The Case IH Optum CVXDrive tractor range, a strong seller for the brand since its 2015 introduction, on the back of its compact yet high-horsepower and high-specification design, has been re-engineered to create the new Optum AFS Connect range, with a new cab, interior and connectivity package designed to benefit both the operator and the owner.
Key among the changes, the new cab brings with it more space, lower noise levels and improved vision. There is a new Multicontroller armrest, configurable controls to allow the tractor and its implement to be adapted to the operator and the task, and upgraded luxurious interior materials. All of the changes have been designed to ease the operator’s workload, enhance efficiency, raise productivity and ultimately boost the bottom line of the business running the tractor.
The new Optum AFS Connect range, like the line-up it succeeds, contains three models, with rated power outputs of 250hp, 270hp and 300hp, all featuring the Case IH CVXDrive continuously-variable transmission. However, many of the rest of the tractors’ key design points are new. At their heart is a new cab in which a number of key areas of the interior have been completely redesigned. Many of these features are inherited from those established on the Optum AFS Connect’s larger Magnum cousins, which were upgraded to AFS Connect specification in 2019. They include the Multicontroller 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. Meanwhile, the new tractors are now equipped as standard with the Case IH AFS Connect telematics package, for instant-two-way data transfer between tractor and online management portal, real-time machine monitoring and much more.
Key controls re-thought and re-designed
One of the most prominent features of the new Optum AFS Connect range is the cab. Here, operators will find a larger interior with a volume increase of 7.5%, enhanced vision, courtesy of 11% more glass, and a noise level of just 66 decibels, helped in part by the premium materials in which the cab is now trimmed. All of this is designed for even safer, simpler and more enjoyable operation.
Inside, a prominent new feature is the new Multicontroller armrest, incorporating a new Multicontroller lever with configurable buttons. Via the new, larger AFS Pro 1200 monitor at the armrest’s front, key controls on the Multicontroller and armrest can be customised to suit operator preference and the job in hand, including the function buttons and remote valve paddle switches. The new ISOBUS-compatible AFS Pro 1200 touchscreen monitor has a high-resolution screen that not only allows the operator to monitor all primary tractor functions, but can also show front and rear camera feeds and is the key control gateway to operating and optimising the engine, the CVXDrive transmission and the tractor’s hydraulics and PTO. There are also short-cut keys and a new encoder turn-and-press dial on the new armrest, as established on the Magnum AFS Connect models.
Via the AFS Pro 1200 terminal, users can manage the tractor’s AccuGuide automated steering system and – for the first time in this Case IH tractor class – full AFS Connect telematics capabilities, technology which is well established on Case IH Magnum, Steiger and Quadtrac AFS Connect tractors. With this system of wireless two-way data transfer between the tractor and the AFS Connect online management portal, tractor owners and farm managers have complete control over farm, fleet and data management, to help minimise costs, enhance efficiency and maximise performance. 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. They can also monitor real-time information such as the location of their tractors, their fuel levels and other key management and performance data. In this way it is possible to, for example, deliver diesel to a tractor as required, improve machine logistics or see if a job has been completed. As data transfer is possible both ways, job instructions, application maps and other data can also be sent remotely to the tractor from the farm office PC, using the ‘Farm’ tab in the AFS Connect web portal.
Farmers and with permission, dealers can use AFS Connect Display Viewing to view the AFS screen display in real time as the driver is seeing it. For farmers/managers, this allows operating data to be checked and, if required, suggestions for adjustments to be made. Owners can choose to allow their Case IH dealer to remotely monitor their tractor’s AFS Pro 1200 terminal screen via AFS Connect, if they so wish. Potential advantages include dealer notification of early warning signs of a tractor fault or issue, remote service access, and the opportunity to provide operating advice based on machine data. Under this AFS Connect Support PRO package, firmware over the air capability means dealers can wirelessly update the operating firmware of Optum AFS Connect tractors, meaning owners and operators can then immediately benefit from new features, functionality and enhancements.
More comfort, enhanced control
To aid servicing before entering the new cab, the operator benefits from new integrated service aids including an air line at the rear. New step arrangement lead the way to a lighter and brighter cab interior, with more internal space and upgraded premium materials.
Many of the key controls with which the operator comes into regular contact have been completely re-thought. This includes a new Multicontroller armrest, complete with the redesigned Multicontroller multifunction lever and featuring remote valve switches incorporating pressure release for easier coupling. Among the other innovations incorporated into the new armrest and multifunction lever are buttons and hydraulic remote switches that are configurable according to operator preference and the requirements of the task. Via the AFS Pro 1200 terminal, each driver can set up the tractor exactly as desired, offering a personalised Optum AFS Connect operating experience.
That theme continues with the new AFS Pro 1200 terminal itself, which has a larger touchscreen than the former AFS Pro 700 unit, but is still sited within comfortable reach and sight at the head of the armrest. The terminal also incorporates more configurable settings, including a camera feed for front and rear cameras as specified. Many functions can be operated either via the touchscreen or via a new turn-and-press encoder dial on the armrest, for the same personalised operation.
From the operator’s seat, new external styling front and rear – such as lowered rear fenders – brings 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 ingress, aids vision and a new low-mounted wiper design provides a 27% increase in cleared area. Night visibility can be enhanced by LED road and work light packages with up to 14 lights in the roof, four in the front of the cab, two on the rear fenders and six in the bonnet
Keeping the operator cool and refreshed
For winter warmth and summer cooling, operators now benefit from a new pressurised climate control package, with more outlets for enhanced air distribution, aided by auto-zone control. The use of premium soft interior automotive-style materials not only gives the inside of the cab a luxurious feel, but also plays a part in a reduction of noise levels down to an extremely low 66 decibels.
A high-specification seat incorporating lateral suspension features full cooling and heating capabilities and has an upper swivelling backrest for easy and comfortable turning in the seat to monitor implements behind and when reversing. Meanwhile, 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 out on the road.
The greater cab volume and interior redesign also means Case IH designers have been able to incorporate more storage. To keep the driver refreshed on long days there is an integral coolbox under the passenger seat, with sufficient space not only for a lunchbox but also for a pair of two-litre bottles.
The need for any modern tractor to be able to support in-cab monitors and provide power for mobile phones and smart devices is met by a number of USB sockets, to ensure implement operation and connectivity is uncompromised.