Mike & Niels Remodel an MF Combine

Niels Hamming: 21 years (left picture)
Study: werktuigbouwkunde Hanzehogeschool

Mike Mohlmann: 25 years (right picture)
Study: werktuigbouwkunde Hanzehogeschool

MF Combine
What was the exact internship assignment?

Converting an old Massey Ferguson 87 combine into a ready-to-use Promotional Combine for educational and presentation purposes. The ultimate goal of this project was to demonstrate the functionality of the combine in a clear and visually appealing manner. The result, a fully operational Promotional Combine. This combine had to be prepared for transport to events, exhibitions, or schools, to provide clear explanations of the function and operation of a combine.

What were the tasks?

Niels: Together with Mike Möhlmann, we worked on the old Massey Ferguson 87 combine from 1966. It was a super cool project because there was a variety of tasks, from office work, planning, and budgeting to working on the machine itself in the workshop. I appreciated the independence and responsibility we were given for this project, which allowed us to successfully complete the project in our own way.

The initial idea was to cut the combine in half to reveal the interior. However, this would have compromised many functionalities. We adjusted the idea so that the machine could remain operational, with all the important components visible and functioning through plexiglass. The work was carried out in phases:

  • Phase 1: Disassembling wheels, fixing brakes, and repairing the motor.
  • Phase 2: Removing the visibility panels, followed by designing new panels in SolidWorks.
  • Phase 3: Assembly, mounting plexiglass panels, and repairing the paint.

Mike: The collaboration with Niels Hamming went smoothly; I already knew Niels a bit from the course. Niels is a real go-getter and has a good understanding of what he’s doing. Together, we had to carefully consider our actions to come up with the best solutions.

Surprises and Success

Mike: It’s a very old combine and had been left outside for a long time. In certain areas, it was just raining inside, and that’s not good for such a machine. Bearings were out, and everything was really heavily rusted.

To get it working, we first removed the starter motor and ordered a new one. But that new starter motor turned out to be incorrect. So, we took apart the old starter motor, examined it closely, reassembled it, and connected it to the battery.

What surprised me the most after reinstalling the starter motor was when we turned the key. The combine started up effortlessly. At that moment, it became clear that cutting it in half was no longer an option.

Niels: The great thing was that we had to drag the combine inside, and eventually, we managed to drive it out of the workshop again. That really gave me energy.

Lessons from the Old Combine

Niels: Working on this old combine, I saw that the basic principle of every machine is the same, but what surprised me about working on this Massey Ferguson combine is that this old model is much more efficient than the current machines on the market.

Of course, this one runs much slower, which may seem less efficient intuitively, but per horsepower, they’re actually more efficient. It’s a realization I didn’t expect.

Mike: What also surprised me is that many aspects of such a combine remain the same. You still see the entire system from back then in new combines today.

What are your future plans?

Mike: Niels and I also got to go to Agritechnica in Hannover where HuizingHarvest had a stand. There, we had the chance to look around for a day. In our final year, we have to do another graduation assignment, so we’ve already looked around at what companies were there to possibly do that assignment.

Niels: That’s what I liked about HuizingHarvest, they don’t work exclusively with one brand. Whereas I usually work with machines in the same power category, the diversity is even greater now. Working on various brands and power categories enhances my current knowledge, and I would love to continue working in the agricultural sector because of the variety of work and challenges it offers.

Mike: In the future, I would also like to stay in the agricultural sector. The variety of work is fantastic, so you always have a different kind of challenge. There’s still a lot for me to learn in this field, and I’m far from being done with it.

Experience the fascinating process of renovation and transformation as Mike and Niels breathe new life into the old combine