Claas has launched its brand new Claas Arion 500 and 600 series as part of its ongoing product development and investment.
Like other agricultural tractor manufacturers, this launch was partly driven by the need to meet the latest round of engine exhaust emission control regulations.
Claas, as other manufacturers have before them, used this as an opportunity to significantly update its tractors as well.
Class does not manufacture its own engines, so this allows it the flexibility to source its engines from any number of suppliers. For its Axion 900 range, Claas sourced engines from FPT-Fiat Power Train which utilise AdBlue as a means of emission control.
DPS-Deere Power System (John Deere) engines had been used almost exclusively up to that point by Claas.
So the big question at the launch of the new Arion 500 and 600 series was whether the firm would use DPS of FPT engines.
DPS has gone down the 'single fuel' route using exhaust gas recirculation and variable geometry turbos to help meet emission regulations.
FPT has stuck to AdBlue for the most part as a means of emission control which largely leaves the engine alone, instead treating the exhaust fumes with AdBlue (urea).
The answer? Claas has kept it (John Deere) green and opted for DPS engines this time around and, as the firm says, it retains the option to pick and choose.
To meet emission controls, the Tier4I (Interim) DPS engines have been fitted with a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) on the tractor's exhaust system to capture any soot produced by the combustion process.
This is commonly found on diesel cars from 2008 onwards and Claas feels that this size of tractor is better suited to this method of emission control instead of the AdBlue route.
On the DPF unit, pressure sensors at the inlet and outlet end of the DPF determine if the unit is becoming blocked and start a regeneration process if it is.
During this regeneration process, approximately 1.5l of diesel is used to burn the soot out of the DPF unit. Claas says it will automatically regenerate every 120 hours.
Temperature in the DPF during this regeneration reaches around 600°C so there is an override facility which will delay the process if the driver feels a particular working environment is unsuitable for regeneration. The life-span of the DPF unit is given as 3,500 hours, a major service interval, and so is scheduled for changing at that point.
Externally, the new models look a little different, with newly designed and styled bonnets plus a new cab.
The bonnet design is slimmer at the cab end to improve visibility.
There are more lights at the front of the bonnet and up to 14 working lights can be fitted on the tractor in total.
Larger vents in the bonnet allow more air into the tractor's cooling department where there are radiators and coolers for all of the vehicle's functions. With the DFP unit now mounted on the top of the engine, the air filter is mounted up front as well.
Claas has designed the cooling package so is can be very easily unclipped and gas struts separate all the coolers for cleaning.
The new cab is based on the four-pillar unit introduced on the Axion 900 last year.
On the new Arion 500 and 600 series, the firm has added an extra pillar on the left-hand side and fitted a smaller door to allow easier access in a restricted environment such as a feed passage in a shed.
The right-hand door is also fully functional, important on this size of tractor where access may be restricted or impossible, again in a livestock shed or similar.
Forward visibility is enhanced through the use of a one-piece windscreen; the supporting pillars under windscreen level have been done away with on the new cab. The new bonnet design helps as well. A new steering column and dash is also fitted.
Claas has designed the dash display in the same shape as the gap between the spokes in the steering wheel to give an unrestricted view of it.
Comfort is excellent as Claas fits four-point cab suspension as standard and customers can now choose either Grammer or Sears seat options.
Claas has really listened to suggestions from its customers in developing its latest 500 and 600 series. There are lots of nice little touches, such as the toolbox storage facility on the right of the tractor and another smaller tool box unit on the left.
There is also a cooler under the passenger seat to keep the hang-sandwiches and rock-shandy cold on a hot day.
As previously, the new Arion 500s and 600s are available in either CIS or CEBIS variants.
The CEBIS armrest controller incorporates the majority of the tractor's functions into it.
The CIS version has a more basic arm rest controller and manual levers for spool valve controls.
On the CIS version, Claas has moved the three-point linkage depth control knob further forward and added the pto switch onto the armrest.
Retained across the new ranges is the power-shuttle, 24x24, HEXASHIFT transmission which features six powershift and four ranges. New is a heavy duty rear axle from the 540 up that enables 710/60 R38 rear tyres to be fitted.
Lift capacity has been increased to 8t on the Arion 640 and 650, while the smaller 530 and 630 have a lift capacity of 6.9t.
All models are now fitted with 110l/min load sensing hydraulic system.
There is also now front-axle braking on 50kph models.
In designing new chassis side support rails for the new tractors equipped with front linkage and loader use, Claas consulted with its loader manufacturer, French firm MX.
Their combined design allows for easy fitting of front loader brackets if required.
This is done by simply bolting them to the side rails.
The new Arion 500 and 600 series are expected to be available this autumn.
And while no prices have been released, a rise in price above the outgoing models is certain.