CLAAS is increasing its testing capacities for the development of new agricultural machinery by building a new centre at its site in Harsewinkel. By the time it’s completed in autumn 2018, total investment in the new centre will be over 15 million euros.
“We will merge the test laboratories at our Harsewinkel site into the new test centre; it will also enable us to expand our capacities and lower the dependency of our testing cycles on the harvest schedules”, says Oliver Westphal, head of validation at CLAAS. The test centre will be able to simulate a broad variety of climactic conditions encountered during harvests around the world. These simulations help the engineers to assess the performance capabilities and reliability of the machinery at an early stage of its development.
The new centre will be equipped to test components for combine harvesters, forage harvesters and tractors. “We exclusively test the functions and durability of the components in our machines. They are becoming increasingly complex while at the same time needing to satisfy an increasingly large raft of statutory requirements”, explains Westphal. “We do not test the quality of harvest flow here; there are other test facilities responsible for that.”
The new test centre will be absolutely state-of-the-art. “We will use 300 kilowatt electric drive units instead of diesel engines to test the transmission components”, adds Ulrich Elfers, project manager in charge of construction. The new test centre will also satisfy modern standards of energy efficiency. For instance, a heat recovery process will be installed into the test systems, so that a conventional heating system will not be necessary in winter, while a water system with heat exchangers fitted to the underfloor radiators will provide cooling in summer.
The building will have total floor space of roughly 8,000 m², of which half will be used for assembly, the laboratories and the actual test facilities. Adjacent to these areas will be over 200 workstations for test engineers and developers, as well as additional facilities containing the technical supply systems.