• 22-JUL-2013

Correct maintenance and operator training essential to maximise combine performance, says Case IH

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Case IH Product Specialist Paul Freeman

With harvest just around the corner, farmers should ensure that combines have been fully serviced and operators have sufficient knowledge to maximise machine performance, according to Case IH. “Getting the best from any combine depends on it being in first-class working order and the operator knowing how to get the best from the machine,” states Case IH Product Specialist Paul Freeman. “Combining is the culmination of the entire year’s investment and efforts, so it should be carried out by the most experienced staff with a long-term interest in the success of the farm. “Going into harvest, it is essential that operators refresh their knowledge of the combine, either by attending one of the courses which some Case IH dealers offer their customers or by reading the handbook thoroughly.

“Weather and crop conditions vary from season to season and it is difficult for operators to remember exactly how they set their machine the previous year. I would advise them to note the settings used for each field and crop, record how the combine performs in every condition and refer back to this information subsequently. Having these records will also make it easier for the dealer to help them to get the most out of the machine and diagnose any fault that may arise.

“Correct servicing can make an enormous difference to combine performance. The key is to have your machine serviced by an authorised dealer prior to harvest in order to benefit from the latest knowledge, software technology and genuine manufacturer’s parts. The key ingredient is our dealers’ specialist experience and just by running a combine up and stopping it technicians can often tell how the machine is performing.

“Some farmers believe that the annual service is a job they can do themselves and simply change the things that are easily visible or readily accessible, such as oil and filters. Some will often use aftermarket parts and poor-quality replacement fluids which are simply not up to the job and will inevitably compromise machine performance and reliability. One item which commonly gets missed is the air-conditioning system and every year this results in numerous unnecessary call-outs.

“The Axial-Flow is one of the simplest, most efficient combines on the market, but nevertheless prior to harvest every aspect of its operation must be checked, adjusted, serviced and, if necessary, repaired, to ensure that the machine operates perfectly. A key part of the pre-harvest service which our dealers carry out is to ensure that the power-plant and drive system is operating at optimum efficiency. Doing so requires specialist knowledge and equipment but will maximise performance and reliability, saving the customer money.

“Every farm is different, every harvest is different so when the dealer services a machine they evaluate all aspects of its performance with the customer, discuss their requirements and tailor the servicing programme accordingly. Last year was difficult for many farms, crops were frequently not in the best of condition and many had to be harvested within a tight weather window. Despite these challenges, Axial- Flow combines proved to be very versatile.

“Everything starts at the front of the machine, so it is critical to ensure, for example, that the header is correctly adjusted to suit the crop conditions and that the knife is kept sharp, as this is vital to clean, efficient cutting and feeding. Further back, the concave must be set correctly and zeroed, yet often this is missed, even though it will have a significant impact on machine performance and sample quality. At the back of the machine, the blades on the straw chopper must be correctly adjusted, balanced and kept sharp, as they have a massive impact on power consumption, which will reflect adversely on combine performance and fuel use.”

“During harvest the combine must be maintained thoroughly on a daily basis according to the manufacturer’s instructions, with key areas around drive-shafts, engine and exhaust kept clear of crop residues to avoid fire hazard. Axial-Flow combines are known for their simple, straightforward design and excellent serviceability, so this is quick and easy to do.”

The Case IH Axial-Flow® range currently includes six models, the 5130, 6130 and 7130 from 299 – 415hp, together with the 7230, 8230 and 9230 from 449 – 571hp. The latest Case IH Axial-Flow combines, launched at Cereals 2013, incorporate a redesigned cab which creates the ultimate in operator environment, together with new unloading technology that incorporates a folding auger and industryexclusive pivoting spout option to improve trailer filling accuracy feature on.

22nd July 2013