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John Deere Expands Grade Control Solutions to Excavator Lineup

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John Deere has increased the range of its grade control solutions with the launch of SmartGrade on its 210G LC and 350G LC excavators. The factory-installed and calibrated 3D SmartGrade system delivers increased productivity and accuracy on the job and provides benefits to contractors at all levels.

“By incorporating precision technology, such as SmartGrade, on our excavator lineup, we are boosting jobsite productivity and efficiency while enhancing the capabilities of our operators,” said Justin Steger, solutions marketing manager, John Deere. “However, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, and contractors need options to pair the right technology with their business needs. This is where customers really benefit from the flexibility of our grade management path.”

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For excavators, John Deere offers four grade management options for contractors: SmartGrade, SmartGrade-Ready with 2D, 3D Grade Guidance and 2D Grade Guidance. Additionally, the company offers upgrade kits for each grade management option so customers can adopt technology at their own pace. A SmartGrade excavator automates the boom and bucket functions for the operator to easily achieve a smooth and accurate finish grade. Using GNSS positioning technology for accurate horizontal and vertical positioning, the machine controls boom and bucket movements to a precise design target. This enables the operator to focus on controlling the arm function while the system raises and lowers the boom to maintain grade.

The SmartGrade-Ready with 2D option provides a 2D system with semiautomated functions, improving the ease of use without the need for GNSS technology or 3D design plans. Additionally, the SmartGrade-Ready machines arrive from the factory prewired for the SmartGrade system, enabling the owner to upgrade in the future, if desired. The 3D or 2D Grade Guidance options provide reference information to the operator in the cab to improve productivity. All guidance and control options are available with an optional laser receiver, which leverages an ultra-precise local external elevation reference.

With SmartGrade or SmartGrade-Ready machines, the selectable bucket control feature automatically maintains the user-defined bucket angle throughout grading passes. This feature helps the operator place material more effectively, reducing waste and saving money.

New precision technology features include Virtual Front, which hydraulically limits and automatically stops the bucket cutting edge from contacting the front of the machine at a selectable distance, preventing machine damage. The over-dig protect feature limits the bucket’s cutting edge from going below the target design surface, preventing costly over digging on the job. Additional virtual fence technology features, such as Virtual Ceiling, Virtual Floor, Virtual Swing and Virtual Wall, provide the operator with audible alerts as the machine approaches an adjustable setpoint, allowing operators to focus on the task at hand.

John Deere announced the upgrades to its excavator lineup during a wide-ranging virtual product launch on April 6, which also included the introduction of Precision Construction, the company’s latest technology-focused initiative aimed at delivering smart solutions to jobsites across North America.

Precision Construction provides customers with a suite of technology solutions focused on maximizing uptime and delivering increased productivity. This shift aligns the brand’s overarching strategic direction, which aims to provide intelligent, connected machines and applications that help unlock increased value.

“Since the beginning, delivering innovative solutions to our customers has been a core focus for John Deere, and the Precision Construction portfolio is taking that commitment to the next level,” said Andrew Kahler, manager, technology solutions, John Deere. “In recent years, we’ve unveiled an array of technology solutions that directly address our customers’ concerns on the jobsite. Now, we’re building on that foundation, pushing down on the gas pedal, and moving the industry toward the next generation of smart machine solutions.”

With Precision Construction, the existing John Deere technology portfolio is restructured, making it easier for customers to select solutions that help them resolve pain points on the jobsite. The result is a suite of solutions focused on maximizing uptime and helping contractors efficiently accomplish more each day. Organizing the current offerings into four focused pillars, Connected Support, Grade Management, Payload Weighing and JDLink Telematics.

During the event, John Deere also announced the addition of SmartGrade to its 333G Compact Track Loader, the industry’s first compact track loader equipped with integrated grade control; the addition of factory-integrated slope control to its 450K, 550K and 650K Dozers; updates to its 950K and 1050K dozers; as well as updates to its motor graders and performance tiering strategy.

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