Production has commenced in the United States of what is claimed to be the first a completely new combine design since the mid-20th century, following the decision of the team behind the Tribine concept to put the machine into commercial production.
First shown in prototype form back in 2013, the Tribine is said to have been under development by its inventor, Indiana farmer Ben Dillon, for nearly 20 years. Back in the early 1990s he decided that grain tank capacity was the limiting factor in keeping his combines on the move, and experimented with a neighbour in designing and building a machine that would overcome this. Four generations of prototype models were built before Mr Dillon decided to recruit an engineering team, construct a factory and commercialise production of the fifth generation design.
After initial test, units used key components from AGCO, including the transverse rotor from a Gleaner S series combine and the same machine’s cab, the final production version uses an axial rotor and an in-house cab design.
Mr Dillon says the thinking behind the Tribine design is centred on improved efficiency and reduced compaction, with field haulage traffic reduced and the machine able to hold around a truck’s-worth of grain. With articulated steering and a pivoting rear axle, the combine leaves a single set of tracks, when turning at the headland.
The key difference in design of the new machine is the incorporation of separate 36,000-litre grain tank module sited at the rear behind an articulation point, which despite its size is still said to take only two minutes to empty. The Tribine, which features its four equal-sized driven wheels, distributes chopped straw not only down between the two main parts of the machine, but also out to each side.
While the grain tank size alone puts the Tribine unarguably at the top of any combine size league, it’s also reckoned to have the world’s largest threshing and cleaning system, with twice the cleaning area of any other model available. The large diameter rotor has a concave wrap of 270 degrees concave wrap, while the almost full-width cleaning system uses an advanced pneumatic cleaning. The header is a 13.5m/45ft bought-in unit from MacDon.
The final production version of the machine not only features different internals within the body, but also provides a very different experience for the operator. That’s because inside the Tribine team’s own cab design, which replaces the AGCO unit featured on test machines, there is no steering wheel. With in-field steering now largely the responsibility on most combines of GPS guidance, the design team instead decided to replace the steering column with a joystick for the operator’s right hand. Removal of the wheel and column has allowed the installation of a glass floor, and there is full visibility right through to the centre of the header auger and into the elevator.
There is another big design difference in the way the machine is powered, with two separate engines, providing a total of 590hp, fed by a 1,892-litre fuel tank claimed to provide enough capacity for 24 hours of continuous operation.
Currently it’s not known whether the company plans to appoint dealers in North America or on other continents, or sell direct, and the Tribine has not been tested in European conditions.Google+