Modern Testing Technology for CLAAS Combine Harvesters
[ Published in HOERBIGER@MOTION 02/2011 ]
In 1936, the Westphalian agricultural machinery manufacturer Gebrüder CLAAS introduced the first European combine harvester, the reaper-thresher-binder (MDB). It was a mechanical marvel. Today, harvester-threshers are high-performance machines boasting sophisticated drive technology and comprehensive on-board electronics. Through modern testing technology, HOERBIGER ensures that the complex electric systems operate flawlessly on delivery.
With the LEXION 600 and 700, CLAAS presented a new generation of powerful large combines in 2010. In 1995, the first LEXION model was the most powerful combine in the world, harvesting up to 40 tons of grain per hour. The current top product, the LEXION 770, easily manages twice this amount under the right conditions. When processing corn, it clearly surpasses the 100-ton-an-hour mark. It features innovations in every respect: in the drive, cutter bar and threshing unit, and in particular driving and operating comfort. One of the key new developments is the cab.
The cockpit of the new LEXION affords the driver more freedom of movement, well-organized controls, excellent all-round visibility as well as air conditioning. However, not only is the design of the CLAAS LEXION cab a new development–the assembly of the cab also underwent major changes at CLAAS Selbstfahrende Erntemaschinen GmbH. HOERBIGER Elektronik GmbH was able to significantly contribute to the development of the cab. HOERBIGER Elektronik GmbH from Ammerbuch, Germany, is considered a Hidden Champion in the development of test consoles and testing software.
All electrical components of a combine harvester are controlled and monitored from the cab. Previously, during the final inspection CLAAS tested all electrical circuits and the interfaces to performance-defining functions of the combine to ensure flawless operation. Subsequent rework of parts due to malfunctions entailed high costs for the required work.
To avoid these costs, HOERBIGER Elektronik GmbH developed a new cab test stand for CLAAS in close cooperation with the company. The testing system allows all electrical components to be checked as early as on the assembly line under simulated real-life conditions. The benefit: the early detection of defects avoids costly surprises during the final inspection.
The number of interfaces demonstrates just how multifaceted the scope of testing in a combine is: the cab test stand developed for CLAAS has 136 digital and 18 analog inputs, 32 digital and 24 analog outputs, as well as 16 frequency outputs and 6 CAN bus connections. The contact between the cabs and the test stands is established by adapter cable sets.
This allows the HOERBIGER test console to be used for more than the cabs of the new LEXION combine. Additionally, the electrical functions in the cabs of the mid-range TUCANO combines and the AVERO combine harvesters as well as in the cockpit of the JAGUAR forage harvester and the large XERION tractor can also be tested with HOERBIGER technology. It goes without saying that all HOERBIGER test stands are network-compatible: USB interfaces, LAN and WLAN, and high-speed CAN are standard features. To make the work of the assembly staff easier, the cab test stand can be operated via the 19 inch touch screen as well as from the cab using the wirelessly coupled "SmartControl" remote. This is a considerable benefit when performing quality controls of large machines.