360-icon download left-arrow left-doublearrow nav-dot pdf-icon rss-icon search-icon spot-icon subnavi-icon close-icon info-icon

Review: Farewell to fatigue with IDEALDrive.

Giorgio Speranza & Andrea Sandrini - Fendt IDEALDrive

Review: Farewell to fatigue with IDEALDrive.

Farewell to fatigue with IDEALDrive

Tired eyes and sore muscles. 60-year-old Giorgio Speranza used to regard that an inevitable companion during harvest. Not anymore. He recently tested the Fendt IDEAL combine equipped with IDEALDrive – a machine you steer with a joystick, not a traditional steering wheel. “Probably my most relaxed harvesting experience ever,” he says. A modern combine is a moving factory consisting of roughly 7,000 components. It takes skill for the farmer to turn it around, once he gets to the edge of the field. Typically, he must turn the steering wheel lock to lock on average four times before he is back on auto-steering harvesting the next row in the other direction. Soon, though, this will be a thing of the past – with IDEALDrive he will be able to steer the machine just by moving his left hand a centimeter or two. Enter: IDEALDrive. The Fendt IDEAL 10T – launched at Agritechnica 2019 ¬– has no steering wheel. Instead, the farmer performs necessary manual steering operations with a left-hand joystick. The result is better visibility, less fatigue, higher productivity.

Goodbye to blind spots

With the steering wheel and steering column gone, there is nothing to block the farmers’ view toward the feeder house and the header cutting the crop. He can clearly see the center area where the cut crop is sucked into the feeder house and on for processing. So, if a ditch, stone or other object appears in front of the combine, chances are that the farmer will notice – and be able to reposition before it causes any damage. A group of six farmers and machine contractors tested the machine on a corn field in Northern Italy this fall. One of them was Giorgio Speranza, a third generation machine contractor with 40 years of professional harvesting experience. He says:

“Your view toward the header is fantastic. You feel much more on top of what happens in front of you. And turning the machine with the joystick is much faster than with a steering wheel. I believe this will help increase productivity.”

Nicer for the operator

He adds that steering with the joystick is also nicer for the operator because you sit in a more upright and relaxed position. “I think this will make you less tired and sore after a long day in the driver’s seat. Because the visibility is so good, your eyes will be less tired too,” explains Speranza.

Farmer Andrea Sandrini was a bit skeptical about the notion of joystick steering before first taking the driver’s seat. “I am positively surprised. The joystick reacts fast and precisely to my hand movements. Steering this way is very easy. I really like it,” he says. The farmer was equally enthusiastic about the solution – but for other reasons. Only 24 years old, sore joints and tired eyes is not yet a concern of his. “The visibility is very good and you sit comfortably. But I am more impressed by the speed you can now turn with at the edge of the field. With the joystick, it takes just a few seconds. So you save time at every turn. And for me as a farmer, every second counts. I never know when the weather turns bad and I have to postpone harvesting,” he says.

Take it to the road

Since Fendt IDEALDrive is approved for use on the road, the farmer can drive his Fendt IDEAL directly from the farm to the field and, of course, back when the work is done.

“I have been harvesting since I was six years old – in the beginning as my father’s helper. But this is the first time ever that I have tried steering a combine with a joystick,” says 60-year-old machine contractor Giorgio Speranza. “I really like the feeling.”