LAMMA 2013 marked the start of a very special year for CLAAS UK - the 100th anniversary of August Claas setting up his own engineering company in 1913.
During its 100 years in business, CLAAS has grown from a small acorn into the largest family owned agricultural manufacturing company in the world, employing over 9,000 people and with 14 manufacturing plants spread across the globe. And central to the company's success is the fact that it has firmly remained a family company, now lead by the next generation of the CLAAS family -Cathrina Claas-Mühlhäuser.
Ingenuity and the drive to develop technology that would simplify and improve every-day operations are a strong trait in the Claas family. Whilst the Claas family business that we know today was established by August Claas in 1913, his interest in machinery was sparked by his father, Franz Claas who from a young age had been interested in agricultural technology, and in the 1880's set-up a workshop on the family farm to develop and manufacture machinery, including a highly successful cream separator and reaping and binding machines.
From working with his father, in the summer of 1913 August Claas decided to set-up his own company, manufacturing straw balers, although this then had to be put on hold with the outbreak of the First World War the following year.
Whilst the CLAAS name is widely associated with harvesting machinery, it was August Claas' development of the simple knotter in 1921 which provided the cornerstone of the company's growth and success. This ingenious invention revolutionised agriculture, and its importance is reflected in the fact that the original patents taken out in 1921 still apply to knotters used in current CLAAS balers.
From balers, August Claas then turned his attention to other machinery, including harvesting machinery and looking at how to improve on the American machinery that had been unsuccessfully trialled in Europe, resulting in the launch of the MDB in 1936, which was to be the start of a long list of combine innovations and developments, resulting in the latest LEXION 780.
When looking at the growth of CLAAS to becoming a major manufacturer on a world scale, one name stands out, Helmut Claas, whose reputation as an engineer and innovator has been recognised worldwide. Under his management, the CLAAS Group has grown and developed to be the highly successful company that we see today, developing and manufacturing innovative high performance machinery, and looking forward is now playing a leading role in how the use of electronics, GPS and other technological advances will help the farmers of the future.
August Claas, when he set-up on his own in 1913, could not have imagined that 100 years later his company would have factories and sales companies throughout the world, employing over 9,000 staff with a turnover of over €3 billion, generating profits of €255 million, and spending around €150 million on the research and development of new products.
In addition to launching the CLAAS 100 year celebrations in the UK, also on display at LAMMA 2013 will be the new ARION range of tractors.
The ARION range has proven a major seller for CLAAS and the new generation ARION 600 and 500 range builds on this success and features the latest engine technology in order to fully meet the TIER 4i emissions regulations.
However, the most noticeable new feature for operators is the cab, which is the same as that used on the top-of-the-range AXION 900 launched last year, which sets a new standard for tractors in the ARION power sector.
The cab is positioned slightly further forward, which allows the rear pillars to be moved forward and a curved rear window to be added which provides exceptional rearward visibility. The cab has just five pillars, so providing greater all-round visibility.
Internally, the slimline dashboard is mounted on the adjustable steering column, so can be swung up out of the way for easy entry, and up to five different seat options are available.
The new ARION is powered by Powertech PVX engines with DOC/DPF emissions treatment technology, that offer higher power and torque levels. Maximum power outputs range from 145hp up to 184hp, driving through the well proven and highly efficient CLAAS HEXASHIFT transmission.
As previously, all new ARION models are available in either CIS or CEBIS variants. CIS models retain the DRIVESTICK transmission control whilst CEBIS versions, in addition to having the screen incorporated into the armrest, are controlled using the new CMOTION multifunction control unit.