AGCO Corporation introduces its latest harvesting solution, the AutoDock header docking system for Fendt IDEAL combines in the USA. AutoDock is an automatic system for connecting and disconnecting combine heads. It is a time-saving, convenient option offered on DynaFlex 9300 Series draper heads and 3300 Command Series corn heads for IDEAL combines.
“Farmers need to make every minute count during harvest, and using AutoDock can save several hours of harvest time over a season for operators who change heads frequently,” says Kevin Forth, AGCO senior tactical marketing manager. “One touch of the in-cab control terminal starts the five-second AutoDock process, eliminating trips for the operator from the cab to the combine head.
“We’re very excited to introduce this technology, because it is a key first step on the way to totally automating the harvesting process in the future,” Forth says. “And it’s a nice follow-up to IDEALdrive joystick steering.”
Automated functions help keep harvest moving
The AutoDock header docking system eliminates the job of manually lifting and attaching or detaching drivelines, which normally takes two minutes or longer each time a header is connected or disconnected. Instead, the operator maneuvers the combine to the header, lifts the header from the ground or trailer with the combine, then simply pushes the attach icon on the touch-screen control panel. AutoDock uses guide pins and hydraulic actuators to automatically connect the drives on both sides of the header, connecting all mechanical, electrical and hydraulic systems with a single-point coupler while mechanically latching the header in place in only five seconds. Pushing the detach icon reverses the process when it’s time to remove the header.
“Changing headers is not only time consuming, but it can be a dirty, tiring job,” Forth says. “Staying in the cab lets the driver avoid contact with the dust, chaff and hydraulic oil that comes with handling header connections manually.” AutoDock also reduces the need for a second person on the ground to manually attach drivelines which can also minimize the opportunity for errors.
Adjusting the combine for header width and setting the sensitivity for the header height control are two additional steps that take time away from putting grain in the bin. The IDEAL combine solves these challenges. Once header settings are initially programmed into the combine’s computer, the operator simply selects the specific header, and the combine automatically configures the appropriate settings to use.
Available on all IDEAL combines and headers
The AutoDock system may be ordered as an option on all Fendt IDEAL combines. It is available for the DynaFlex 9300 Series draper head and 3300 Command Series corn heads equipped with AutoDock drivelines and adapters for the multicoupler attachment. DynaFlex 9300 Series headers come in five cutting widths from 30 to 50 feet (9 to 15 meter).
The 3300 Command Series corn heads are available in chopping and non-chopping models with 30-inch row spacing in eight-, 12- and 16-row configurations.
Although the AutoDock system is currently available only for AGCO headers, Forth says it will be made available for third party headers in the future.
See AGCO smart harvesting innovations in action
During 2021, a Fendt IDEAL combine equipped with AutoDock will be in fields for demonstrations, including at the Farm Progress Show 2021 in Decatur, Illinois USA. For an up-close look now, watch this animation.
Another new smart harvesting solution from AGCO is the IDEAL drive joystick steering system, which also will be demonstrated in 2021 and available as an option on IDEAL track combines. Replacing the steering wheel with joystick steering lets operators experience less stress and fatigue while increasing comfort and visibility of the header and feeding process.
Both AutoDock and IDEALdrive were recognized as 2021 AE50 winners by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE). The 9350 DynaFlex draper header with AutoDock also won the prestigious 2021 Davidson Prize for agricultural engineering excellence as one of the three top-scoring AE50 entries.