KRONE has hit the headlines again having recently unveiled its 1156hp Big X 1180 self-propelled forage harvester, joining the other wide-body range models, the 680, 780 and 880, and replacing the outgoing 1110hp 1100. 
Recognised as the most powerful forager in the world with an estimated throughput of 400t/hour, extra engine power is generated by the 24.24-litre V12 Liebherr engine, replacing the V12 MAN unit used in the 1100 model and extending the oil, filter and valve service interval to every 1000 hours. Like the smaller V8 engine fitted to the 680, 780 and 880, the V12 unit only uses AdBlue.

The Scottish Farmer:
This beast also comes with a multiple fuel tank concept which includes a standard 930-litre main tank and 150 litres for AdBlue, as well as a standard side-mounted tank which can hold 170 litres of diesel and 230 litres of silage additive or water. Two optional tanks are also available – the 400-litre auxiliary fuel tank and the silage additive tank which can carry 275 litres of additive mix.  
Peak torque has shifted down from 1650rpm to 1400rpm which gives a higher torque reserve and the ability to go between 1400 and 1800rpm, while a bigger pulley and eight-rib V belt, instead of seven, makes for a stronger drive line system.  
An all new cab design in the 1180 improves driver’s visibility and comfort, with a large and curved front window and the option of a cab lift system which gives perfect visibility when opening up fields and parallel filling. The in-cab noise level is also reduced due to a larger gap between the chopping assembly and the cab. 

Automatic shear bar and VariLoc system
During the chopping system, an automatic shear bar adjustment has been put in place, with sensors fitted to detect knocking. The new feature also resets the shear bar parallel to the drum blades – an easy and convenient set-up from the cab. Operators still have the option of manually adjusting the shear bar from the control box. 
The VairLoc system is a real game changer and turns the forager into an all-rounder by switching flexibly from short cuts to long cuts, with changeover taking less than five minutes. It allows operators to adjust drum speed easily from 1250rpm to 800rpm and increases LOC options by 53% without swapping blades. 

Corn conditioner rollers 
In addition to its updated flagship, Krone has also made improvements in the crop processing system with its new OptiMaxx corn conditioner range. The OptiMaxx 250 consists of 250mm diameter rollers which are 10% wider, run 7% faster and offer a bigger and more effective spring assembly compared with the Big X 700-1100. 
To improve the chopping process of maize and other crops, the corn conditioners teeth are slanted at a 5* angle which helps produce a shearing effect as the teeth condition the material at a range of crop lengths. The new diameter rollers are available with 105/123 teeth which are best suited to medium and long chopping lengths, while the 123/144 teeth design is ideal for short and medium chops. 
As standard, these rollers run at a 30% speed differential, with 40% and 50% variations available as options.
While the OptiMaxx 250 is available on all four wide-range models, Krone advises that those with the 1180 go for the OptiMaxx 305 design due to it offering a further 11% surface area and a 20% higher circumference speed than the 250 version. To suit all applications, these larger diameter rollers which are claimed to be the biggest on the market come with 125/150 teeth for medium and long chopping lengths and 150/175 teeth for short and medium. Speed differentials remain the same as the 250 version. 
Both versions boast easy service and maintenance and come with a temperature sensor on the roller bearings which alerts the driver of overheating. 

Electronic features
Automatic filling into trailers is now made possible thanks to Krone’s new EasyLoad filling system which uses 3D image analysis to control the spout automatically, allowing the driver to monitor all other machine functions from the cab. Operators can select various filling strategies such as front and rear, and they can also program specific filling levels. 
In the meantime, it will only work with trailers that run alongside the forager but its hoped that this gadget will eventually be able to fill trailers from behind. 
Recording of data such as dry matter, starch, crude protein, crude ash, crude fat, ADF avid detergence fibres and NDF neutral detergence fibres is also made possible with the AgriNIR gadget. Data is recorded on the forager’s terminal and can be processed using various software. 
The Krone SmartConnect control box is standard specification on the BIG X 680-1180 model range and offers automatic data management with functions such as GPS signals, wifi and battery. This allows the operator to have log field data and have a full picture of the machine’s productivity, with the most important machine data displayed in the foreground. Other specifications of this new gadget include operator’s being able to be navigated to the appointed field and completed jobs being sent by an email to the customer/farmer. 
SmartConnect with auto-logging functionality is now a standard feature on all BIG X 680, 780, 880 and 1180 series models. An alternative to the above is the CCI Control Mobile app, which is a job based data management system app.