With production of the highly successful trailed combine harvester SUPER still under way, CLAAS set about developing a self-propelled combine harvester to add to its lineup. On 15 December 1952 in dedication to August Claas’ 65th birthday the first self-propelled combine harvester was presented, its name was “Hercules”.
The CLAAS self-propelled machine operated according to the longitudinal flow principle. All components such as the hydraulics and air-cooled four-cylinder engine were developed and built by the company itself. In 1953 this combine was launched into the series production, with 250 cm horizontal grasp of the reaping-machine. The combine weight was 5,8 tons, including weight of gathered grain in the tank. This combine had a reaping-machine with height-regulation by the hydraulic circuit. The Hercules combine was equipped with 4-cylinder diesel-fuel engine of 60 hp capacity or 6-cylinder petrol engine of 56 hp capacity.
With the name already taken, CLAAS withdrew the HERCULES name in 1953, the year of its launch, renaming the new combine harvester SF, or "Selbstfahrer" in German, meaning "self-propelled". The SF left its mark with customers, and not just because of its working width of up to 4.20 metres that could be utilised even under highly adverse conditions; the machine also demonstrated enormous versatility.
The SF was able to process peas, rapeseed, maize, clover, grass seed and other specialty seeds in additional to more established grain types. The SF was primarily targeted at large farms and contractors with its high-performance characteristics and versatility. The CLAAS SF laid the foundation for subsequent self-propelled combine harvester models from CLAAS.
In 1961 slight changes were introduced into combine design, and in this way a new combine model appeared – “SFB”. It is interesting that Perkins engine in Claas combine was installed as an alternative to 40-LD engine with air cooling and 66 hp capacity engine of Claas brand, that were produced in amount of 4300 units. In 1963 a self-propelled combine was renamed into “SFB Matador Standart ”.
|Years of production||1953-1961||1961-1962|
|Engine model||270 D||AD4.270|
|Power, hp DIN||60||60|
|Speed min-max., km/h||2-17||1,4-15|
|Cutting width, cm||2,4||3,0|
|Alternative cutting width, m||3,0 - 4,2||2,6 - 4,2|