CLAAS is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its legendary LEXION combine harvester, which is acknowledged as the world’s most productive and efficient harvesting platform.
CLAAS Harvest Centre Product Manager – LEXION, Steve Reeves, says the legend started with LEXION 480, the world’s first combine harvester to incorporate the patented APS HYBRID system.
“APS HYBRID was rightly recognised as a breakthrough in harvesting technology at the time,” he says. “It combines an accelerated pre-separation system with twin longitudinal rotors for residual grain separation. This allows the LEXION to operate more efficiently and longer in all crop types and harvesting conditions. APS accelerates the crop flow to 20 metres/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.”
APS HYBRID quickly set new benchmarks for harvesting performance, with the LEXION 480 able to comfortably process up to 35 t/h, a figure that rose to more than 40 t/h 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, 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,” Steve says. “Another breakthrough came in 2011, when road speeds of up to 40 km/h became possible.”
CLAAS celebrated the production of its 10,000th LEXION in 2002. Just 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% and 37%, respectively, for optimal crop flow. Likewise, the capacity of the residual grain separation increased by 20%.
“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,” Steve says. “The 8000/7000 series is not an upgrade, it’s a whole new machine.”
Earlier this year, a top-of-the-line 790 hp LEXION 8900 TERRA TRAC broke the ‘sound barrier’ for harvesting when it recorded peak outputs of more than 100 t/h of wheat and averaged 94 t/h over eight hours.
Amazingly, this throughput was achieved with grain losses of less than one percent.
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 L 6 cylinder Perkins 2206D engine, which delivers a maximum output of 571, 524 and 461 hp, 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 hp,” Steve says. “The horizontal cooling system creates a ‘curtain’ that prevents dust from rising. By comparison, DYNAMIC POWER is an advanced engine management system that automatically adjusts power output to field conditions for maximum fuel efficiency. This system has been proven to deliver fuel savings of up to 10%.”
The 8800 is fitted with a 15.6 L Mercedes-Benz OM 473 LA Stage 5 engine that delivers a maximum output of 653 hp.
All models can incorporate CEMOS AUTOMATIC, a machine optimisation system that automatically monitors and optimises key operating functions, such as primary separation, cleaning, secondary separation and engine load.