The Backhoe That Thinks It's an Excavator

By Walt Moore, Senior Editor | September 28, 2010

The 410H backhoe-loader, shown here with its optional tool-carrier front end, has an overall beefy look, lots of glass in the cab, and cylinder guards on the boom and dipper. The new 92-hp machine has a maximum digging depth of 15 feet 10 inches.
CT 322
Also included in Deere's product launches are two compact track loaders, the CT 322 and CT 332. The new vertical-lift machines have steel-reinforced rubber tracks, a two-speed transmission, hydraulic coupler, high-flow hydraulics and standard air conditioning. Operating weights are 8,305 and 10,825 pounds, respectively.

The Worldwide Construction & Forestry Division of John Deere has been busy. On its impressive list of recent product launches are the new "7-yard" 844J wheel loader, two compact rubber-track loaders, D-Series motor graders, J-Series dozers and a pair each of wheeled excavators and zero-tail-swing compact excavators. In addition, the Division's Davenport, Iowa, factory will begin manufacturing four models of the company's branded articulated-hauler range. Added to all of this is yet another new product that especially caught our eye — the 410H backhoe-loader.

The new 410H comes equipped with Total Machine Control (TMC) — a system designed to integrate control of every system in the machine, says Deere, from engine and transmission, to hydraulics and brakes. (The TMC system also is available on Deere's new 310SH). The aim of TMC technology, says Bob Tyler, product-marketing manager, is to allow all systems to respond automatically to the speed and "feel" preferences set by the operator. The goal, he says, is to get maximum productivity and uptime from the machine, while minimizing operating costs.

For instance, operators have a choice of three backhoe-hydraulic speeds. When the machine first starts, the TMC system selects a general digging mode, which is equivalent in speed to that of a current Deere 410G model and a good choice for routine trenching. But, if the operator selects the fast mode, cycle times are faster by up to 30 percent, allowing the operator, says Tyler, "to bail dirt." If the work requires a light touch, however, such as lifting pipe on a congested site or training a new operator, then select the slow mode, and backhoe speed decreases 20 percent from the general setting.

The 410H also gets joystick controllers, set into the armrests. Face forward, and the joysticks control the loader, including both an automatic return-to-carry feature (push the lever to a forward detent and the boom returns for another cycle) and an automatic boom-height kick-out. Swivel the seat rearward, and the joysticks control the backhoe. But there's more. At the touch of a button, the right joystick becomes the loader controller — from the backhoe position.

For enhanced fuel-efficiency (and less noise), the 410H is equipped with an auto-idle system that trims engine speed to idle if the backhoe controls are inactive for more than four seconds. For safety, the machine will keep its boom in place if a hydraulic hose should fail.

And for serviceability, the TMC's numerous sensors and electronic memory capture "a wealth of diagnostic data," says Tyler, allowing technicians an in-depth look at machine performance — a capability, he says, that may "prevent potential service issues." And anyone who bends wrenches for a living will appreciate that the backhoe valves are positioned on the backhoe boom, not buried under the cab floor.

As an option, the 410H can be fitted with a tool-carrier front end, which provides both parallel-lift and a hydraulic coupler. The design of the tool-carrier linkage has been greatly simplified compared to conventional parallel-lift systems, says Tyler, a feature that makes the machine easier to service and potentially reduces maintenance costs.

The only downside to all of this is that the 410H won't be available until the fall of this year, then only for a limited production run. Full production will start in 2006. The machine, with standard equipment, is expected to list for around $118,500.

Specs Comparison, 15-Foot Class
Mfr./Model Max. Dig Depth, Std. Stick Backhoe Bucket Breakout Force (lb.) Loader Bucket Capacity (cu. yds.) Loader Bucket Breakout Force (lb.) Dump Clearance Net HP Std. Operating Weight (lb.)
JCB 215 16'3" 12,200 1.4-1.6 12,638 9' 0" 92 18,223
Case 590 Super M Series 2 15'11" 14,718 1.3-1.5 10,980 9'0" 98 15,268
Terex TX870B 15'11" n/a 1.32-1.56 n/a 9'0" 94 16,986
John Deere 410H 15'10" 14,801 1.25-1.5 10,210 8'6" 92 15,000
Komatsu WB150-2N 15'7" 14,685 1.25-1.5 13,825 9'0" 94 18,165
Caterpillar 430D 15'3" 14,732 1.31-1.50 10,269 8'5" 94 16,217
New Holland LB115.B 15' 3" 12,808 1.5 12,165 8'9" - 16,755