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John Deere launches crane-tip control for harvesters

Operating a harvester crane can require handling two or even three controls. John Deere has launched crane-tip control using only one joystick resulting in better precision and less strain for the operator.

The 1270G harvester with John Deere's IBC crane-tip control proved a big hit.

The 1270G harvester with John Deere’s IBC crane-tip control proved a big hit.

The technology is a development of the crane-tip control for forwarders presented by the Finland-based forestry division of US-headed heavy machinery and agriculture equipment major John Deere at the previous Elmia Wood in 2013. The technology was a huge success and customers say they can move an extra load every shift with it.

Called IBC, the updated technology is now available for harvesters too. Basically, precise sensors in all the crane joints transmit information to a computer, which coordinates the positional information with the instructions from the operator’s joystick.

The result is that the crane automatically compensates for changes in geometry when the boom extends. The crane also lifts the harvester head as it brings back the felled stem. The entire operation becomes much easier and more intuitive.

John Deere is cautious about giving exact details of time gains and fuel savings. But clearly, there are productivity improvements to be made at the same level as crane-tip control has given to forwarder operators.

The big improvement is that the operator can maintain top productivity throughout the shift, explains Vesa Siltanen of John Deere.

New 8-wheeled harvester unveiled

During Elmia Wood Siltanen demonstrated the new crane-tip control to a large number of interested contractors and harvester operators in a 1270G harvester. They also had the opportunity to test the new technology, not by doing actual felling but by navigating the harvester head and gripping the stems. The verdict was very positive: crane-tip control for harvesters is clearly something that’s here to stay and that makes the operator more productive.

The new John Deere 8-wheeled 1170G harvester was one of many new forest machines unveiled during Elmia Wood.

The new John Deere 8-wheeled 1170G harvester was one of many new forest machines unveiled during Elmia Wood.

John Deere showcased a complete line-up of its cut-to-length (CTL) offering which included the recently introduced mid-sized forwarders 1110G, 1210G and 1510G shown for the first time. Also unveiled during the show was the new 1170G 8-wheeled harvester.

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