The Topcon-AGCO partnership bore more fruit recently with the announcement that Topcon’s AES-25 Accurate Electric Steering Wheel and the System 150 automated steering system may be used on select self-propelled windrowers from Hesston by Massey Ferguson and Challenger. These auto-steering products provide hay and small-grains producers with the most accurate and simple-to-operate assisted steering available in the industry for self-propelled windrowers.
Field demonstrations show these steering systems work together to reduce overlap and allow windrower operation at faster speeds, helping operators cut as much as 7% to 10% more hay each day than with manual steering. At the 2-centimeter accuracy level, operators were able to harvest as much as 155 acres in a 10-hour day when using a 16-foot sickle-bar head, resulting in fewer passes across the field, reduced fuel use, and less operator stress and fatigue.
“The AES-25 is an innovative and high-performance automatic steering system ideal for custom operators and professional hay growers who want maximum productivity and efficiency,” says Marlin Melander, technology marketing specialist with AGCO Advanced Technology Solutions. “The technology also results in a cleaner cut, by freeing the machine operator to watch for damaged or missing sickle sections or knives that can leave strips of crop in the field if not replaced.”
Melander also points out that guided steering means all swaths are the same size, so crop dry down is uniform for faster baling, chopping and harvesting as well as more consistent forage quality.
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According to AGCO, the AES-25 system provides up to 2 centimeters (0.8 inch) pass-to-pass and repeatable accuracy made possible by an industry-exclusive position sensor. This feature allows the System 150 to monitor the steering wheel position and make steering corrections faster and more accurately. Another feature that improves performance is the AES-25 electric drive system.
The AES-25 system’s quiet, high-torque direct-drive motor provides silent operation to prevent unwanted cab noise, and the design ensures that the AES-25 does not intrude into the operator’s working area. Utilizing a direct-drive motor means there are no external components that could interfere with day-to-day operation. Plus, the AES-25 system can be installed and steering in just minutes and transfers easily from machine to machine.