Compact Equipment

JUN 2018

Compact Equipment is a magazine dedicated to equipment owners and operators of small, nimble, tool-carrying construction, landscape and ag equipment — such as skid steers, mini excavators, compact tractors, generators compressors and beyond.

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32 Compact Equipment JUNE 2018 The manufacturing process is also purpose-driven for each em- ployee. The basic task in each station is the same, but the built-to- order model ties every new job to an individual buyer and a spe- cific design. Tying each project to a real end-user, and each team member being accountable for their role in building an errorless machine for that customer leads to a quality final product. What's New? The coolest new technology was Grade Guidance which, sorry to say, is only available in the larger excavators at the moment — the 210G LC excavator was the most recent to have this factory- installed. The grade guidance system, developed in cooperation with Top- con, and its integration into the ever-evolving cloud-connected construction machine of the future will change the job of the oper- ator forever. Deere-Hitachi Grade Guidance provides operators with information on the bucket's location with respect to a 2D reference or 3D design surface and is ideal for digging trenches for pipe, shap- ing ditches or slopes or digging structure foundations. The integrated grade guidance displays the elevation and posi- tion of the bucket cutting edge with respect to a target plane (2D) or design surface (3D). Factory integration and calibration ensure the machine arrives on the jobsite ready to work and puts grade guidance at the customer's fingertips. JDLink integration provides information on system utilization and allows rapid diagnosis of problems. The grade guidance system will be available on the 350G LC and 470G LC excavator models in the next year. Let's Try Stuff Grade guidance on its own already seems foolproof, which I say confidently because I am definitely a fool and was shocked at how precise I was with help from the alert noises (which I preferred over the visual commands). This was a press event, so there was a large group of trade journalists there trying out the grade guidance sys- tem. Having been to a lot of these events, I have an expectation for how this looks from the ground. Let's just say this is not our day job. But on this trip, with the aid of grade guidance, everyone looked to be a pro out there. But that's just guidance. Coming in 2019, Deere will be produc- ing grade control systems that automate a lot of the movements. On the compact side, I hopped in the 35G. Now, the cab felt spa- cious to me, but I'm a little guy, so that opinion might not translate for everyone. Digging and movement was so smooth. Even with- out a guidance system, I didn't have choppy moments or get stuck pulling the bucket back through the fairly thick mud (it rained a ton the day before) that I am used to having as a novice operator. The Hitachi hydraulics are renowned for handling any high-flow attachments, and that was apparent. On the Kaizen side, there was a handy switch under my seat to shift controls from excavator to backhoe depending on preference or the job at hand. Final thought: I honestly think the company culture, design pro- cess and workflow that led to the machine I was sitting in, in some small way, helped me operate it, either because it was inherently easier to operate, or it all had a placebo effect on my skills. Either way, it worked. And with that, I say Sayonara to Kernersville. Chris Crowell is a contributing editor of Compact Equipment . OPERATIONAL ADVICE By Jonathan Spendlove, product marketing manager, excavators, John Deere Construction & Forestry Don't forget to take advantage of the different work modes on the 35G or your other John Deere compact excavators. For most general digging, choose Power Mode. For lighter digging, Economy Mode will get the job done and will increase fuel efficiency. Utilize the arm power in the machine. Digging a flat trench when arm- ing in can eliminate a clean-up pass that would be required if you dig only with the bucket curl. DEERE-HITACHI

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