John Deere K-Series Loaders Feature Customer Input, Electronic Innovations
MOLINE, Illinois (March 2, 2009) — John Deere’s new K-Series wheel loaders are the result of a close collaboration with wheel loader customers involving not only traditional demos and tests, but also high-tech gear such as virtual reality simulators. The customers, collectively known as the Customer Advocacy Group (CAG), directly influenced many key features on the new 2- to 8-yard loaders.
“John Deere has been a tremendous supporter of people’s opinion,” said Fred Moffitt, CAG member and an equipment operator at Collinson Stone Co. in Milan, Ill. “They went outside their own loop and got operators’ and managers’ opinions and I think they got the right kind of input they needed to build the loader we need.”
Moffitt and the rest of the group helped Deere engineers come up with dramatic updates to the company’s line of 4WD loaders, including electronic innovations and cab improvements, to go along with launching a new utility-sized loader and Tier 3 emissions certification of the largest models.
The K-Series includes eight models and a new member of the line, the 2.75-yard 524K, a utility-sized unit not previously offered. Additionally, the 544K through 844K will now have joystick steering available.
All K-Series 4WD loaders include keyless start, seat-mounted controls, expanded sealed switch module and a new LCD monitor with a multi-function interface.
The keyless start feature enables operators to start the loader with the push of a button. It also has a security mode, which prevents unauthorized engine starting until a code is entered on the sealed switch module keypad. Special codes can be set for the owner, operator and transport, as extra deterrents to theft.
The LCD monitor provides screen displays of machine parameters, an operator check sheet, real-time fuel usage and extensive diagnostics.
“John Deere has designed a new color monitoring system for the operator to have fingertip control over everything that goes on within the cab of the loader, and it’s very easy to use and very operator friendly,” said Craig Raske, a CAG member from Knife River Corporation in Sauk Rapids, Minn.
The monitor also displays payload weighing data, thanks to an embedded John Deere payload weighing scale powered by industry leader Loadrite. “The payload scale was an important item for us,” said David Morrison, a CAG member from Aulick Leasing, Inc., Rapid City, S. D. “The loader we worked with was equipped with one, and it was handy not only in loading trucks correctly, but also because we used the scale with a counter to keep track of our daily production. It’s a big plus.”
An optional rear obstacle detection system provides an alert if any object is in the loader’s direct path while backing up. It is combined with a rear-camera which displays through the LCD monitor above for increased awareness, especially in high-traffic areas or close-quarter working conditions.
“The rear camera and radar detection system we worked with them on is an option right now, but I think it should be on every machine one day because it’s really beneficial,” Moffitt said. “I’ve got people around me all the time and I was able to look at the monitor and tell what was going on behind me without turning and looking. It’s also adjustable, in that you can set it to work closer or further out.”
Finally, the K-Series monitors are going to help operators and technicians diagnose potential issues faster, leading to more uptime and lower maintenance costs.
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