New Holland’s latest large square baler arrived on the seen last year, boasting a host of new features and technology designed to boost operational ease and output. Alex Heath gets under the panels to find out more.
Launched just more than a year ago at Agritechnica, the first of New Holland’s new BigBaler 1290 High Density square balers has spent the summer months touring the east coast of England.
Offered in one size, 120cm by 90cm, Ian Bourke, the manufacturer’s product marketing specialist for hay and forage, says the baler performed well, even though straw yields were well below the regional averages.
“Straw quality and quantity was poor this year, nevertheless, the baler managed to pack crop into bales averaging well over 500kg, at speeds of up to 25kph.
“It spent most of its time over in the east, giving demonstrations to the straw baling gangs which provide straw to power stations, as well as straw merchants and livestock farmers.”
Tractor of choice on the baler was the firm’s T7.315 HD model, a good match according to Mr Bourke.
“The 315 has enough power to handle the baler. While on some hills it may need a bit more, we wanted to prove 400hp on the front is not needed, thanks to the features the baler is equipped with.”
The new baler is an addition to the firm’s range, sitting above its previous BigBaler Plus models and offering increased bale density, with bale haulage costs in mind.
To find out more about the machine, we caught up with it back at New Holland’s Basildon base.
Underneath the baler’s front panel is where a lot of development emphasis has been placed. In particular is the use of the firm’s new SmartShift two-speed powershift gearbox. Mr Bourke says thanks to the gearbox, start up torque is minimal, protecting the tractor’s clutch packs.
With the baler’s internal clutch packs disengaged, at start up there is no mechanical load on the tractor’s pto. The only resistance at this point is from the baler’s on-board hydraulic system which is used to control bale density.
To fire the baler up, the tractor’s pto is started in 1,000-speed and revved to 850rpm (at the shaft). Once up to speed, the baler’s IsoBus controller takes over, asking for permission from the operator to begin the start-up sequence. It then slowly engages the first clutch pack and gear on the baler, while monitoring engine speed drop, with the clutch automatically ‘feathered’ to maintain engine rpm. This gets the baler’s flywheel spinning at 470rpm. Once the required speed is reached, the baler engages the second clutch pack taking the flywheel speed to 850rpm. The terminal then requests the operator to increase the tractor pto speed to 1,000rpm, converting it through the gearbox to 1,440rpm flywheel speed.
Mr Bourke says when stopping the baler, the gearbox works back through the gears and applies a hydraulic brake, ensuring the plunger stops in the right position, at one o’clock. This allows the plunger to make three-quarters of a full revolution before it engages with the bale already in the chamber, reducing start up stress on the driveline.
Also seeing a major overhaul is the flywheel. It has an increased diameter, now measuring 1,080mm, which combined with the increased input speed, delivers 230 per cent more energy to the plunger. Mr Bourke says the increase in stored energy has made the baler more comfortable to drive, with less thrusting and backlash from the plunger strokes. This is in part down to reduced rpm drop as the plungers move forward, now just 20rpm.
Now resembling a three-spoked fan, geometry of the flywheel has been redesigned for two reasons. The first is to cool the oil pipes which surround it by drawing air over both the SmartShift gearbox and the main gearbox. The second is with the increased air movement, less debris lies over major components which warm up in operation.
The main gearbox and its fixing have been addressed with two high fixing points and one down low, lessening the chance for debris to settle. Designed specifically for this baler, with efficiency and durability in mind, two gears drive the bull gear.
To maximise productivity, the baler features two automatic modes, which automatically govern the tractors forward speed through tractor implement management. The first is Charge Control mode, designed to achieve maximum capacity, which ensures the pre-compression chamber is filled to a set amount before releasing into the stuffer chamber. The second is Slice Control, which is used to obtain the desired number of slices per bale. Mr Bourke says these features contribute to a 9 per cent increase in productivity.
In addition, using load cell sensors, plunger force on either side of the chamber can be monitored via the in-cab terminal, indicating if the load is even on the plunger or if one side is packing more than the other. This enables the operator to compensate for an uneven load by steering the tractor left or right.
The plunger has a maximum speed of 48 strokes per minute as well as a longer stroke at 748mm, moving the crop further into the bale chamber and preventing interference with the previous slice when feeding. Compared to the manufacturer’s previous balers, 58 per cent more force is generated, equating to up to 62 tonnes of pressure, says Mr Bourke.
Underneath, the 2.35-metre wide pick-up features a top-assist roller and wind guard roller to help crop flow. Tines are 5.5mm thick and are set across five tine bars rather than the four of other models, designed to cope with high feeding rates.
Another notable inclusion are low friction polypropylene pick-up tine guards. Mr Bourke says these provide smoother feeding. The use of plastic also maximises guard life because of its high flexibility and minimal deformation Pick-up tine longevity is also increased, as there is no metal on metal contact should one bend, adds Mr Bourke.
Pushing crop into the rotor, which can be equipped with 29 knives, are four cross augers and a paddle, designed to cope with high volumes of crop. Pick-up wheels are no longer pneumatic, instead a semi-solid rubber affair.
The pre-chamber stuffer has a new driveline. Running in a C-shaped profile, the pivot point moves in-line with the stuffer arm, reducing peak loads. The shear bolt protecting the knotters has been relocated, giving a fixed driveline between the stuffer gearbox and the knotter, reducing the chances of miss timings between the plunger and knotters, should the shear bolt break. The knotter’s shear bolt now resides on the needle yoke.
Haydogs now feature a stronger spring and a rubber block to prevent noise from metal on metal contact. Twine boxes pivot upwards hydraulically for access to the bale chamber. They can now carry 36 spools, up to 15kg in size, sufficient for between 1,400 to 1,500 bales per day, the targeted output for the baler, according to Mr Bourke.
Up top, knotters have had a refresh. Called LoopMaster, just two new components were needed to create a knot 37 per cent stronger than the standard knot, giving an overall increase in string tensile strength of 26 per cent. The first knot tied is the same as before, while the second is a new loop knot, which also eliminates any off-cuts.
The knotter’s gear has also been changed to facilitate the different knotting sequences and the twine disc has also been replaced, allowing the string to be pushed away after the knot has been tied, rather than being cut, says Mr Bourke.
At the rear, the density ring has been beefed-up and features seven double-acting hydraulic cylinders. Double-acting allows for greater precision when in automatic modes. The bale chamber doors measure 4,050mm long, for increased surface area and resistance, for tighter bales.
Underneath, the suspension is a hydraulic bogie set-up, linked front to back, thus equalising any changes in pressure when going over uneven surfaces. Mr Bourke says this allows for better access underneath.
A rear steering axle and 600/55R26.5 tyres protect the ground and give a 30 per cent larger contact area than previous models.
New Holland Agriculture offers a wide range of machinery whatever you cultivate, raise, harvest, bale or transport, New Holland always has the machine and equipment that fits your needs like a glove.
Tractors from 27 to 435hp, best-in-class conventional and rotary combines, round and big square balers, profit-raising telehandlers, a complete choice of tillage and grass equipment, and a selected offering of construction machines, able to perform a wide range of agricultural applications.