Automation pushing harvester performance to new highs

Case IH 50 Series Axial-Flow 1
Case IH 50 Series Axial-Flow 1

In 1995 Case IH became the first manufacturer to introduce precision farming technology to the market with the launch of Advanced Farming Systems (AFS), and 25 years on a new AFS product is earning the praise of farmers and setting new benchmarks for efficiency and performance.

With combine automation one of the most exciting and rapidly evolving sectors of precision farming technology, Case IH’s AFS Harvest Command™ was introduced to the local market through the latest Axial-Flow 250 Series combines, launched at last year’s (2019) Wimmera Machinery Field Days.

This new combine automation allows for settings such as rotor speed, rotor cage vane angle, cleaning fan speed, and sieve positions to be continuously monitored and adjusted as conditions change – without driver intervention. In fact, the AFS Harvest Command automation on the 250 Series uses 16 sensors to control a total of seven combine functions.

“AFS Harvest Command is designed to improve grain quality and grain savings through sensing and optimising machine settings, and with this level of automation even less experienced operators can achieve a similar level of productivity and performance to their more experienced counterparts,” said Tim Slater, Case IH Australia/New Zealand Product Manager for Hay and Harvest.

“AFS Harvest Command automatically adjusts itself based upon feedback from sensors and targets the maximum ground speed and engine load as set by the operator. The additional advantage is there is no time required to establish a baseline as can be required on competitor machines. The results we’ve seen in the field and the feedback we’re getting from our customers means we’re proud to say this is the most impressive combine automation product on the market.”

Corn, soybeans, wheat and canola are already supported by the technology, and Tim said a further version of AFS Harvest Command for barley would be introduced this year (2020).

AFS Harvest Command, as the top level of automation, monitors everything from ground speed and engine load all the way up to feedrate control and sieve settings, which are based on the feedback received from the loss sensors, a grain camera and sieve pressure sensors.

These sieve pressure sensors are unique to CNH Industrial brands, including Case IH’s AFS Harvest Command product, and vital for ensuring the optimum performance of the combine. The sensors provide for the relay of data concerning the load on the sieve, which in turn allows the system to determine the difference between sieve overload and blow-out losses. A grain camera monitors grain quality, including cracked and broken kernels – as well as foreign material, allowing for the adjustment of settings as required.

“Simplicity, grain savings, grain quality and crop adaptability have always been at the heart of our Axial-Flow series. The addition of AFS Harvest Command only serves to reinforce the benefits of these features and importantly, extend them into uncharted territory – where increased performance, efficiency and productivity are the reward,” Tim said.

“What this technology can do is something we’ve never seen before, and what Case IH is currently developing and refining will ensure AFS Harvest Command remains a market leader, continuing to revolutionise the harvesting sector and redefining just what’s possible.”

Source: Case IH

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