John Deere and engcon™ Bring a New Twist to Excavator Versatility

Jan. 5, 2022

John Deere's introduction of two new vegetation management attachments, paired with exciting new coupler technology from Sweden's engcon group, brings a new level of efficiency and productivity to its excavator lineup.

Deere's new ME36 and ME50 mulchers, and the RE40 and RE50 rotary brush cutter attachments for excavators offer customers means to step into the growing vegetation management segment. 

Designed for clearing standing or felled trees and brush along roadsides, fences, waterways and other hard to reach places, Deere's ME36 and ME50 mulchers are equipped with knife-style cutting teeth on a split ring rotor. The mulcher's spiral, double helix tool pattern and innovative tool shape allow for fast, efficient cutting for mulch up to 5-inch material. The controlled and metered cutting depth allows the operator to maintain high rotor revolutions per minute (RPM), and maintain high rotor revolutions per minute (RPM), providing a productive mulching rate. Cutting teeth may be sharpened and easily flipped for a fresh cutting edge. 

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Deere's new RE40 and RE50 brush cutters feature three revertible swinging blades mounted to a blade carrier that will cut material up to 6 inches in diameter. A heavy-duty hinged debris shield retracts to expose the blades allowing for aggressive cuts. Purpose-built for ditch management, over-fence brush management, rail right-of-way maintenance, and other difficult to reach areas, the cutter's bolt-on mounting system is easily adapted to a variety of coupling systems. The automatic hydraulic braking system quickly and safely stops the blades when the machine is turned off.

ME model mulchers are now available as dealer installed kits for Deere 50/60 and 75/85 model excavators. RE model rotary brush cutters are available as dealer installed kits for Deere 40, 50/60 and 75/85 model excavators. 

New tiltrotator & coupler's range-of-motion technology 

John Deere's recently announced preferred supplier agreement with engcon brings outstanding new versatility to site development and utility contractors with the introduction of engcon's tiltrotator and quick hitch couplers. 

Until now, contractors had two choices when faced with getting a good excavating work tool into a tough working position. Previously, contractors could move the excavator itself in an attempt to reposition the work tool attached to the end of the excavator's arm and 'aim' it at the task. If realigning the excavator to the task wasn't possible, the contractor could call in workers to complete the task with hand labor. 

The invention of engcon's hydraulic tiltrotator provides contractors an innovative third option.

Instead of moving the excavator so as to aim the machine's arm and attachment towards the task, the operator can now steer the excavator's arm to the desired location then twist the attached work tool into the most advantageous position for the job. The limitations of the rigid excavator arm disappear.

The engcon tiltrotator unit works as an articulated joint between the excavator's arm and one of a variety of John Deere's hydraulic work tools that are usually held in place with a rigid hitch.  The engcon tiltrotator swivels 360 degrees around the axis and its integrated quick coupler system tilts up to 45 degrees side to side, much like how the human hand connects with the forearm. The result is an excavator arm with a vastly increased range of motion that allows the excavator operator to twist the work tool into the most advantageous place to back fill, grade, remove material, grab debris, cut brush, reach into confined spaces and hard-to-get-to tasks with ease and much greater precision without repositioning the excavator.  

In areas with limited access or where the excavator's tail swing can create limitations, the ability to reposition the work tool instead of turning the cab drives greater efficiency and precision. 

Besides uses for site clearing and vegetation management, the factory or dealer installed engcon tiltrotator gives North American contractors unmatched efficiency in applications such as electrical and broadband infrastructure buildouts, pipe & sewage installations, utility repair, and material placement. 

The tiltrotator's integrated EC-Oil fully automatic modular quick hitch is located under the tiltrotator and features a hose-free design that gives switching attachments almost a plug-and-play level of ease, conveniently snapping together hydraulic and electrical lines. This simpler connection procedure reduces wear and maintenance on hoses and cables. Best yet, operators can change out work tools without leaving the cab. 

Currently, engcon offers tiltrotators for excavators in 1.5 metric tons to 33 ton weight classes.

The engcon EC-Oil automatic quick coupler also provides an extra assurance of field safety. Its QSC locking system prevents improperly connected buckets with electronic sensors that detect when both pins have made contact, a check valve that prevents the hydraulic cylinder from opening in the event of a ruptured hose or a pressure drop, and standard external audible and visible warning signals. The risk of dropped buckets is minimized by the ground pressure function that ensures the attachment can only be removed when it exerts a given pressure on the ground. 

Justin Steger, John Deere's Solutions Marketing Manager for Site Development & Underground, says the operator's learning curve is relatively short and is aided by videos and dealer trainers. "Customers flocked around our demonstration at this year's Utility Expo and gave them the chance for some hands-on experience," he says. 

Steger says engcon's EC-Oil quick hitch fits most of John Deere's attachments and the contractor's existing attachments can be fitted with an adaptor plate if necessary. The agreement between John Deere and engcon also include distribution of engcon's purpose-built line up of buckets, rollers, forks and grabbers are also now available at John Deere dealers.

The engcon tiltrotator and coupler models EC204 up to the EC233 match well with John Deere's 26G through 345G excavators, and will be available through John Deere construction and compact construction equipment dealers. The EC-Oil couplers are available on 75G-380G John Deere Excavators.