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Fendt introduces joystick steering in IDEAL combines

Fendt IDEALDrive is to increase productivity 6% versus conventional steering systems.

AGCO Corporation introduced the Fendt IDEALDrive steering system to North American producers during the 2020 Commodity Classic.

Finger-tip control and quick response improve productivity

With IDEALDrive, the left hand steers the combine by moving the joystick left or right. Force feedback guides how far to move the joystick for the desired effect. The IDEALDrive joystick responds quickly and precisely to the operator’s hand movements, allowing accurate steering with less body movement, compared to turning the steering wheel lock-to-lock an average of four times.

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The joystick on the Fendt IDEALDrive steering system from AGCO responds quickly and precisely to the operator’s hand movements, allowing accurate steering with less body movement, compared to turning the steering wheel lock-to-lock an average of four times. - Photos: AGCO
The joystick on the Fendt IDEALDrive steering system from AGCO responds quickly and precisely to the operator’s hand movements, allowing accurate steering with less body movement, compared to turning the steering wheel lock-to-lock an average of four times. - Photos: AGCO

“The joystick turns a headland, 180-degree turn into light work,” says Zach Stejskal, product specialist at AGCO. “Compare that with spinning a steering wheel four or five times ‒ joystick steering will definitely reduce operator fatigue.”

Productivity increases 6% with Fendt IDEALDrive

Because IDEALDrive steering is so responsive, a slight movement of the hand is all that is needed to make a steering adjustment when operating in the field, improving harvesting efficiency. According to AGCO, university studies have shown that productivity increases 6% with the IDEALDrive joystick versus conventional steering systems, while operator steering workload is decreased by 65%.

The comparison is based on the time it took drivers to complete a circuit on a simulated track with IDEALDrive versus conventional steering.

Controls on the joystick

Controls typically found on the steering wheel or steering column are now on the joystick at the operator’s fingertips. For easy access, control buttons on the top of the steering joystick operate turn signals in road mode and row-finder lights in field mode; buttons on the back are for dim and high-beam lights, the horn and track guidance.

The steering sensitivity adjusts based on the speed of the machine to optimise the operators control whether the combine is harvesting or in transport mode.

Better visibility of the header and feeding process

With nothing in front of the operator but brake pedals and foot pegs, there is a clear view of the entire combine head, especially the center of the header where the crop enters the feeder house. The clear view is to help ensure crop is flowing smoothly into the machine for optimum productivity and grain quality. In addition, the wide-open view makes it easier to see and avoid obstacles in the field or on the road, reducing the potential for machine damage and improving safety.

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The Fendt IDEALDrive steering system gives the combine operator an unobstructed, end-to-end view of the combine header for less stress and fatigue during long hours harvesting.
The Fendt IDEALDrive steering system gives the combine operator an unobstructed, end-to-end view of the combine header for less stress and fatigue during long hours harvesting.

Both left- and right-hand controls are within easy reach and are designed with operator comfort in mind. The left armrest folds down into place and adjusts forward or back to put the steering joystick in the palm of the operator’s hand. The right-hand hydrostat controls the machine speed.

The seat can be adjusted forward or back as needed, so the operator can sit in an upright and relaxed position, without having to lean forward to steer or to see over a steering wheel and column. Foot pegs provide a comfortable place for the operator’s feet to rest.

Ready for harvest 2021

IDEALDrive is optional and can be ordered as the steering solution on Fendt IDEAL combines in mid-summer 2020 for delivery in 2021.

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