Joystick steering option across combine range

  • Massey Ferguson, has announced its unique IDEALdrive joystick steering system is now available to replace the steering wheel on its IDEAL 7, IDEAL 8 and IDEAL 9 TrakRide combine harvester models.

Offering unprecedented visibility and control, IDEALdrive is proven to greatly improve operator comfort and productivity.

“IDEALdrive is truly unique – no other combine harvester offers this unprecedented level of control and visibility of the header,” says Jérôme Aubrion, Director Marketing Massey Ferguson, Europe & Middle East. “Replacing the steering wheel with the joystick is not a gimmick – detailed research proves the system increases productivity.”

Studies, at Aalborg University, in Denmark show that productivity increases 6% using the IDEALdrive joystick versus conventional steering systems, while operator steering workload is reduced 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.

“This is backed-up by practical evidence from field trials with operators who have benefited from using the system during the 2021 harvest,” adds Mr Aubrion.

“Another benefit, trials and field experience reveal, is that operators sit back, comfortably in the seat with their feet on the foot pegs. With the steering column completely removed it provides an uninterrupted view in front and across the header. They do not need to lean forward and crouch, half-standing over the steering wheel to see,” he explains.

IDEALdrive replaces the normal steering wheel with a joystick on the left armrest, which controls the steering, while the combine controller on the right varies the speed and direction.

Controls usually clustered on the steering wheel or steering column are now on the joystick at the operator’s fingertips. 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 engage the guidance, switch lights from high-beam to dim as well another to sound the horn.

Intuitive and easy to use, the joystick provides precise control with variable resistance, proportional to the forward speed and steering angle. ‘Return to centre’, centralises the joystick when the operator lets go and aligns the wheels straight ahead at the same time.

IDEALdrive is fully homologated for EU road circulation requirements by TÜV and follows the ISO-25119 Functional Safety Standard. Trial users report that driving on the road is easy, with the system providing intuitive and precise control. Proportionally reducing the steering angle as forward speeds increase, helps to maintain stability and comfort during transport.

Alongside IDEALdrive availability Massey Ferguson is also introducing a range of new features to improve cab comfort and convenience.

Already a very quiet workplace, the cab now benefits from further sound insulation as well as new storage compartments on the back wall, behind the seat. The coolbox also now has uprated chilling performance.

There are also new brackets to support the Terminal and hold an iPad, with the armrest now housing new USB ports and a ‘phone-holder with an integ