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CLAAS DOMINATOR – an icon among combine harvesters for half a century

Virtually no other combine harvester has made its mark on the world of grain harvesting like the DOMINATOR from CLAAS. 2021 sees the 50th anniversary of the market launch of the model series. This means that, as a model name, the DOMINATOR has been on sale for longer than any other harvesting machine in the world.

Exactly 50 years ago, in 1971, a new key player appeared on the combine harvester scene. With the DOMINATOR 80, followed a year later by the DOMINATOR 100, CLAAS moved into the 5- and 6-walker classes and in so doing set new standards for the industry. As well as opening up a new dimension of performance with threshing drum widths of 1,320 and 1,580 mm respectively, these models represented a major step towards the most advanced combine harvester technology with the hydrostatic ground drive, which was available as an option for the DOMINATOR 80. The plant in Harsewinkel was also thoroughly modernised for the DOMINATOR and organised to support the new modular design.

Over the decades, the various DOMINATOR model series established themselves as the best-selling combine harvesters in Europe. This was the result of a programme of continuous combine harvester development – notable stages being the 5-series of 1975 as well as the 6- and 8-series in 1979 and 1982 respectively. As early as 1974, the DOMINATOR 85 and DOMINATOR 105 saw the introduction of electronic throughput monitoring. In 1981, CLAAS presented a world first in the form of the Cylinder System, CS for short, in the DOMINATOR 116 CS. This boosted throughput once again by using eight tangential separation cylinders for residual grain separation instead of straw walkers. In 1986, with the series rounded out at the lower end with the DOMINATOR 115 CS, DOMINATOR 114 CS and DOMINATOR 112 CS models, the CS range was renamed as the COMMANDOR CS series.

Market leader thanks to DOMINATOR
Moving into the 1990s, the DOMINATOR continued to be the driving force for sales and revenue in the combine harvester sector at CLAAS, delivering impressive performance not only in level terrain, but also on slopes as a result of the 3D cleaning system. It is thanks to this model series more than any other that CLAAS became the European market leader in combine harvesters and maintained its position in the top slot.

Following the reunification of Germany, the rugged seed green combine harvesters quickly became established in the grain growing regions of eastern Germany. CLAAS responded to the demand for higher threshing performance with new top models, such as the DOMINATOR 208 MEGA. An upstream accelerator drum in the MEGA threshing unit increased throughput by up to 30 percent. Shortly after the introduction of the new threshing and separation system, the high-performance DOMINATOR combine harvesters equipped with it were renamed MEGA. The smaller DOMINATOR models remained in the product range for several more years as a cost-effective alternative for farms with their own machinery and for export markets.

Synonymous with performance and durability
Outside Europe, too, the DOMINATOR quickly made a name for itself. In some regions of Africa, the term DOMINATOR has even become established as a synonym for "combine harvester" – regardless of the colour of the machine. The seed green combine harvesters were popular not only because of their performance, but also, and above all, because of their durability and their simple, straightforward design with excellent accessibility for maintenance tasks. As a result, DOMINATOR models were always in demand not only as new machines, but also as used ones. Over the years, their robust technology was complemented with innovations such as the CONTOUR cutterbar guidance or the 3D cleaning system mentioned above.

Although DOMINATOR production in Harsewinkel ended in the landmark anniversary year 2021, the DOMINATOR name lives on! CLAAS is continuing to produce the DOMINATOR 40 TERRA TRAC in India for sale in that region, and the DOMINATOR 370 has been manufactured at the Chinese CLAAS combine harvester plant in Gaomi since 2019 in the form of a hybrid combine harvester for both the local market and export. "It's important to us to maintain the name "DOMINATOR" in our production range as the embodiment of reliable, easy-to-operate combine harvester technology", explains Jan-Hendrik Mohr, the CLAAS executive board member with responsibility for self-propelled harvesting technology. "By developing new DOMINATOR models and opening up new markets for these combine harvesters, we are also securing the long-term future of this world-famous product name.”

Source : CLAAS Group

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