Excavator demonstration and walk-around features the latest in innovative design and technology

by Jon M. Casey

John Deere-Hitachi celebrated the 30th anniversary of their joint venture in the Americas by hosting visitors and company employees at an equipment demonstration and walk-around, part of the three-day event held May 16-19, 2018. On Wednesday, media guests not only toured the manufacturing facility in Kernersville, NC, but they also enjoyed a morning of hands-on opportunities to see some of the latest improvements in excavator technology to help make the jobsite experience safer and more productive. On display were an Hitachi 300LC, a John Deere 350G outfitted with the company’s new grade control system, a John Deere 85G mini excavator, and the new John Deere 345G LC, reduced tail swing model.

New to the John Deere lineup of excavators is the 345G LC. It features the power and agility of the JD 350 series models, with the added benefit of reduced tail swing design. According to Jonathan Spendlove, excavator product marketing manager for John Deere Construction & Forestry, the need for larger, more powerful reduced tail swing excavators are in demand to traverse the tighter jobsite requirements. This new model adds another option to the manufacturer’s 33 – 40 metric ton size class. It provides customers with a larger machine with increased lift capacity, more reach, deeper dig depth and greater breakout forces compared to the current 245G LC model. The excavator is ideal for work in road building, underground, building, landscaping and site development applications.

“The ability for our customers to swing a machine and not have the counterweight extend into an additional lane of traffic or bump into a tree is an equipment trait they are considering when looking at options like the 345G LC,” he said.

The 345G LC is outfitted with a 249-horsepower John Deere Final Tier 4 diesel engine. It features no diesel particulate filter (DPF) after treatment and a three-pump hydraulic system that provides generous hydraulic flow for fast cycle times, greater flow for attachments and larger efficiency for improved fuel economy.

Improved hydraulics

At the demonstration site, Alex Anhalt, John Deere product consultant for excavators, explained that the JD345G LC is equipped with three hydraulic pumps that provide 180 gallons per minute, which is about 20 percent more than the larger 350 G LC model. He explained that the pumps are computer controlled to deliver the fluid to the machine at the desired place at the desired time. For example, there is a very quick response when the operator changes from digging to swinging the unit to dump the bucket full of material. When digging, the three pumps all direct their flow to the digging. When that action is completed, pump three disengages and waits for the operator to swing the excavator to the side. At that time, it instantly responds, providing faster swing and dump times, which help to increase production rates. He said that digging rates are about the same as previous models; however, the swing, dump and return times are greatly increased to help reduce lost time in motion.

He noted the three-pump hydraulic system also provides for easier attachment changes since the flow and pressure rates can be adjusted from within the cab. Operators will not need to disembark the unit and make manual changes to the hydraulics in order to switch attachments. An optional factory-installed system is available to help power larger attachments like hammers or shears, when greater flow rates are needed. The electronic control on the hydraulic system provides up to 12 settings for attachments. These changes can be made instantly. This makes changing attachments significantly faster. “All the operator has to do is push a button,” Anhalt said.

The 345G LC is built with side-by-side cooling cores for maximum cooling efficiency and easy cleaning. This means less downtime to clean debris and less overheating. The unit can be equipped for reversing fans for applications where the machine is in dusty conditions or areas like mulch production facilities where radiators can plug more easily.

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