Review rewind: Krone Comprima CF 155 XC Baler Wrapper

By: Brent Lilley, Photography by: Brent Lilley


When it comes to round bales, combination baler wrappers have now pretty much taken over the market. Farm Trader takes a closer look at Krone Comprima CF 155 XC.

To see a brand spanking new Krone Comprima CF 155 XC Combination baler in action, I ventured into the Ngaroma hills in South Waikato.

Kelvin Richards, owner of KJR Contracting, has been running tractors his entire life, and his business now covers an area south of Hamilton down into King Country, specialising in round and square baling, maize and bulk silage, as well as cultivation and drilling.

The new Krone Comprima was purchased last summer to help with an increasing workload and took over main baling duties from a Claas Uniwrap. Kelvin was looking for a well-built and designed machine that could handle a variety of conditions and, of course, something with the right price tag, all of which he found with the Krone.

Pickup

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The pickup has 70mm of lateral tilt from side to side to follow ground contours, ensuring a clean job

Pickups have definitely improved in recent years and camless pickups are pretty much standard across the board on balers these days. It all makes sense, as there are a significantly reduced number of moving parts inside, meaning less wear and lower maintenance. The new Krone pickup operates 30% faster than past models, allowing for faster operating speeds while still doing a clean job.

Galvanised bands and scrapers, which are harder wearing with lower maintenance, are part of the design. Another interesting point of difference is that the tines are arranged in a helical pattern rather than rows. This is said to decrease the power required and help even out the row as it’s fed into the machine.

The working width of the pickup is an impressive 2.15 metres, offering the ability to gather up large wide rows and feed them consistently into the machine to create uniform bales. To ensure a pickup this wide can still follow the ground for a tidy job, it features 70mm of lateral tilt side to side.

A heavy-duty chain drive to the pickup incorporates a ratchet slip clutch for overload protection. Guide wheels and chains are easy to set to control pickup height, and a wind guard with tines and a roller ensure material feeds in evenly.

Rotor/knives

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A end tipper stands bales on their ends in the paddock, and folds away for easy transport

The large 530mm diameter rotor is designed to handle a massive volume of crop. Three rows of teeth on the rotor drag the crop into the bale chamber. These are arranged in a chevron patter, allowing a constant and smooth flow, which also helps produce dense uniform bales.

As standard, the Krone Coprima CF 155 is configured with 17 knives, which gives a theoretical chop length of 64mm, although, there’s an option for more knives. The knives are individually spring loaded, so will move out of harm’s way if a foreign object passes through before moving back into position.

A hydraulic drop floor holds the knife bank. If the machine is blocked, the floor can simply be lowered from the cab so the blockage is cleared. Knives are manually selected, with a tool on the baler used to turn the bar holding the knives and rotating them into the work position.

As they are in two groups, 8, 9, or 17 knives can easily be selected. The rotor is driven by a large open spur gear on the side rather than a chain. This is said to provide positive drive and trouble-free operation.

Bale chamber

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The unique Krone NovaGrip system uses steel slats mounted on rubber belts to form the bale

Krone’s unique NovoGrip system is built on the chain and slat system the company has been known for in the past. It uses steel slats mounted on a rubber belt instead of a chain to form a bale, which is said to give the best of both worlds – the strength of steel slats and the quiet running of belts.

Steel slats are well proven in straw, hay, and wet silage. They always keep material moving and the bale forming, and the baler was certainly running quieter on the day than the chain and slat balers I’ve witnessed in the past.

The belt on the edges of the slats is made up of several layers of fabric and rubber vulcanised together. A tread pattern helps it grip the drive rollers. This has been rigorously tested and is said to be at only 10% of its tear resistance when baling.

The bale chamber is semi-variable on the baler, which gives a choice of six settings in 50mm increments for bale diameter from 1250mm to 1500mm. To change the size, simply move a pin up or down a numbered hole on guide bars found on either side of the bale chamber.

The guide bar limits how far the tensioning arm will move, which limits how big the bale can get in the chamber and ensures there is positive pressure to pack bales densely.

Net

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Rolls of net are easily loaded from ground level and there’s storage for two spare rolls

The net wrap unit sits at the front of the baler, easily seen from the cab when operating. The net is electronically fed into the chamber through a guide plate when the bale reaches the desired diameter, and it feeds over a curved bar and spiral spreader bar to ensure it covers the entire bale. An adjustable net brake keeps tension on the roll to wrap net tightly around the bale to keep it uniform.

A guillotine knife swings in to cut the net at the desired length. A feature I particularly like is that the net roll is low enough that it can be loaded from the ground. Also, there’s plenty of storage for a further two rolls at the front of the baler. Twine is still an option, or more importantly, now, film is also an option for film-on-film baling and wrapping.

Wrapper

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A deep cradle and side bobbins hold the bale in the wrapper

The wrapping table on the back of the baler has a short transfer arm to catch the bale from the chamber and lift it onto the wrapper. A deep cradle and large bobbins on the sides hold the bale securely while it’s being wrapped. Twin satellites circle the bale and hold 750mm rolls. The wrapping table tilts to the rear to drop the bale at the end of the wrapping cycle, and a tipping arm stands the bale neatly on its end.

Although on the day we visited, the machine was baling hay, we did wrap a bale to see the wrapping cycle. I was impressed. Set to six layers of wrap, I clocked the process at just under 30 seconds, which I’m sure will more than easily keep up with baler output even in the heaviest crops.

The baler was being used on some undulating ground and hay bales were being paired up with the wrapping table. I was also impressed with the bale transfer to the wrapping table, which on some reasonably steep sidlings went without a hitch.

Storage under the panels on each side caters for a total of 10 spare rolls of wrap. There’s a closed-circuit hydraulic system for the wrapper with its own reservoir and pump off the drive shaft. An upgraded electronic hydraulic bank controls the entire wrapping process and the back door of the baler. It can be all sequenced automatically or operated manually from the cab.

Monitor

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The wrapping cycle is fully automated but can be interrupted or resumed on the monitor

A range of options is available for monitors for the baler from a simplistic Alpha terminal right up to the CCI 1200 fully ISOBUS compatible terminal such as with the baler I tested, which has a 12-inch colour touch screen and can display footage from two cameras.

As you would expect, there’s a wealth of info and functionality on this monitor, with easy-to-see graphics for bale size, pressure, and count, as well as the ability to name and save job tallies.

There’s also a display for the fully automatic wrapping cycle that can be interrupted or resumed at any time. Even after just a short time in the cab, I found the monitor easy to use and navigate through, with self-explanatory shortcut icon down the side of the screen and a clear uncluttered layout.

One of the few faults found with the machine is that when a roll of wrap is changed, the operator has to return to the cab to resume the wrapping cycle, whereas some other machines feature a button on the back to resume.

Summary

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The driveline is simplified with auto oiler, for easy maintenance, and grease points grouped in banks

While I have to admit that I own a belt baler and it’s my personal preference, the NovoGrip system on the Krone with steel slats mount on rubber belts intrigued me. It offers the best of both. If there’s longevity and they hold together, then this is an exceptional idea.

The pickup is also impressive. Being camless, having a side-to-side float and with tines arranged in a chevron pattern, it creates lower maintenance, a clean job, and dense uniform bales. The rest of the baler is equally well-thought-out, with an on-board hydraulic system and easy-to-operate monitor. All round, the Krone Comprima CF 155 is a great baler so is well worth considering.

Krone Comprima CF 155 XC Baler Wrapper specifications

Bale diameter Semi-variable 1250–1500 mm
Bale width 1200mm
Pickup working width 2.150mm
Knives 17, chop length 64mm
Tyre size Tandem axle with 500/55-20 tyres
Power requirement Minimum 100hp
Length .58m
Width 2.96m
Height 3.4m

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