John Deere Launches SmartGrade Grade Control for Excavators

The John Deere 210G LC and 350G LC Excavators are now available with the factory-installed and calibrated SmartGrade technology with 2D and 3D grade control options.

John Deere 210 G Lc Excavator Large Picture (1)
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Following the preview of the SmartGrade 333G compact track loader at CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2020, John Deere has announced it is expanding its SmartGrade range with the launch of the proprietary grade control solution on the 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.

For excavators, John Deere is offering four grade management options for contractors, plus upgrade kits will be available for each so customers can adopt technology at their own pace.

“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,” says 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.

"SmartGrade reinforces our belief that every operation deserves to benefit from the advancements technology has to offer. That's why we now offer four different levels of grade management solutions packaged with intuition, growth, and application in mind," he continues. "We want sewer and water contractors to be able to do their flat plane work using a laser- based 2D guidance system, just as much as we want to see a site development contractor be able to excavate engineered surfaces with complex contours using a SmartGrade 3D system."

The SmartGrade excavator automates the boom and bucket functions to enable 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 four grade management options available include SmartGrade, SmartGrade-Ready with 2D, 3D Grade Guidance and 2D Grade Guidance. 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. In addition, SmartGrade-Ready machines arrive from the factory prewired for the 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. The 2D Grade Guidance option shares bucket tooth and cutting-edge elevation information relative to a benchmark via the in-cab monitor. The 3D Grade Guidance option accurately provides the horizontal and vertical bucket position using GNSS technology and can make use of a 3D design plan.

All guidance and control options are available with an optional laser receiver, which leverages an ultra-precise local external elevation reference.

John Deere 350 G Lc Excavator Large PictureWith 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. Factory joystick integration provides the ability to adjust the grade offset, set a benchmark on the 2D system, measure a desired point on the bucket with the 3D system or easily turn on and off automatics and protect features, helping further boost productivity by keeping the operator’s hands on the joystick and in control.

New precision technology features include:

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

"Virtual Ceiling and Virtual Floor enable the operator to set upper and lower limits, while Virtual Swing and Virtual Wall monitor left and right as well as maximum distance from the machine limits," Steger explained. "This 360° range of coverage means there are no surprises, including the job done well at the end of the day."

To boost uptime, John Deere SmartGrade Remote Support enables the dealer to remotely monitor and support the machine. Wireless data transfer provides the ability to remotely send updated design files to the machine, saving trips to the jobsite.

SmartGrade excavators are compatible with JDLink telematics, increasing visibility to machine utilization and reducing costly downtime. 

Information provided by John Deere and edited by Becky Schultz.

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