Equipment

Making 3D Grade Control a More Powerful Tool

October 2016, Government Fleet - Feature

by Staff

The John Deere 750K and 850K SmartGrade crawler dozers are each equipped with a 6.8L Tier 4 Final-certified engine and fully integrated grade control system. Photo courtesy of John Deere
The John Deere 750K and 850K SmartGrade crawler dozers are each equipped with a 6.8L Tier 4 Final-certified engine and fully integrated grade control system. Photo courtesy of John Deere

The John Deere 750K and 850K SmartGrade crawler dozers make 3D grade control technology a more practical option earlier in the earthmoving cycle, bolstering accuracy and quality of work at the jobsite, according to the manufacturer.

John Deere worked with Topcon Positioning Systems to develop the SmartGrade system, which is based on Topcon’s 3D-MC2.  Unlike an aftermarket unit, SmartGrade is fully integrated into the machine cabin, structures, electrical system, and software. There are no vulnerable external masts and cables to worry about.

Full Integration Means Greater Use

In the past, operators have typically limited 3D grade control for the final few passes to get to finish grade. This approach grew out of concerns that the grade control components were too susceptible to theft and to damage during earlier phases such as bulk removal and dirt prep. But the SmartGrade system’s full integration dispels those fears because the components are much more secure, explained Mark Oliver, product marketing manager for John Deere.

John Deere first introduced its SmartGrade system on the 700K SmartGrade crawler dozer in March.

“The launch of our 700K SmartGrade dozer was a huge hit earlier this year, and many of our customers asked for the grade control technology to be integrated into our larger offerings,” said Liz Quinn, product marketing manager for John Deere WorkSight. “The 750K and 850K SmartGrade dozers answer that call. They’re easy to set up and are highly productive earthmoving and grading machines intended for road building, site development, and residential building applications.”

The 750K and 850K feature a PowerTech 6.8L Tier 4 Final diesel engine with 165 hp and 205 hp, respectively. Both models include a fuel-saving Eco mode, which automatically adjusts engine power and transmission settings based on load while maintaining ground speed.

The operator controls offer multiple ways to engage the grade control system and can be customized based on an operator’s preferences. Photo courtesy of John Deere
The operator controls offer multiple ways to engage the grade control system and can be customized based on an operator’s preferences. Photo courtesy of John Deere

Time-Saving Benefits

SmartGrade’s full integration removes the need to install blade-mounted sensors and components daily, reducing setup time for operators. Additionally, machine dimensions are preloaded into the grade control monitor, cutting the time required to calibrate the dozer to about 30 minutes.

A key feature of the integrated machine control is Auto SmartGrade. This allows the operator to easily adjust the system when moving the machine from one soil type to another. Auto SmartGrade also automatically lifts the blade over heavy loads before track slippage occurs, and then returns the blade to grade.

The SmartGrade integration into the 750K and 850K dozers allows for enhanced diagnostics as well. Data can be transmitted over the John Deere JDLink telematics system. Fleet managers can also purchase Ultimate Uptime featuring John Deere WorkSight for additional telematics service and support.

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