Reveiw: CLAAS Liner 4800 Business

By: Mark Fouhy, Photography by: Mark Fouhy


IMG 7851 IMG 7851
IMG 7861 Folded and ready for transport IMG 7861
IMG 7864 Tyre options to suit individual preferences IMG 7864
IMG 7891 CEMIS 700 monitor IMG 7891
IMG 7894 Externally mounted gearboxes for easy servicing IMG 7894
IMG 7895 Manual or optional hydraulic rotor adjustment IMG 7895

Farm Trader checks out the CLAAS Liner 4800 Business, a machine at the top of its game and proving popular in NZ

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While twin basket and wheel v-rakes have both been common choices in the past, now a high percentage of rakes purchased are rotary, ideal for merging crops into a centre row and ranging from one to six rotors, either PTO or hydraulic driven.

CLAAS has a highly regarded reputation for producing some of the best grass equipment in the business, from mowers through to forage harvesters.

This month we had the opportunity to check out one of the new quadrotor rakes from the updated range, which has been available in New Zealand since 2022. This near-new rake (supplied by CLAAS Harvest Centre in the Waikato) is just beginning its second season with Harrison Contracting.

Having had other brands in the past, the Harrison Contracting team tends to choose CLAAS as their go-to brand for most of their grass harvesting equipment. Based out of Taumarunui, the closest tractor dealership is over an hour away, making any time lost due to breakdowns even more costly, hence the need for quality, reliable equipment being key to the service they offer clients.

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Making easy work of a heavy annual grass crop

Test time

I caught up with the Harrison Contracting team just south of Kihikihi. Although based in Kākahi, south of Taumaranui, to make the most of the investment in up-to-date equipment like the new CLAAS Liner rake, they kick off the season with some earlier annual grass harvesting in the Waikato to get maize planted before the season starts further south with their local clients.

The new CLAAS Liner 4800 Business model arrived around the start of spring 2022 — one of the first shipments of the new models into New Zealand. With a working width of 9.2 metres to 13.6 metres and given the trying weather conditions contractors face to get grass harvested within a set timeframe, the increased working width (a metre more than the previous model) allows them to cover the hectares and keep in front of the harvester.

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Putting the ground following ability of the big rake to the test

When I caught up with the Harrison Contracting team, one of the key operators, Ben Peterson was at the wheel of the Fendt 718, which was on rake duty. Weighing in at 5400kg standard, the rake was running on larger 710 tyres, with an extra two tyres per rotor to ensure the lightest impact on land, in soft conditions and soil structure. 

With a heavy annual crop to harvest, Ben had narrowed up the rake, leaving a row of between five and six feet for the Claas Jaguar 950 to chop into trucks, tractors, and trailers. The ground had carried cattle through winter and was a little on the rough side following such a wet winter.

However, the rake’s new patented double spring system with a double swivel joint gives the rotor 3D suspension. This helps each rotor follow the ground, along with minimising crop contamination, while still allowing you to operate at a reasonable ground speed. With 20% of the weight going on the front wheels of each rotor, the back of the rotor lands first, reducing unnecessary stress and damage to the rotor and tines.

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Tight headland turns are no trouble for the CLAAS Liner rake

Construction/operation

CLAAS has gone back to the drawing board and evaluated all the winning features of previous Liner model quad rotors to produce the latest generation rake built to withstand the high demands of farmers and contractors.

A trapezoid shape has been chosen for the main frame, both for its strength and low weight, decided after countless test bed hours and more than 20,000 hectares of operational testing.
Connected to the tractor with a two-point linkage (either CAT II or III, depending on the model), the CLAAS Liner rakes operate at 540 PTO rpm, with turns up to 80 degrees possible. Also model dependent, hydraulics are load-sensing on the Business models or individual hydraulic remote controlled on Trend versions.

Making use of the labelled +/- Kennfixx alloy hydraulic couplers connection is straightforward, along with designated spots for each hose on the rake when not in use. Also patented are the telescopic front rotor arms, which give working widths out to 15 metres for the 4900 Liner, while still making it small enough for road transport at three metres wide and four metres high when folded, with all the tine arms in place.

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Operating at about 10m, somewhat less than the 13.6 max operating width

Each rotor runs in a sealed oil bath, keeping them continuously lubricated and maintenance-free. There are still plenty of grease nipples on each rotor wheel, however. Universal drive shafts only require greasing every 250 hours and the travel drive shaft every 50 hours.

Should a rotor arm be damaged, they are easily removed and replaced to get you moving again with minimum downtime. Rotor suspension is one area where the latest CLAAS rakes boast huge improvements with the dual spring system. This also helps prevent rotor sway and wear while folded in transport mode.

A classy range

The latest range of CLAAS Liner quad rotor rakes includes three sizes: the 4800 being middle of the range, with the 4700 offering a working width from 9.3 metres to 12.70 metres and the 4900 offering a working width from 10.1 metres to 15 metres.

Both the 4700 and 4800 are available as Trend models. The 4800 and 4900 are already available as Business versions, with 4700 joining the Business variant in 2024.Trend offers direct control of the rake from the tractor’s spool valves with the front rotor individual lift as an option, controlled via an option CEMIS 10 control unit.

Business models are available with CEMIS 700 only and can be controlled via the CEMIS 700 or ISOBUS connection allowing the use of the tractor’s function keys to control all important functions, such as individual rotor lift, working width, or auto up and down at headlands.

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Quality gear producing a quality job

This is done either using a touchscreen or function keys on the right-hand side. Automatic fold/unfold can be set, along with the ability to program working and swath widths. For example, you could set a swath width for the forage harvester and another for the baler. If you have selected hydraulic rotor height control from the options list, this can also be set and programmed. Otherwise, there’s a standard manual height adjustment for each rotor.

Other options include transport wheel options. The machine we looked at had been upgraded to 710/45R 22.5 Vredestein tyres. Within the rotor, you can have the standard four wheels per rotor or six wheels, with two tyre size options. Six LED work lights can also be spec’d from the factory and, in my opinion, is a worthwhile investment to help protect your machine from damage if you intend to do any work after dark.

Summary

The commonly used marketing line ‘Only CLAAS for grass’ makes sense when you see this latest Liner 4800 Business model out in the field.

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12 arm rotors with four double tines per arm

Taking key design points and adding and improving upon them have given a superior product to keep CLAAS at the forefront in this space. If your rake is struggling to keep up and can’t support the optimal operation of a modern, high-capacity harvester, you’re losing efficiency and profitability as a contractor. Investing in high-performing machinery is always a worthwhile consideration.

Top features

  • Excellent ground following using a combination of hydraulic and spring-down pressure
  • Individual rotor lift and rotor adjustment on the move
  • Telescopic arms to give 4m transport height without removing arms, along with 3m width
  • High capacity to cover the ground, 9.3–13.6m working width for the 4800 Liner model
  • Trend and Business models to choose from depending on whether you require basic or high-spec

CLAAS Liner 4800 Business Specifications

Rotors

4
Working width

9.3m–13.6m

Swath width

1.4–2.4m approx.

Hitch CAT II
Dimesions

3m transport width (arms attached)
4m transport height (arms attached)

Length 10m
Weight 5400kg
Rotor diameter 3.5m
Tine arms per rotor 12
Dual tines per arm 4
Wheels per rotor chassis 4 standard, 6 optional
Tyres main frame/transport

Tyres options are
600/55R22.5 on Trend
710/45R22.5 on Business

Hydraulic requirements

Load sensing (or 1x single acting + return)

Brakes

Hydraulic or
air optional

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