The Australian ag machinery market will soon welcome a new addition, a tractor featuring technology and connectivity previously only available on larger and higher horsepower machines.
In the past 12 months Case IH Australia/New Zealand has launched its next-generation AFS Connect Magnum and Steiger into the local market and now it has announced the AFS Connect Optum will be available for order by Australian and New Zealand customers from this month.
"The expansion of AFS Connect across our tractor range is an exciting prospect for our brand and illustrates our ongoing commitment to connectivity and data management innovations and putting those capabilities where they will have the greatest impact - in the hands of our customers," Case IH Australia/New Zealand general manager Pete McCann said.
The Case IH Optum CVT tractor range has been re-engineered to create the new Optum AFS Connect range, with a new cab, interior and connectivity package designed to enhance its operation, comfort and efficiency.
Key among the changes, the new cab offers more space, lower noise levels, improved vision and upgraded premium interior materials.
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Optum, Magnum, Steiger and Patriot product manager Jason Wood said after introducing Case IH's next-generation technology on the biggest tractors in its range, it was exciting to now be able to offer AFS Connect on the high-performing, highly-versatile Optum.
"For so long the Optum CVT has been one of our big sellers off the back of its compact yet high-horsepower and high-specification design.
"Add to that enhanced connectivity and upgraded features and you've got a tractor to tackle a range of challenges with an ease of operation and high degree of operator comfort."
The Optum AFS Connect range, like the line-up it succeeds, contains two models, with rated power outputs of 201 kilowatts and 224kW (270 horsepower and 300hp) each featuring the Case IH continuously-variable transmission.
Beyond that, many of the tractor's other key design points are new, particularly the cab.
Features include a multi-controller armrest and its multi-function lever, larger AFS Pro 1200 touchscreen monitor with greater functionality and A-pillar tablet instrumentation for engine/transmission information read-outs.
Via the new, larger AFS Pro 1200 monitor at the armrest's front, key controls on the multi-controller and armrest can be customised to suit operator preference and the job in hand, including the remote valve paddle switches.
The new ISOBUS-compatible AFS Pro 1200 touchscreen monitor has a high-resolution screen that allows the operator to monitor all primary tractor functions and can show front and rear camera feeds.
It is the key control gateway to operating and optimising the engine, the continuously-variable transmission and the tractor's hydraulics and PTO.
The new AFS Connect Optum series - for the first time in this Case IH tractor class - are equipped as standard with the Case IH AFS Connect telematics package, for instant two-way data transfer between the tractor and the AFS Connect online management portal.
This gives owners and farm managers complete control over farm, fleet and data management.
Tractor performance and implement operating data are immediately, securely and continuously sent to the online portal for access by the tractor owner/manager.
"This allows them to make management decisions more precisely and with greater speed, supported by instantly-available and accurate data - both current and historical," Mr Wood said.
"They can also monitor real-time information such as the location of their tractors, their fuel levels and other key management and performance data."
He said owners could also choose to allow their Case IH dealer to remotely monitor their tractor's AFS Pro 1200 terminal screen via AFS Connect, providing the opportunity for dealer notification of early warning signs of a tractor fault or issue, remote service access and operating advice based on machine data.
From the operator's seat, new external styling front and rear - such as lowered rear fenders - bring visibility benefits, while the four-pillar design of the cab, with full-length doors, also aids sight lines.
The upper curved edge to the windscreen helps maximise natural light into the cab and night visibility is enhanced by a comprehensive 360-degree LED lighting package.
A premium leather seat with active suspension features full cooling and heating capabilities and has an upper swivelling backrest for comfortable turning in the seat to monitor implements.
The operating experience is further upgraded by a new drive pedal, which provides enhanced precision and control for slow-speed inching, field work with headland turns and high-speed travel on the road.
Mr Wood said forward orders on the new AFS Connect Optum were open, with the first tractors expected early next year.
"The inclusion of AFS Connect takes the Optum's capabilities to a new level, giving users a versatile 270-300hp tractor with continuously-variable transmission that offers even more in terms of comfort, capability and connectivity," he said.
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