in the distance between the cut-off strip deflector and table bottom.
Other standard equipment for the Cereon includes an auto level table and straw chopper.
Has MF squeezed the last remaining improvements from a design which, in its basic format, has changed little since the development of static threshing drums and before?
Maybe, or maybe not. There is still one prime area that most combine engineers must have had their eye on for years – the grain tank.
The Cereon has a voluminous 10,500-litre tank, which represents a vast area which could be utilised for crop separation. It also means the combine has to be built to carry 10t+ of grain, with all the extra design problems and potential for ground compaction that involves.
Is it possible that future combines will rely on much smaller grain reservoirs and more on on-the-move off-loading?
With the increased capacity that could conceivably be achieved by utilising this area, there are those who believe this could be the next development. *
Engine Sisu 6-cyl 387hp.
Transmission 4-speed hydrostatic.
Table standard 7.2m Powerflow, Autolevel.
Cylinder width/diameter 1680mm/600mm.
Concave 1.6sq m, 12 bars.
Grain tank 10,500 litres.
Massey Fergusons new flagship combine – the Cereon, which now tops out the companys range.
Eight straw walkers provide an aggressive tearing action as the straw is accelerated over them. Benefits include better use of the entire area.