CLAAS-y celebration mark combine’s 25th birthday

Headshot of Cally Dupe
Cally DupeCountryman
Email Cally Dupe
Product manager Steve Reeves inside the CLAAS LEXION 880 combine harvester.Picture: Cally Dupe
Camera IconProduct manager Steve Reeves inside the CLAAS LEXION 880 combine harvester.Picture: Cally Dupe Credit: Countryman

CLAAS is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its LEXION combine harvester.

CLAAS Harvest Centre LEXION product manager Steve Reeves said the legend started with LEXION 480, the world’s first combine harvester to incorporate the patented APS HYBRID system.

He said the technology — which allows residual grain separation — was recognised as a “breakthrough” in harvesting technology at the time.

“It combines an accelerated pre-separation system with twin longitudinal rotors for residual grain separation,” he said.

“This allows the LEXION to operate more efficiently and longer in all crop types and harvesting conditions.

“APS accelerates the crop flow to 20m per second, meaning 70 per cent of separation occurs before the crop even reaches the rotors.

“CLAAS is still the only manufacturer to offer both systems in the one machine.”

Camera IconThe CLAAS LEXION 8900. Credit: Thorsten Schmidtkord

Mr Reeves said APS HYBRID quickly set new benchmarks for harvesting performance.

The LEXION 480 was able to comfortably process up to 35 tonnes per hectare, a figure that rose to more than 40 tonnes per hectare with the addition of longer rotors in 1996.

The LEXION 480 also featured swivel-action spreaders that distributed straw evenly across the entire cutting width of the front attachment, as well as a high-visibility cabin and the CEBIS operating system.

In 1998, the model became the first large combine harvester to be factory-fitted with rubber crawler tracks.

“TERRA TRAC responded to the industry’s need to protect soil as front attachments became even wider and heavier,” Mr Reeves said.

“Another breakthrough came in 2011, when road speeds of up to 40km/h became possible.”

CLAAS celebrated the production of its 10,000th LEXION in 2002.

Three years later, the LEXION 600 series set a world record by harvesting 532 tonnes of wheat in eight hours.

In 2011, a LEXION 770 TERRA TRAC raised that bar to 675 tonnes.

Last year, CLAAS launched its next-generation LEXION 8000/7000 series, which features the all-new APS SYNFLOW HYBRID threshing and separation system.

The size of the threshing and feed drums have been increased by 26 per cent and 37 per cent, respectively, for optimal crop flow.

Likewise, the capacity of the residual grain separation increased by 20 per cent.

CLAAS is celebrating 25 years of the LEXION combine harvester.
Camera IconCLAAS is celebrating 25 years of the LEXION combine harvester. Credit: Thorsten Schmidtkord

“This system is the product of eight years of field development and more than 6000 hours of testing in a range of harvesting conditions and crops in 10 countries, including Australia,” Mr Reeves said.

“The 8000/7000 series is not an upgrade, it’s a new machine.”

Earlier this year, a top-of-the-line 790 horsepower LEXION 8900 TERRA TRAC broke the “sound barrier” for harvesting when it recorded peak outputs of more than 100 tonnes per hectare of wheat and averaged 94 tonnes per hectare across eight hours.

Amazingly, this throughput was achieved with grain losses of less than one per cent.

Four models are currently available in Australia.

The first three — the 8700, 7700 and 7600 — are fitted with the reliable and super-efficient 12.5-litre, six-cylinder Perkins 2206D engine.

The 8000/7000 series is not an upgrade, it’s a new machine.

Steve Reeves

The engine delivers a maximum output of 571, 524 and 461hp, respectively.

The Tier 3 engines are equipped with dynamic cooling and dynamic power.

“Dynamic cooling is an on-demand variable drive cooling system that reduces power requirement by 26 horsepower,” Mr Reeves said.

Get the latest news from in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails