500,000 CLAAS combine harvesters

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CLAAS is celebrating half a million combine harvesters built since 1936.  At this occasion, the company is producing several anniversary machines from LEXION, TRION, EVION and DOMINATOR at three locations on three continents. These will be on display at trade fairs, field days and demonstrations in the coming weeks and months.

CLAAS has been one of the pacesetters in combine harvester development for many decades. From 1936 onwards, the Harsewinkel/Germany-based family company rationalized grain harvesting in Europe with the mowing-threshing-binder with the cross-flow principle, or M.D.B. for short. The great success came in 1946 with the SUPER series, which from 1953 could also be delivered with add-on engines and from 1958 as the SUPER AUTOMATIC with a hydraulic cutting unit drive. More than 60,000 units of the SUPER were marketed worldwide and even found buyers in Canada and Uruguay.

In 1953, the family company entered the self-propelled combine harvester segment with the HERCULES, which was later renamed SF. In 1961, the MATADOR GIGANT set new standards with a cutting bar width of up to 6.0 m. Other industry-defining milestones of the 1960s included well-known names such as SENATOR, COMET, COSMOS, CORSAR, MERCATOR, PROTECTOR and COMPACT.

In 1972, the DOMINATOR series opened a new era that has lasted more than 50 years to this day. The DOMINATOR 6 and DOMINATOR 8 series featured innovations such as 3D cleaning, the AUTO CONTOUR cutting unit guidance and the MEGA threshing unit. The DOMINATOR CS with cylinder separation (commandor CS from 1986) were presented in 1981.

In 1995, the LEXION 480 with APS hybrid technology and electronic applications for the emerging precision farming era was launched, followed in1997 with the TERRA TRAC chassis technology on the LEXION. Also this technology is available for the TRION since 2021.

Machine intelligence technology followed in 2013 with CEMOS combine harvester automation. CEMOS continues to be continuously developed and expanded to include additional processes and units in combine harvesters and attachments.

The latest members of the CLAAS combine harvester family are the TRION and EVION series presented in 2021 and 2023. Together with the LEXION, they offer a range of products and equipment from the 205 hp five-walker to the 790 hp flagship LEXION 8900 TERRA TRAC with APS SYNFLOW HYBRID. All three series enable a further increase in threshing efficiency thanks to the DYNAMIC POWER engine management system and expanded CEMOS functions.

Global presence

With around 100,000 and more than 75,000 units respectively, DOMINATOR and LEXION account for the largest share of the 500,000 CLAAS combine harvesters built to date. SUPER and SUPER AUTOMATIC (approx. 65,000 units) as well as EUROPA and COLUMBUS (together approx. 60,000 combine harvesters) and the TUCANO (approx. 35,000 units) also contributed to the global success of the CLAAS combine harvesters. Features such as the multi-crop suitability, harvest performance and efficiency have been continuously optimized over decades of development work.

Over the decades, CLAAS has also supplied other manufacturers with combine harvesters. Since 1992, CLAAS combine harvesters have no longer been manufactured exclusively at the Harsewinkel headquarters. That year, the first CROP TIGER rolled off the assembly line in India, of which more than 10,000 units have been produced. Since 2001, CLAAS has also been producing LEXION hybrid combine harvesters for the North American market in its own factory in Omaha – in colored yellow and with Caterpillar branding until 2019.

Since 2013, following the takeover of Jinyee, CLAAS has also been producing combine harvesters and combine harvester components in China. The new DOMINATOR 370 hybrid combine was introduced here in 2019, followed three years later by the DOMINATOR 260 with six walkers. The new EVION, which, like the DOMINATOR 370 and 260, was developed in Harsewinkel, has also been rolling off the production line in Gaomi since 2023.

As another location in the combine harvester competence network, Törökszentmiklós in the south of Hungary has been producing cutters and corn pickers for CLAAS combine harvesters since 1997. In October 2021, the 100,000th cutting unit for CLAAS was celebrated here.

Automation, assistance and data management

Over the last 25 years automation has become an increasingly important part of further optimization in the areas of efficiency, productivity and work results. With the introduction of the throughput control device in 1974, CLAAS began integrating electronic operating aids into combine harvesters. The CEMOS, which was introduced in 2013 and has since won several awards at international trade fairs such as Agritechnica and SIMA, then proved to be a real game changer: to this day, it has been continuously expanded to include further processes in the combine harvester and on the cutting unit, enabling optimal utilization of the machine with a full focus on maximum harvesting performance – supported thanks to the unique multi-crop suitability of all CLAAS combine harvesters.

CLAAS was also one of the pioneers in combine harvester construction for precision farming applications. From 1991, yield data and GPS position data could be linked with one another – and from 1996, the LEXION even offered yield mapping via AGROCOM MAP followed in 1998 by telemetry-based fleet management via Combine Online. In 2005, LEXION combine harvesters were the first CLAAS products to be equipped with the groundbreaking TELEMATICS. From October 2024, the digital networking of CLAAS combine harvesters with the rest of the fleet, operations management and the CLAAS service and sales partner will take place in the new CLAAS connect, opening a new chapter in the area of digital machine and farm management.

Anniversary machines

In order to underline CLAAS’s global combine harvester production network and to allow all locations to participate equally in the anniversary, several anniversary machines have been and are being built with a special look. The LEXION, TRION, EVION and DOMINATOR will be on display at various national and international trade fairs as well as at field days and in demo use in the coming weeks and months. The silver metallic color represents the beginnings of CLAAS combine harvester production up to 1961, the seed green metallic represents the well-known CLAAS color scheme introduced in 1966 with the SENATOR. Knotting pattern in the CLAAS letters on both sides of the anniversary machines reference the old CLAAS shape logo with the CLAAS knotter hook – the first CLAAS patent from 1921.

“Farmers and contractors worldwide have placed their trust in us 500,000 times,” explains Jan-Hendrik Mohr, CLAAS CEO. “We are therefore celebrating this unit anniversary internationally with a global roll-out of several anniversary machines in Harsewinkel, Omaha and Gaomi.

 A CLAAS combine harvester is actually much more than a machine. Because behind every EVION, TRION, LEXION and DOMINATOR there is a powerful and professional organization with fast and reliable spare parts supply, with which we inspire customers all over the world”, Mohr concludes.

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