Record-breaking combine harvester to be built in West Flanders

A company in West Flanders will manufacture a record-breaking combine harvester that can process 2 tonnes of product a minute, De Tijd reports.

CNH Industrial announced a 150 million euro investment in a new production line for its Zedelgem plant on Wednesday. The investment, part of a five-year plan, will pave the way for the production of its new-generation combine harvester and a complete redesign of its assembly line.

In the coming months, the Italian-American multinational will start production of the new model in Zedelgem, where it will build machines for export around the world. Last year, the site manufactured 2,900 combine harvesters. 

"This is the biggest step in 25 years for our combine technology. But we’re not there yet"

The new-generation machine, which can harvest not only grain but also chickpeas, rice, rapeseed, sunflowers and soy, is a substantial investment for farmers, costing around 1 million euros. Ten years of research has gone into its development.

“A farmer invests all year round but makes his money when he harvests,” CNH spokesperson Marc Bomberna told De Tijd. “Knowing the challenges facing global agriculture, it is crucial that we improve that process as much as possible with better technology.”

The investment will be spent on improving the assembly line, to increase its agility and speed, as well as renovating and extending the logistics area. Introducing a wireless automated vehicle guidance system will enable different models to be assembled on the same line at the same time.

Expansion and investment

Bomberna: “This is the biggest step in 25 years for our combine technology. But we’re not there yet. The ultimate goal is a self-driving machine.”

The new machine is due to go into production in February and March. From next year, much of the current production will be replaced by the new model, which will increase the number of jobs, because the workload is higher.

Zedelgem is one of CNH Industrial's main sites, employing 3,000 people.

“As one of the largest employers in West Flanders, CNH is decisively choosing the future with this expansion and investment,” said minister Hilde Crevits of Flemish Christian democrats CD&V. “It proves once again that CNH is an important partner in getting more innovation to farmers.”


#FlandersNewsService | The new combine harvester at the CNH International site in Zedelgem © BELGA PHOTO MAAIKE TIJSSENS

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