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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Case's Canadian expert, Louis Melanson did a five-hour combine clinic for RME this year which was broadcast on the Internet. Thanks to @combinemanc for finding it:

I found it pretty informative. A few random points:
  • hard thresh modules work best in position 1 on the LH side, position 2 on the RH side
  • Can increase threshing by opening concave and slowing the rotor
  • Easier vane adjustment makes a huge difference
  • New feeder is the same as the old, just with a lower floor near the back area, less bottlenecks
  • Can replace one or two of the rock beater slats with serrated ones to help feeding issues, but don't change more than two of them or you'll get wrapping.
  • Feeder speed sometimes causes problems when straight-heading, there is a way to get more speed out of it but requires a dealer program.
  • Clean with the top sieve as much as possible, keep the lower sieve open.
  • Dirty grain often means you need to make adjustments in the rotor, not the sieves or fan
  • Rotor impellors should be replaced more often. They move a lot of air that helps with separation
 

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He came to Lloydminster 2 years ago for Red Head. He is a very informative guy. Been to the red and green clinics and got more info from the red one for sure
 

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Very surprised to hear a combine expert say cover plates are not needed...... that also sounds counterintuitive to me. What about another rule of combine setting ..... ‘thresh the grain out properly the first time around’. - especially when you combine doesn’t put returns back thru the rotor. Partially threshed heads or grain that exit the rotor thru modules 1 and 2 can never be rectified and are either lost over sieves or end up in the bin.

Also makes me wonder when I hear open up concaves and slow rotor.... undoubtedly this works in right conditions but I can think of probably more situations when your Axial Flow will turn into an ‘Axial Resow as you go Flow’.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
There are certainly lots of different theories as to how the combine functions, and lots of different settings that essentially all work. No one really knows what goes on inside the combine, so it's up to your experience and guessing really.

That said, Louis' assertions make a certain amount of sense to me and they do seem to confirm what I've experienced in my conditions (he does specialize in western Canada) in wheat. I'm definitely going to try loosening the concaves and slowing the rotor. One year while doing winter wheat the adjuster for the concave broke and we did the whole field with the concave virtually wide open. Threshed out rather well I thought. No big losses. Lots of capacity. Was very interesting. We find winter wheat is a bit harder to thresh than our hard red spring wheat which in recent years has been very easy to thresh with virtually no white caps.

Louis claims, and I have heard others also say this, that the chopper hides a lot of rotor loss by grinding it to powder. He argues that choking up the concave to try to eliminate white caps could just be throwing them out the back and grinding them up.

Our hardest crop to figure out is Alfalfa seed. Typically we run with covers on the front two modules, concave at zero, and rotor at 900-1000. Speed ranges from 1.5-2 mph typically. I'm going to try slowing the rotor and opening the concave some to see what happens. I might try removing a cover plate also. Maybe an increase in ground speed will yield better threshing. Louis was asked about alfalfa at the clinic and he said all I can say is he heard that 23 degree rub bars over the first two modules helped. Alfalfa just might be a crop that no combine configuration works that well on.
 

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In my experience, cover plates are just a way of working out where the real problems lie. They’re not the fixer ….. more like a bandaide. You need better concaves if it’s not thrashing properly. Also, the tighter you have the concave, the more you turn the rotor into an auger. Many times, 10° rotor bars are a major advantage than a disadvantage. Adjustable vanes makes a massive difference to rotor thrashing & separation.
Totally agree on the “chopper doing the thrashing”. Seen that many times.
And one thing I’d say, there’s really no silver bullet to any machine. They all work well in certain conditions & they can all turn to 💩 in other conditions. You just need to understand what’s not happening when it turns to 💩 & know how to rectify the problem. Usually, one problem will manifest it’s way all through the machine causing a heap of other issues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Kind of funny. At about 4:58 someone asked Louis about changing the upper chaffer angle (which we talked about on the forum at length last year). Louis says don't move it, it will crack your chaffer. Says it only applies to New Holland. Also claims it will throw more grain over.

But this is untrue. The chaffer and hangers are identical on New Holland to the red machines. I've looked at the parts diagrams several times. Now if you move the block without adjusting the upper part of the hanger as per the instructions then it will crack the chaffer frame, no doubt about it. But when adjusted properly it does absolutely make a difference. There's no way it can crack the frame. I'm sorry it's just not possible.

Not really sure why he's so adament about this adjustment. He's a talented expert, but I've yet to see any proof that there's any difference between the New Holland chaffer and the Case IH chaffer. Furthermore, why doesn't the factory just leave off the block if it's so bad? In my opinion he's misinformed on this one. Not even the factory engineer that engaged on the forum last year could explain this. Been running for two years with the chaffer in small grains position and it just works better for us.
 

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Kind of funny. At about 4:58 someone asked Louis about changing the upper chaffer angle (which we talked about on the forum at length last year). Louis says don't move it, it will crack your chaffer. Says it only applies to New Holland. Also claims it will throw more grain over.

But this is untrue. The chaffer and hangers are identical on New Holland to the red machines. I've looked at the parts diagrams several times. Now if you move the block without adjusting the upper part of the hanger as per the instructions then it will crack the chaffer frame, no doubt about it. But when adjusted properly it does absolutely make a difference. There's no way it can crack the frame. I'm sorry it's just not possible.

Not really sure why he's so adament about this adjustment. He's a talented expert, but I've yet to see any proof that there's any difference between the New Holland chaffer and the Case IH chaffer. Furthermore, why doesn't the factory just leave off the block if it's so bad? In my opinion he's misinformed on this one. Not even the factory engineer that engaged on the forum last year could explain this. Been running for two years with the chaffer in small grains position and it just works better for us.
This is my third year with my chaffer in the small grains position as well on my 8120. My combine hasn't self-destructed and I totally agree it works better for wheat and canola.
 

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It’s a big topic and hard to do justice on here in a few sentences on account of the wide range range of situations. Rod is probably right with regards cover plates but it may be moot, as a hard thresh concave with such little open area which won’t let any unthreshed grain thru is not a lot different to a closed up one anyway.... could be argued it is still not as good because a key stock/ wire concave with covers under it provides nice grain on grain threshing aswell as having the key stocks.

With regard powdering the grain, unless there is a lot of broken grain in the tank, I’d have thought it was very unlikely the vast majority of powdered and broken grain is going out the back with no indication of what is happening in the sample. .... the chopper can mask a poor threshing job but it won’t make the grain disappear.

One of the issues I have with single rotors in brittle straw conditions is by destroying the straw so much at the rotor they can kill their own capacity because the grain is harder to separate than if the straw is mostly intact. We
 

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I’ve never had any success at all with inverted sieve settings …… in any crop. No matter what modules, what rotor speed, or what environmental conditions. I can never get that to work better (greater machine capacity & less loss) than top open more than bottom. Now I open the pre-sieve more than what is suggested in this video. Slightly more than seed size is a very good starting position. However, if thrashing is excellent & evenness of material on separation tray is very good, distribution on sieves is excellent, fan RPM & sieve loading is correct - easy to see now with sieve pressure sensors - you can open that pre-sieve up a little more. Those with HarvestCommand will see this being opened (automatically) more often than not. Vanes & pre-sieve are the ones that move the most in HarvestCommand.
Another thing I totally disagree with is Louie‘s claim that factory fit MAV chopper has no adjustments & just “throws it out”! Yep, the MAV is great for reducing rotor & sieve loss …… if that’s the way you want to reduce your green stripes after harvest …… but it’s total bullshiit that the factory fit Euro spec MAV is not adjustable. When you want to check for losses to determine if it’s rotor or sieve loss ….. just press the switch & lift the straw hood up! If you want check losses with chopper running, drop the rear discharge panel & lower the tailboard & open the straw door. It’ll all be there in one row right behind the machine.
It was a great demonstration about how much a certain amount of grain actually looks like in a known area. Also pleased that he said that driving so slow as to not “throw any grain out” - impossible to achieve anyhow - is not economical. That’s why I had the HarvestCalc app made. More on this later.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Yeah there are lots of ways of doing it. Most work, often even vastly different settings.

Personally I've never had any luck with conventional sieve settings in wheat, but perhaps as Louis says that means I need to work harder on the rotor settings. For me closing the top sieve and lowering the fan speed gets me cleaner wheat and less sieve losses every time. I've never found the rethresher to do anything in wheat, so if you have tailings, they are just going to circulate until they either get into the clean grain or go out the back. I prefer to reduce tailings to as near zero as I can. If I'm losing the tailings, then I need to work on the rotor anyway.
 

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The sieves of the flagship models actually have plenty of capacity.... I posted on this a few years ago when I ran a 7120 and did a lot of trying things over a range of conditions.... it never generated any discussion for some reason even thou I’m sure it’s a major issue. The reason I say this is I could not get the rotor to load the sieves evenly (from side to side) by adjusting the pinch point. Tried a lot of settings from conventional thinking to the the opposite..... can anyone tell me if, when they are experiencing sieve loss, that the losses are evenly across width of the machine...? Also another qualification to this question.... as long as the crop is not being totally trashed by the rotor and over loading the sieves wholesale..... I always found the right side just inside the right hand wheels would lose grain first. Also noting this was not due to returns.... I ran no to very little returns because as mentioned previously returns just recirculated.
As a result of this BS I found by running about 2 degrees of offset on the sieves towards the left compensated enough to run ok.... nevertheless simply by changing concave clearance the sieve load distribution would alter.
Sounds like the variable vane feature is a big step forward on the 50’s but on the models following the 20 series all they did was put a fridge in the cab and gave in more power.
 

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I have no doubt the position the majority of the grain exits the concaves, changes all the time depending upon rotor load, concave clearance, crop condition & weather conditions. This undoubtably affects the evenness of loading on the separation tray ….. & therefore sieves.
I‘m also wondering why the tilt angle of the cleaning system is currently not being used in automation (HarvestCommand) as we already have the sensors installed - sieve pressure sensors. - to show us this difference? Logically, this should be included as aforementioned is going to happen at some time during the harvest day ….. or night.
 

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That wouldn’t be hard to do. The so called Heritage machines had the flashing numbers for loss monitors which showed the difference from left and right side. It didn’t take me long to realise with the 7120 at times when the sieve loss went ballistic (on flat ground) that it was always on that right side. In fact at the end of each summer I used to change the sieves for the 1 5/8” deep tooth corn...... by the second season you could see the shined up pattern on the cereal sieves was worn more to the rear on the right side. I imagined this was the grain component shining up the steel as it flowed thru .... the left side was only third shined up and the right would have been closer to two thirds.
This was happening with concave pinch point settings and module options that should have been optimal ..... I experimented with all sorts of combinations and in the end the main correction Measure was to run the off set. It was still annoying tho because I had to watch the sieve loss (which i had sensitivity set quite hot to give early warning) then double check on the ground that it was the right side then piss around with the off set to get rid of the reading on the loss funnel..... it was Mickey Mouse because in some conditions the offset needed to be reduced because it was the left side that was overloading.
 

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So after listening to the video, making sure the grain is evenly distributed at the back of the grain pan is the #1 priority to getting good cleaning system importance. I know from experience my machine overload the right hand side. Louis says you can effect where the material goes by adjusting rotor speed and module clearance. He said tightening the module clearance tends to send more material to the right side, but what about rotor speed. He says to adjust it, but I don't remember hearing what direction the material will go if you speed up or slow down. Did I just miss that part?
 

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From previous combine clinics, I think the rotor speed changes material between front and rear of the cleaning shoe.
 

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I took a couple pictures of the video at that point ha. I knew I wouldn't remember

Edit: Type out text so it's searchable and won't disappear

Reduce rotor speed. Material moves to the right
Close concave gap. More material on right

Increase rotor speed. Material to the left
Open concave. More on the left
 

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I'm finishing watching the video now. The combine they are showing where to grease has the block on the top of the shaker arm. At 5:19
 
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