Editors at Construction Equipment arranged to have the John Deere SmartGrade technology evaluated by one of the professional operator/trainers at the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 in Wilmington, Illinois. The integrated grade control tech came loaded on a new Deere 210G excavator.
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Local 150 operator/instructor Dave Gottlieb Field Tested the Deere 210G for ditch work, fine grading, and loading an ADT, both with and without grade the control and various tech features switched on.
Deere’s SmartGrade technology is engineered to automate boom and bucket functions to help operators achieve a smooth, accurate finish grade faster. The machine uses GNSS positioning technology for horizontal and vertical positioning, allowing the boom and bucket movements to follow a precise design target. This means the operator can focus on controlling the arm function while the system raises and lowers the boom to maintain grade. Grade control functions are accessible from the machine’s pilot controls.
Deere has designed a flexible path through grade management for machine owners who may be completely new to integrated machine control or those already familiar with grade control technology.
Deere SmartGrade options
- SmartGrade-Ready with 2D
- 3D Grade Guidance
- 2D Grade Guidance.
The company has made it easy to progress through the technology as job site needs change, with different price points and field kits to upgrade the technology all the way to full 3D control.
Technology features include virtual fence technology, such as Virtual Front, which hydraulically limits and automatically stops the bucket from contacting the front of the machine, and Virtual Ceiling for protection against overhead objects. There’s also Virtual Floor, Virtual Swing, and Virtual Wall. All provide the operator with audible alerts as the machine approaches adjustable setpoints. The parameters are also shown on the in-cab monitor.
Gottlieb says much of the technology would come into play often.
Deere worked with Topcon to develop SmartGrade, though the system is easily adaptable if managers would like to incorporate Trimble or Leica.
Overall, Gottlieb gave the 210G high marks. He particularly liked being able to lock the bucket into position.