Case IH launches Axial-Flow 250 series

By: Chris McCullough, Photography by: Chris McCullough


Farm Trader gets a preview of the three new combines from Case IH, forming the Axial-Flow 250 series

Case IH has launched three new combines, forming the Axial-Flow 250 series, in a bid to maximise operator efficiency and crop quality.

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Three new combines forming the Axial-Flow 250 series have just been launched by Case IH

The new models – 7250, 8250, and 9250 – replace the Case IH 240 series and go into production this October, ready to be rolled out for the 2019 harvest.

There have been a number of new automated features added to the 250 series, which the manufacturer says will help ensure the combine operates at maximum efficiency while ensuring grain quality is also the best it can be.

Replacing the 7240, 8240, and 9240 models in the older 240 series, the 250 series will focus on more automated changes to settings when tackling varying crop conditions during harvest.

Sam Acker, Case IH global product manager for flagship combines, said the new machines will be ready for most markets ahead of the 2019 season.

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Sam Acker, Case IH global product manager, flagship combines

"We will be rolling out the combines in each market in time for their own seasons. This means for Australia and New Zealand, production will start in the fourth quarter.

"The US, Canadian, and UK markets will also have the 250 series machines ready for work next year."

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A line-up of the new combines to harvest wheat in Germany

August von Eckardstein, Case IH harvesting product marketing manager for Europe, Middle
East, and Africa, says, "The 250 series Axial- Flow upgrades focus on improving both combine and operator productivity.

"Our aim has been to aid decision-making and make front-to-rear settings easier for a particular desired outcome. In this way, the combine can not only help to enhance an experienced operator’s performance but can also help a less-experienced one to quickly gain confidence and get the most from the machine."

New AFS Harvest Command automation

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AFS Harvest Command automation utilises 16 sensor inputs to continuously monitor the machine

One of the major changes for the new 250 series is the completely new technology in AFS Harvest Command automation. This utilises 16 sensor inputs to monitor the machine continuously and adjusts seven different settings to maximise combine performance.

Operators can manage this new technology through the in-cab AFS Pro700 terminal. The automation system is currently capable of working in wheat, oilseed rape/canola, corn/maize, and soybeans. Just a few selections according to crop type and conditions allow the operator to set the machine to perform to a desired outcome.

There are a number of options on the AFS Harvest Command to suit the level of experience of the operator, the crop condition, and type as well as the harvesting conditions.

The basic version of AFS Harvest Command features the proven Automatic Crop Settings (ACS) system. This adjusts operating items such as fan speed and concave clearance according to the crop type selected on the AFS terminal screen, eliminating the need to make individual element settings. The operator is able to adjust the combine on the go and save the settings for future use.

The next version, with Feedrate Control, adjusts ground speed based on crop load to cater for a desired outcome, performance to control losses, maximum throughput, or fixed throughput.

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A number of new automated features have been added to the Case IH 250 Series

The top specification option is full AFS Harvest Command automation, which automatically makes threshing and cleaning system adjustments based on the same desired outcomes as Feedrate Control, with the addition of grain quality monitoring.

This uses camera-based technology and sieve pressure sensing to provide further guidance to the machine’s automatic adjustment process to minimise impurities in the grain sample and maintain the best grain quality, a trait for which the Axial-Flow combine has earned its reputation. "The AFS Harvest Command automation grain camera utilises a patented multi-spectral light emission, visible and invisible, to more accurately
identify broken grains and impurities," August says.

"This patented technology helps the grain camera to more accurately monitor sample quality, illuminating it with UV, blue, green, red, and infra-red light.

"Combining the five light spectrums provides enhanced detection of the exposed starch in broken grains. The AFS terminal alerts the operator if dirt affects camera clarity," he says.

With full automation, AFS Harvest Command can be used in four different ways. In all cases, the operator sets a maximum target engine load and maximum ground speed for the combine to then operate in:

  • Performance mode: the combine operates at a speed to ensure an acceptable level of grain loss from the rotor and cleaning system.
  • Fixed throughput mode: the combine maintains a target throughput by varying its speed and adjusts settings to minimise losses.
  • Maximum throughput mode: the combine operates up to the speed or power limit set by the operator while adjusting settings to minimise grain loss from the rotor and the cleaning system.
  • Grain quality mode: the combine adjusts settings to maintain a targeted grain quality and impurity level while also minimising losses.

After selecting the ‘Basic’ tab on the AFS screen, the operator enters crop type, desired outcome/strategy, maximum ground speed, and maximum engine load. The system is then engaged and harvesting begins. 

Fine-tuning is possible via an Advanced tab that allows, for example, initial start-off settings to be altered, the frequency of automatic alterations to be adjusted, and ease of threshing to be accounted for.

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Operator comfort has been maximised in the cab with plenty of space and storage

"AFS Harvest Command automation is not designed to replace operator decisions but to enhance them, identifying the factor limiting combine performance as conditions change, displaying it and making adjustments to address it," August says.

"Experienced operators can further enhance output and grain quality and inexperienced ones can more quickly achieve productivity comparable to an experienced operator.

"For both, AFS Harvest Command means less need to worry about factors such as losses, fan speed, and rotor speed, which allows greater focus on header position and unloading."

Rotor cage and sieve upgrades

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There have been some sieve upgrades on the new combines

The rear six vanes are linked, include a greater range of adjustment, and can also be manually adjusted from ground level. By changing the pitch of the vanes, the crop will move faster or slower through the rotor cage, tuning threshing and separation performance to crop conditions for improved efficiency.

In conjunction with upper and lower sieve control, the full AFS Harvest Command automation package also features new in-cab pre-sieve adjustment, allowing AFS Harvest Command automation to automatically adjust all sieve settings according to feedback from the loss sensors, grain camera, and sieve pressure sensors. This can also be manually activated when AFS Harvest Command is not in use.

The in-cab adjustable pre-sieve is also available as a stand-alone option, which includes a remote switch allowing setting from the removable side covers.

Unique sieve pressure sensors provide AFS Harvest Command automation with sieve loading data, allowing the system to understand impending losses and make adjustments before they happen.

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New technology on the Case IH 250 Series can help a less-experienced operator quickly gain confidence to get the most from the machine

Working together with the Auto Fan option, this also helps prevent losses before they occur by detecting sieve load and combine inclination. The fan and sieves work in conjunction with each other to maintain an ideal operating setting and sieve pressure.

Transmission changes

A new hydrostatic transmission, featuring a field and a road mode and on-the-move two-speed range control, provides increased traction and means there is no need to stop and shift while working or travelling on hills.

Operated via a scalable multifunction handle speed controller, it features a closed-loop speed control that maintains the set speed in changing ground conditions. Maximum respective speeds in range one and range two are 18km/hr and 40km/hr, although, reduced maximums can be set according to operator preference and field conditions.

Complemented by uprated hydraulic drives, the transmission upgrade boosts gradeability by 36% when road travelling.

Meanwhile, a new differential lock upgrade replaces the previous mechanical pedal with a floor-mounted electrical button and braking moves from an external disc to internal oil-cooled brake, reducing required pedal pressure for the same braking effort and enhancing the cooling required in situations where continuous braking is needed.

Improvements to X-tra Chop package

The X-tra Chop straw chopper package is now fitted with a new remote switch for ground-level spreader board actuation to make accessing the engine deck easier for fuelling and maintenance.

Feeder/intake elevator upgrades

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A new 6.1-tonne lift capacity feeder is available on the largest Axial-Flow models

A new optional in-cab-controlled faceplate fore-aft feature allows the operator to alter the header fore-aft angle, with a total of 11.9 degrees of angular tilt to improve harvesting efficiency in both low-growing crops such as beans and high-growing crops.

Header height control function upgrades mean improved responsiveness and flotation, plus adjustable return-to-cut and resume lower rates.

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Factory-fit dual lateral tilt can now also help to provide enhanced control of 13.5m draper heads

As an example, when sensitivity is set high for changing terrain and the operator slows combine forward speed, the system sensitivity will also drop in the background to keep the header stable. The sensitivity setting, though, will remain at the high set point, so when the operator is able to return to the previous forward speed, the header remains responsive.

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