Ben Dillon's Tribine Dream Becomes Reality

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It was more than 20 years ago that Ben Dillon of Carroll County, Indiana returned from working off the farm and found himself assigned to driving the grain cart tractor.

“I was sitting there watching the combine and I said ‘this is the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen. I have to fix this,'” he says.

After building four prototypes, Dillon’s Tribine Harvester concept is finally hitting the market, as the first two production models rolled out of the manufacturing plant in Kansas this summer. They were both on the grounds, making their debut at the Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa last week.

“This is our first major show with the production unit,” he notes in the video below.

In simple terms, Dillon and engineers working with his company — Tribine Industries — have added a 1,000 bushel grain cart to the back of a combine.

“This is the first all-new harvester architecture since the 1940s. The last huge change was when Massey-Harris in Brantford, Ontario made them self-propelled. This is the biggest change since Massey-Harris,” says Dillon.

Along the way, they made the machine articulated with an all-wheel drive transmission, allowing for a design with a lower centre of gravity. It also allowed them to rearrange the twin engine and cooling systems, while dramatically increasing the amount of grain it can carry.

A 6.7L Cummins motor drives all the hydraulic pumps for propulsion, while a 9L Cummins turns the massive threshing system. Together, they produce 590 horsepower.

Despite being a heavy beast, Dillon says the Tribine creates less soil compaction than a conventional combine and grain cart/tractor pair, with two main reasons why:
a) you don’t have the extra tracks from a loaded grain cart and tractor driving across the field; and
b) the Tribine’s design carries more of the weight on the rear axle versus a combine, and the design allows for larger rear tires than a conventional machine. “Every university study says the front axle does 80 percent of the compaction. We have the lightest front axle in the industry because we don’t have a grain tank on the front axle.”

The faceplate on the feederhouse matches a John Deere, so any Deere-compatible header fits, he notes.

Dillon says they will produce a limited number of machines for next year, which they plan to lease to farmers so they can keep close tabs and provide full support for them.

We likely won’t see any Tribines in Canada until late 2017 at the earliest, Dillon says, as he’s still looking at options for setting up the infrastructure for distribution and support north of the border.

“We don’t want to put a machine out with a farmer where we can’t support him everyday,” he says.

Related: Production of Articulated, 4WD “Tribine” Harvesters to Begin in ’16

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