Fine-Tuned Harvests

Case IH advances its automated systems in new combine series.

Joel Reichenberger
By  Joel Reichenberger , Progressive Farmer Senior Editor
Case IH 8250, Image by Kenneth Yanga

Case IH isn’t playing catchup, explains Ryan Blasiak, Case IH harvesting marketing manager. He spoke recently during an event showcasing the manufacturer’s latest combine designs, explaining the company was waiting to make sure everything was just right before it made the big announcements.

Now, he says, all the elements have come together, and Case IH is rolling into fields with two new series, the 250 and 150 designs, each featuring three combines. The top-tier 250 class is headlined by the Harvest Commander application, an optional automated system which monitors and actively adjusts seven systems on the combine during operation to maximize efficiency.

“I’m happy to announce we have our answer to automation,” Blasiak says. “It’s not an answer to the competition. It’s been in the works for years--years of development, tens of thousands of acres, thousands of manpower hours to refine these algorithms.”

Case IH also showed off the 150 series, a step forward in efficiency and technology from previous Case designs, but also featuring a retro paint job. The series stands apart thanks to the retro color scheme, the white-capped cab harkening back to older models.

SHARP HARVESTING. The new models usher in a wealth of changes, but two stand out to the engineers and Case IH employees that helped bring the new machines to market.

First is the Harvest Command system, exclusive to the 250 series and a key to “high-efficiency harvesting,” in the words of Case. The system can control seven combine settings such as ground speed, fan speed, rotor speed and the sieves. It comes with four modes allowing a user to choose just how those settings should be optimized, performance, grain quality, max throughput and fixed throughput.

It’s the kind of system that can be a huge help to a less-experienced driver, Blasiak says, making decisions about details that often take years of experience to get correct. It can be plenty helpful for an expert driver, too.

“What we found, anyone’s a rock star for a few hours,” he says. “You can sit in that machine for two hours, but what happens at hour 12 or when you’ve had four days of 12-hour days? Are you making those setting changes when you need to the most? When it’s getting to dusk, you’re getting tired, and crop conditions are changing, are you changing those machine settings as you should be?”

So far, the system can be used in corn, wheat, soybeans and canola.

SMOOTH TRANSMISSION. The second change that has Case’s staff most excited is a new transmission, this one going in both the 250 and the 150 lines. The machines feature a two-speed transmission, switching up from a four-speed in previous models.

It allows users to bump from low speed to high speed without stopping to change gears.

“It gives the ability of customers to reach a higher variety of speeds during changing conditions, preventing that need to stop and shift,” says Matthew Horne, a global product specialist with Case IH. “It’s giving them the ability to truck across the field quickly, if needed.”

The two-speed transmission is a base feature in all the 2019 model year combines.

“The idea is to make getting to fast from slow seamless and efficient, saving time in the field,” Blasiak says.

There are other changes, too. A completely redesigned feeder house is built to handle larger headers that continue to come down the line.

POWER OFFERINGS. The 150 series includes three models: the 5150, 6150 and 7150. All are axial-flow and range from 265 hp at the low end to 375 hp for the 7150.

The 250 series models range in horsepower ratings from 402 hp for the 7250 to 480 hp for the 8250 and 550 hp for the 9250. They are larger machines all the way around and feature larger grain tanks than the 150 series, 315- to 400-bushel tanks compared to 250- and 300-bushel tanks. They also feature faster unloading rates, from 4.0 to 4.5 bushels per second compared to 2.5 to 4.0 on the 150 series.

“A lot of these changes customers have been asking for, for a while,” Blasiak says of the new machines. “We’re just validating them, making sure they’re at where they need to be, getting them up to spec so we can deliver on what they’re looking for.”

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Joel Reichenberger