By: The Working Forest Staff
John Deere hosted an exclusive media event in Moline Illinois in early September to unveil its latest equipment offerings, giving industry trade media a first look at the next-generation of John Deere Machinery.
The two-day event also provided an opportunity for trade media participants to jump in the cab and try out the John Deere skidders and feller bunchers first-hand. There was also time for a behind the scenes tour of their Davenport Works Factory.
The new L-Series II skidders and feller bunchers feature a simplified design, providing a reliable, powerful solution, while still maintaining the productivity-boosting features of the original line, including an increase in hydraulic speed, large grapples and an improvement in weight distribution.
“With the new L-Series II machines, we wanted to build upon the best features of the original machines, while also simplifying the design to increase reliability,” said Brandon O’Neal, product marketing manager, John Deere Construction and Forestry. “Listening to our customers, we reworked the machines, making significant improvements under the hood. The new L-Series II machines offer decreased downtime without any changes to power and productivity.”
The new, simpler L-Series II models enhance customer experience by reducing maintenance and increasing uptime due to a number of part changes. Other changes to the machines include a reduction to the complexities of the electrical and hydraulic systems and improvements to component placements. “They [John Deere] rerouted it so the wires wouldn’t be so bunched up in the machine,” noted Wayne Sugg of Sugg Logging, who was one of the first loggers to test the new machines. “Since we’ve had the L-Series II we’ve put 300 hours on it and haven’t had any downtime whatsoever. Uptime is important, because if the wood’s not going out getting on the trucks I’m not making any money.”
The L-Series II machines also include changes to boost productivity. The new skidder models offer increased grapple squeeze force of up to 10 percent. Articulation steering sensors improve the operator experience, ultimately increasing productivity. A new two-speed 4000 winch replaces the previous single-speed winch. “The machine is better, stronger and faster than the original. These machines – on a daily basis – they just they take a beating. The more you beef it up, the stronger it’s going to be, and the better it’ll be for us.” said Zane Winfield of Southern Logging, who also got a chance to experience the new machines.
In addition to the new changes, the L-Series II skidders and wheeled feller bunchers retain the productivity-boosting features that loggers loved in the original models. From a comfortable operator station to durable axles and rugged, large grapples, the L-Series II models offer loggers the features they need to tackle tough jobs. “We’ve spent countless hours collecting customer feedback to ensure our new machines met their needs, understanding the demands they face daily,” said O’Neal.
The cabs on all skidders and wheeled feller bunchers are equipped with features designed to maximize comfort, ultimately increasing productivity. Amenities like the efficient HVAC system, improved ergonomic controls, and storage space offer the creature comforts loggers desire. Joystick steering and an optional rotating seat reduce strain on the operator’s body.
The L-Series II Skidder models feature the powerful Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), which combines the smoothness of a hydrostatic transmission with the fuel efficiency of a lockup torque converter. This combination enables the skidders to boast excellent fuel efficiency, longer engine life, and enhanced operator comfort.
Offering a one-button Quick Dump feature, the wheeled feller bunchers improve efficiency with the push of one button to release trees in a single, smooth motion. Additionally, the head-tilt and arm functions are combined to help minimize fatigue while improving productivity.
Another industry-changing feature on the John Deere skidders that carried over from the previous models is the durable axles – particularly the Outboard-Extreme axles. The models feature a pressurized continuous-lube system and independent axle filters that extend wear life. The rugged Outboard-Extreme axles – standard on the 848 and 948 models, and optional on the 748 machines – feature larger components, delivering maximum job site durability and a heavier weight for boosted machine stability.