MARICOPA, Ariz. — The newly launched Case IH AFS Connect Magnum series tractors are said to be the largest technological step forward by the company in up to a decade.
Leo Bose, Case IH AFS and harvesting product manager, said the ability to remotely observe tractor monitors is a significant new feature.
“A dealer can assist a customer when we look at maybe setting up the display, or if they are maybe running into an issue in the field, that they can automatically have a remote display viewing session,” he said.
“So what that means is the dealer sees exactly what the customer is seeing on that display. They can work through the issue and be clear and concise of what that issue is and resolve it as fast as we can.”
The Case IH AFS Connect Magnum Series tractors for 2020 were officially launched earlier this month at the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, Kentucky.
The Western Producer was provided with a preview of the new machinery in January.
Bose said Case’s AFS portal also enables farm managers to remotely view the tractor displays with a computer or tablet. As well, they can push information such as guidance lines and yield maps to the machine.
The tractor cannot be controlled remotely, and remote monitoring occurs only at the operator’s discretion. As well, operators can easily direct data to their farm-based management systems and third-party service providers.
“With AFS Connect, I can visualize that information on a minute-by-minute basis, or on a daily basis. So I’m making management decisions with that data. AFS Connect allows us to do that, and it’s a part of that tractor,” Bose said.
He said the company chose to use an Android-based operating system it calls AFS Vision Pro to manage the AFS Connect Magnum series tractor because the open source software enables high-quality visualization and provides more options for operators.
He said the company believes it is crucial that customers know that they own the data the tractors produce.
“The end-user licence agreement that we have is that producers still own that data. So they have the option to opt in or opt out of either; a, the dealer seeing that vehicle and/or data, as well as any third party. So they have that choice,” Bose said.
Jay Barth, marketing manager for Magnum Tractors in North America, said the cab of the new high-horsepower tractors offers many new comforts.
The steering column telescope has a memory position and every time the wheel is pivoted up it will still retain the telescopic height.
The displays on the cab’s a-post have also been redesigned.
“We’ve gone full LED screen where you don’t have programmability on this screen but you do have readouts, the key functions that you are going to need for tractor operation. They are all contained up there permanently,” Barth said.
One of the changes that is most evident in the tractor cab is a new 12-inch touchscreen on the armrest, the AFS Pro 1200.
The operating system is configurable and easy to navigate, especially for those familiar with Android systems.
Users can easily change the scale of the display by shrinking or expanding it, as well as change the heading or perspective of the tractor to better see A-B lines.
Front and rear cameras are standard and there are two additional cameras that can be added.
The cameras can take photos and be viewed remotely when displayed on the monitor.
A round button at the centre of the console, called the encoder, is used to navigate the menu on the control screen.
“So if I press on the encoder down in the centre it brings up what we call a menu of different functions. I can scroll between those. I can go to air conditioning, hitch, transmission, they are all spelled out, radio, phone,” Barth said.
The multifunction handle has also been drastically changed.
There is a large button for the auto guidance engage, two electric hydraulic relay (EHR) buttons on the left-hand side to raise and lower hydraulic remotes, a button for raising and lowering the hitch and directional buttons are on the right-hand side of the handle.
“But the nice thing about our new handle design is the speed control is right here at my thumb. So I rest my hand on this handle and just sit back in the seat, and I can up-shift and down-shift with my thumb. I can just barely move it and I can control the speed of the tractor,” Barth said.
The buttons numbered five through eight on the upper right side of the control handle are programmable.
“Any function you have available on the control console can be moved to one of the buttons. I could make five turn on and off my air conditioner setting, for instance,” Barth said.
“Button one through four is down on the console in front of the arm rest, and we can program any of the four buttons to any function as well.”
The colours of the EHR buttons on the base of the main console are colour co-ordinated with the outlets on the back of the tractor.
However, the positions of the buttons can be easily changed in the control system.
“If I press on the EHR lever it’s always going to centre back now. This is different than we’ve had in the past, but it is nice. There is a lot less effort required to press these EHR levers,” Barth said.
Under the right elbow pad, which slides forward and back, are rotary controls for flow rates of the remote levers as well as hitch sensitivity settings.
“The nice thing about this tractor is that if you’re familiar with how the tractor operated in the past, you have that same functionality available to you. But if you’re really familiar with touch screens you can do that,” Barth said.
“There are some additional manual controls in the headliner so that if you just want a quick bump up of the fan speed, or if you want to jump from auto to manual, you can do it up here.”
The seat has 40 degrees of swivel and there is a pivot bolt in the centre arm for the AFS Pro 1200 monitor, so operators can quickly adjust to comfortably monitor implements working behind them.
Other cab comforts include a right-hand cup holder and storage, USB ports around the cab, as well as 110-volt power supply in a storage container behind the seat.
There are also removable areas in the back right of the cab to run cables through for implement controls.
In the headliner of the cab is an accessory track based on Ramble technology that can be used mount tablets or phones.
Telescopic mirrors are controlled from the tractor cab and marker lights are designed to breakaway when hitting an obstacle without being damaged.