Looking back at harvester rotor technology
What's changed? Looking back at 40 years of Axial Flow
FORTY years ago the International Harvester Company launched the first mass produced single rotor technology in the Axial-Flow harvester.
Moving from the traditional straw walker to a rotary design increased capacity and translated to a significant boost in productivity for grain growers.
While mergers and acquisitions mean the International Harvester brand is no more, the legacy lives on through Case IH.
Case IH, product manager, Tim Slater said even forty years later, the Axial-Flow still stacks up.
“The technology has definitely evolved in that time, but the core design principles are still important today,” he said.
“The Axial-Flow has less drive components than anything else on the market, this simplicity in design enhances the machine’s reliability in all conditions.”
Mr Slater said other changes to the Axial Flow in the last 40 years include large increases in efficiency and power.
In 1986 a feeder reverser was added, and in 2003 a rotor reverser.
Cleaning system upgrades included a self-levelling cleaning system with hydraulic cleaning fan drive on the 240 Series, and a cross-flow cleaning system on the 140 Series.
Clean-out doors have also improved farmers’ ability to clean down their machines between crop types or at the end of the season.
Mr Slater said other milestones included the addition of the automatic header height control and automatic header tilt when used with Case IH fronts.
Long unloading augers with a pivoting spout and suspended tracks suitable for controlled traffic farming operations are other significant changes.
Mr Slater said the Axial Flow had evolved along with the demand for precision agriculture.
“We also started with precision farming, with the first yield monitors being fitted in 1996,” he said.
“This progressed through to yield mapping, auto steering and now the grain analyser for measuring oil or protein content.”
Mr Slater said the Axial-Flow had been a market leader for decades and Case IH would continue to ensure it remained the benchmark well into the future.
“We’re always listening to our customers and dealer network in terms of the changing needs of local farmers and what they’re looking for in their harvesters,” he said.
“We appreciate the harvester is one of their most important investments, and the job it does can have a big impact on a business’ bottom-line.
“We take that responsibility very seriously and continue to refine and improve our products.”
It is worth noting, that while the single rotor technology deserves to be celebrated, stablemate to Case IH, New Holland Agriculture can also be rightfully proud of the TR70.
Produced by Sperry-New Holland in 1975, the TR70 was both the first example of twin rotor technology, as well as the first mass produced rotor technology by a margin of two years.