Claas prepare for centenary celebrations

11:04 05 January 2013

Claas 100 combine at work

Claas 100 combine at work


A special anniversary year will be celebrated at the LAMMA show later this month.


The two-day specialist machinery show at the Newark showground in Nottinghamshire has become the country’s biggest dedicated event for the professional farmer and grower.

When it was launched in 1981, there were just 50 exhibitors. On Wednesday, January 16 and Thursday, January 17, there will be a total of 800 exhibitors of all shapes and sizes.

For Claas UK, it is an opportunity to celebrate the 100th anniversary of August Claas setting up his own engineering company in 1913.

The business has grown into the largest family-owned agricultural manufacturing company in the world, which employs more than 9,000 staff and with 14 manufacturing plants spread across the globe.

It has firmly remained a family company, led by the next generation, Cathrina Claas-Mühlhäuser.

When the Claas family business was established in 1913, August’s interest in machinery was sparked by his father, Franz Claas. From a young age, he had been interested in agricultural technology and in the 1880s set up a workshop on the family farm to develop and manufacture machinery, including a highly successful cream separator and reaping and binding machines.

In the summer of 1913, he set up his own company, manufacturing straw balers, although this then had to be put on hold with the outbreak of the first world war.

While Claas is widely associated with harvesting machinery, August’s development of the simple knotter in 1921 provided the cornerstone of the company’s growth and success.

This invention revolutionised agriculture, and its importance is reflected in the fact that the original patents taken out in 1921 still apply to knotters used in current Claas balers.

From balers, August Claas turned his attention to other machinery, including harvesting machinery and looked at how to improve on the American machinery that had been unsuccessfully trialled in Europe. This resulted in the launch of the MDB in 1936.

One of the earlier combines was bought by an east Norfolk man, the late George Milligen, of East Ruston. He imported an early and admittedly somewhat experimental Claas and in 1937 it was being returned to Germany for further modification. However, as it was being loaded for shipment at the docks, it fell into the sea and was lost.

The development process, which has always been central to the company’s growth, has resulted in the latest Lexion 780.

As Claas became a major manufacturer on a world scale, it was in large measure down to Helmut Claas, whose reputation as an engineer and innovator has been recognised worldwide. Under his management, the group has grown and developed to be highly successful.

Today, Claas has a turnover of over €3bn, generating profits of €255m, and spends around €150m on the research and development of new products.

Claas will also launch the new Arion range of tractors. The new generation Arion 600 and 500 features the latest engine technology to meet the Tier 4i emissions regulations.

The most noticeable new feature for operators is the cab, which is the same as that used on the top-of-the-range AXION 900 launched last year.

Car parks will open at 6am. Visitors arriving between 6.30 and 8am will be able to enjoy a full English breakfast at a discounted price. The show opens at 7.30am on both days. Admission and car parking are free.



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