Helmut Claas, for many years the managing partner of the CLAAS Group, has been awarded the Rudolf-Diesel-Medaille by the German Institute for Inventions (Deutsches Institut für Erfindungswesen) in the category "most successful achievement in the field of innovation".
"It's certainly very special to be able to receive such an honour in one's nineties. But this is less about me than about our strong team at CLAAS, and how, together, we've been able to combine a love of invention with financial success," said Helmut Claas at the award ceremony in the Hall of Fame of the Deutsches Museum in Munich.
Helmut Claas built the company, founded in 1913 by his father and uncles, into one of the world’s leading agricultural machinery enterprises. Today the company is run by the third generation of the family, his daughter Cathrina Claas-Mühlhäuser. Helmut Claas was born in 1926 in Harsewinkel, Germany, the eldest of three children. Between 1948 and 1954 he completed a degree in mechanical engineering at the Technical University of Hanover. This included a semester in Vienna and a year of agricultural studies in Paris. His special focus was always on developing pioneering products and mass-producing them economically. A whole series of innovations were initiated or co-created by Helmut Claas. For example, in the early 1970s the DOMINATOR series was developed, based on a modular or platform construction concept. The DOMINATOR became one of the most successful combine harvester models in the world. Its successor model, the LEXION, was also developed in Helmut Claas’s era. This is still considered the most advanced and capable combine harvester worldwide. The development of the JAGUAR self-propelled forage harvester was also a success story, one that enabled CLAAS to dominate global markets.
Many internationally prestigious universities in Hungary, the United Kingdom, Bulgaria and Germany have awarded honorary doctorates to Helmut Claas. For example, in 2000 he received the honorary title “Doctor of Agricultural Studies” in “recognition of his outstanding achievements in the field of agricultural engineering and his particular services in the development of high-performance, modern agricultural machines” from the University of Stuttgart-Hohenheim. It was also the University of Stuttgart-Hohenheim that, in 2004, appointed him to its honorary senate for his lifetime achievement in the field of pioneering agricultural technology. In June 2009, the then Goryachkin University of Moscow, now the Timiryazev Agricultural Academy, appointed him an honorary professor. Also in 2009, the Republic of France appointed Helmut Claas “Chevalier dans l’Ordre de la Legion d’honneur”, honouring his services as a pioneer of Franco-German cooperation.
Personal awards, such as honorary citizenship of his home town of Harsewinkel, Germany, the Medal of Merit of the German state of Baden-Württemberg, as well as the Order of Merit of the French Agriculture Minister, round off his life’s work.
The Diesel Medal is considered the "Oscars for Inventors". It is designated to be Germany’s oldest innovation award. Eugen Diesel, the son of Rudolf Diesel, initiated the award ceremony in 1953. It places a special emphasis on honouring not just scientific achievement but also the entrepreneurship based on the inventions. The selecting board of trustees consists of more than 40 board members and managing directors who bear significant entrepreneurial responsibilities within technology companies.
After the award ceremony at the Deutsches Museum in Munich, from the left: Wolfram Eberhardt (Head of CLAAS Corporate Communications), Dr. Theo Freye (Speaker of the CLAAS Executive Board until 2014), Thomas Böck (CLAAS Executive Board, responsible for Technology and Systems), Helmut Claas, Cathrina Claas-Mühlhäuser and Carl-Albrecht Bartmer (President of the German Agricultural Society - Deutsche Landwirtschafts-Gesellschaft e.V.) who hold the laudation.
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CLAAS combines high-tech and design
Modern agricultural machines are not just high-tech products – they can also score with their appealing industrial design. This is precisely what CLAAS has proven with two new products and has resulted in it once again being one of the prize winners of the internationally renowned iF Design Award.
This year’s iF Design Award Night 2017 ceremony were held at BMW Welt (BMW World) in Munich, where around 2,000 guests celebrated along with this year's award winners. Here, the high-performance CLAAS JAGUAR 900 forage harvester won an iF Design Award in the category “Product”, while the mobile GPS transmitter, RTK FIELD BASE, won a coveted iF gold award. Both products, which were in competition with 5,575 entries from 59 countries, won the jury over with their harmonious blend of technology and aesthetics.
The JAGUAR 900 won an IF Design Award in the 'Product' category; from left: Lia Budde (Manager, Budde Industrie Design), Michael Kohlem (Development Manager, CLAAS Selbstfahrende Erntemaschinen GmbH), Dirk Lahmann (Project Manager, JAGUAR), Dominik Kockentiedt (Developer, JAGUAR), Maike Budde (Designer, Budde Industrie Design), Alexander Kirchbeck (Project Manager, JAGUAR), Patrick Ehlers (Designer, Budde Industrie Design).
"The JAGUAR 900 owes its success at the iF Design Award 2017 to the close and effective collaboration between CLAAS and the firm Budde Industrie Design from Münster," says Dirk Lahmann, Project Manager for the new JAGUAR. The JAGUAR 900 is a forage harvester in the highest performance category and used for harvesting green forage. According to the verdict of the jury, its contours follow the flow of material and epitomise performance and power right down to the chopper units. The high-quality machine provides a reliable and comfortable workplace with a good field of vision. In addition, all maintenance areas are easily accessible and are geared towards the needs of the user. The large air outlets at the back enable the optimal removal of hot air from the engine. The forage harvester has a striking appearance and is entirely harmonious in every detail.
The mobile GPS radio station, RTK FIELD BASE, won gold; from left: Christian Radons (Managing Director, CLAAS E-Systems), Kalle Weiland (System and Software Steering, Precision Applications, CLAAS E-Systems) and Caren Fischer (Marketing, CLAAS E-Systems) received the prize.
The second CLAAS product to be presented with an award, the mobile GPS transmitter, RTK FIELD BASE, received an iF gold award. "It's not only in our machinery, but we also strive to achieve a perfect balance between function and form in our electronic components," said Christian Radons, Managing Director of CLAAS E-Systems, commenting on the award.
The RTK FIELD BASE fine-tunes normal GPS signals, transmits these up to six kilometres away and automatically steers entire agricultural fleets across fields with an accuracy of about 2 to 3cm. The CLAAS RTK FIELD BASE display differs significantly from competing products in that it allows customers to make all of the adjustments directly on the display without having to use external tools. All of the other design elements of the mobile transmitter are also designed to make the use of the transmitter as easy as possible; for example the handles, which make it easier to transport and set the unit up. The jury's verdict on the RTK FIELD BASE: "With this mobile base station CLAAS is not only setting standards in terms of technology. The device is a winner because of its outstanding operation and ability to adapt perfectly to operating conditions.”
A large audience watched the prize-giving held on the stand of the French agricultural magazine "Terre-net".
The crop processing technology known under the brand name SHREDLAGE® originates in the USA and is a pioneering form of maize silage treatment used by an increasing number of dairy farmers in regions with not much grassland. Typically maize is chopped at a longer chop length of 26 to 30 millimetres and processing the crop using the SHREDLAGE® cracker technology is key to the entire process. The intensive conditioning of the material increases the surface area of the chopped product many times over in a way that is designed to significantly improve bacterial fermentation after ensiling and above all during digestion in the cow's rumen. The aim of this process is to substantially increase the structural effects of maize silage in the rumen while simultaneously adding to the availability of the starch contained in all plant parts, which could lead to an increase in milk yields. In addition, the rumen-friendly silage structure is believed to improve the health of the herd.
At SIMA: SHREDLAGE® corn cracker with "Machine of the Year 2017" sticker.
SHREDLAGE® offers dairy farmers other benefits as well, besides greater milk yield and improved animal health. Its optimum starch conditioning allows for a reduction in the use of concentrated feed while still improving the milk yield. The need to supplement with highly structured fodder such as straw can be reduced or even eliminated altogether, producing even more savings. The SHREDLAGE® rollers are manufactured by CLAAS Industrietechnik in Paderborn, Germany.
This was the second year that the "Machine of the Year" awards have been presented at SIMA in a ceremony organised by the French magazine "Terre-Net" in cooperation with the German agricultural publisher DLV. The awards honour the world's best innovations in agricultural technology. A jury of journalists from several European countries specialising in agricultural machinery select winners in the competition's 17 categories. This year some 70 applications were received for consideration by the jury.
Award ceremony for "Machine of the Year 2017", left to right: Guillaume Feys (product management, CLAAS France), Hermann Lohbeck (CLAAS Group management, responsible for forage harvesting), Dr. Philipp Eustermann (CLAAS corporate development, head of mergers and acquistions), Bernd Ludewig (CLAAS Group management, responsible for sales), Bob Armstrong (Vice President Product Management, CLAAS of America), Thomas Schumacher (CLAAS market development manager) and Dieter Dänzer ("Machine of the Year" jury member).
How should agriculture respond to economic, environmental and social issues? The process of digitisation combines all these aspects, and it’s happening right here and now, wherever you look. What does digitisation mean for farmers and contractors? How will digitisation change their environment and the way they do things in future? CLAAS has been researching these issues intensively, and gives some insights into its digital agenda.
Hardware remains our core business
“CLAAS hardware”, such as combine harvesters, forage harvesters and tractors, will still be pulling its weight on farms throughout the world for many years to come. These machines are the core business for CLAAS business, and play a key role in agricultural production. The key features of CLAAS machines will continue to improve, with the ongoing development of components and of automated systems in particular, for example the CEMOS AUTOMATIC combine harvester setting, the AUTOFILL camera-operated automatic optimised trailer filling system on the forage harvester or CLAAS Sequence Management on CLAAS tractors. There will be an increased focus in future on the process as a whole. Vehicles of different kinds will increasingly work together within a network, as is already happening with the Fleet View app, for example, which optimises transport logistics for combine harvesters and tractor-trailer units.
The digital transformation of agriculture and agricultural technology
High-performance communication architecture allows a wide range of data to be made available. This data, which can be made available at any time, in almost unlimited quantities and practically anywhere, will change the way things are done both for our customers and for the sector as a whole. In future, many farmers and contractors will be focused not only on the forage harvester or tractor itself, but also on the process in which it is involved. This focus on processes such as wheat orders or harvesting at customer level will be assisted by process-related systems, for example purchase capacity for crops, dealer service or the supply of replacement parts. Thomas Böck, CLAAS Group Manager of Systems and Technology, is confident that “farmers and contractors will rise to the ‘digital challenge’”. But this obviously depends on there being excellent network coverage: “What’s the point in having everything optimised for connectivity if there’s no network available? We’re seeing enormous differences in network availability, which will impact how our machines are used throughout the world.”
A new digital agenda for CLAAS
The sector is also facing challenges. As part of its aptly named “digital agenda”, CLAAS is making sweeping changes throughout the company. This includes communications with our customers: CLAAS CONNECT gives CLAAS customers centralised digital access to all online services such as licence renewals, replacement part orders and the CLAAS range of second-hand machines.
New development centre for CLAAS E-Systems
The formation in 2014 of a new subsidiary company, CLAAS E-Systems, brought together all the electronic expertise within the CLAAS Group under one roof. The aim is to develop technologies that work independently from the vehicle and even the manufacturer, in order to integrate machines in systems and subsystems, for example dairy production and forage harvesting. In autumn 2017, CLAAS E-Systems will move to its brand-new electronic development centre in Dissen, in the south of Lower Saxony, Germany. The centre will accommodate more than 150 employees who will work in areas such as ground-contour following systems, automation, overarching electronic vehicle architecture, driver information systems and data exchange, as well as developing further solutions to keep pace with the digital growth in networked agriculture.
365FarmNet is now available for the French market
There is also an increasingly strong trend toward manufacturer-independent data integration. Agricultural information, software applications, machine data and agricultural services are bundled together on one mobile platform. The focus is no longer on manufacturers and machines, but on business processes on the farm. With the 365FarmNet farm management tool, all of this kind of data is brought together on a single interface. In future, farmers will have business management in their pocket, so to speak (via their smartphone). From SIMA 2017, 365FarmNet products and services will also be available in France. “The success of 365Farmnet comes down to the deliberate involvement of many partners, including competitors, so as to ensure that customers with differing needs are able to find the best digital solution”, says Thomas Böck.
Thomas Böck, CLAAS Group Manager of Systems and Technology
Dr. Joachim Stiegemann, Head of Product Management for CLAAS E-Systems
The focus is on the customer
Productive, sustainable agriculture/farming will make the most of digital information technology available worldwide. The continuity of communication and the exchange of information via ISOBUS or AgGateway’s transatlantic SPADE initiative will further improve the uptake of digital technologies.
CLAAS operates according to the principle that all data belongs to its customers, and only they can decide whether others should be able to use it. “The security and availability of customer data is a key factor for Farming 4.0 being accepted as part of everyday practice”, says Joachim Stiegemann, Head of Product Management for CLAAS E-Systems.
On a global scale, the speed at which work processes can be digitised will vary widely from one region to the next. CLAAS will respond with a scalable product range and enter into strategic regional partnerships. An early example of this is their involvement in the USA with Trimble and Ag Leader in the area of GPS guidance/steering systems.
The main item on the digital agenda for CLAAS is its customers, and their requirements in terms of agricultural engineering equipment.
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Analysis and Optimization of Operational Processes
Machine performance and machinery costs are two of the main factors that are crucial to profit margins of agricultural business. For contractors and larger farms, keeping track of all machine and personnel resources is a challenging task.
And maximum efficiency is essential at all times: getting to the right field quickly, seamless order completion, short logistics chains. CLAAS TELEMATICS supports the analysis and optimization of operational processes and additionally saves valuable maintenance time. CLAAS offers TELEMATICS as a standard configuration in three different versions.
On a country-specific basis, CLAAS will now offer TELEMATICS as standard on the following product ranges: The AXION 900 and 800 tractors, the XERION tractor, the JAGUAR forage harvester and LEXION and TUCANO combine harvesters. In the future, a SIM card will also be integrated in the machines ex works in the 28 countries of the EU.
Basic, advanced and professional TELEMATICS
Three versions of TELEMATICS are offered - basic, advanced and professional, which differ in terms of functionality and price. The simplest TELEMATICS version, basic, provides the most important information on the machine position and status and also displays this data in the TELEMATICS app. In addition, it also includes all the service functions, such as remote diagnostics. This package is therefore ideal for users who do not want to work intensively with the system, but who nevertheless want to use the basic functions such as navigation of the machine via the app, and who attach importance to an improved service. The advanced version of TELEMATICS accesses all the available machine data and displays a range of additional calculated key process figures. This package is designed for live use and for monitoring and optimising current processes, and therefore includes all of the app functions.
In addition to the functions mentioned above, the full professional version of TELEMATICS, offers unlimited data history which allows comprehensive data analysis in order to optimise use of the machine over prolonged periods. In addition, there is a range of analyses for specific questions and optimisations.
An important feature of TELEMATICS is the automatic documentation which can be posted in any of the three other packages in an additional package. This system generates fully automated field-related documentation of all work based on the field boundaries, tracks and machine data. The driver does not need to carry out any actions or spend time on pre-planned jobs, and their workload is therefore significantly reduced. The documentation can be printed or exported into the field catalogue as an ISOXML file.
TELEMATICS On Implements (TONI)
In addition to the tractor machine data, TONI makes it possible to also document, evaluate and optimise the data from implements. To do this, the user not only requires a TELEMATICS compatible tractor but also an ISOBUS compatible implement which also supports the TONI functions. At CLAAS, examples of these include the QUADRANT square baler or the CARGOS dual-purpose wagons. In order to ensure that this is widely available in practice as soon as possible, CLAAS is cooperating with other implement manufacturers, including Amazone, Horsch and Lemken.
With TELEMATICS, farmers, operation managers and contractors always have an overview of all their machines and can fully utilise their work rate and efficiency. Using online fleet monitoring and management, the user can identify and react promptly to potential opportunities in real time for optimisation in the work process, for example, in terms of downtime and their causes. Using the remote diagnostics and maintenance interval requests in real time, downtime can also be reduced and, finally, the system offers the highest level of data transparency and security for documentation and internal controlling.