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E-xceptional equipment
Logging & Sawmilling Journal was front and centre—and in the operator’s seat—when John Deere recently brought forestry journalists from around the world to Finland for a look at Deere’s new E-series harvesters and forwarders.

Deere engineers have designed an elliptically-shaped cab for their line-up of E-series harvesters and forwarders that offers a number of productivity advantages to North American loggers used to long 10-hour shifts in the seat.

can be hard to keep things a secret, at least for too long. A case in point is that rumours had circulated in Germany for about a year regarding a swiveling/leveling version of John Deere’s venerable 1410D forwarder and 1270D harvester. But the 40 journalists from 13 countries still weren’t quite prepared for what Deere had on display at a well-orchestrated unveiling ceremony in Lahti, Finland in May. The benefits of these new E-series machines can be significant, especially for Canadian logging contractors and equipment operators.

One of the driving forces for these equipment changes is the continuing effort by Deere to be customer-focused—notably to its forestry customers—with machines and services that are designed to be productive and operator-friendly. What customers think—and need—are an integral part of product development. That philosophy was certainly evident at the unveiling of the new harvesters and forwarders in Lahti, just northeast of Finland’s capital city of Helsinki.

Deere engineers have designed an elliptically shaped cab for its line-up of harvesters and forwarders that offers a number of productivity advantages to North American loggers used to long 10-hour shifts in the seat. Though there are other improvements, the new cab design is the most obvious difference between the E-series machines and earlier versions.

A number of Scandinavian manufacturers had already pioneered a pendulum-type, plum bob cab that turned and leveled from a central point above the machine. Another equipment manufacturer, Timberpro, builds forwarders and clam bunks where the upper—including engine—swivels on a slewing ring. But Deere’s new design offers a number of innovations specifically designed to increase operator comfort and productivity.

Among the machines unveiled in Finland was Deere’s new 1510E forwarder. This is the first in a family of six new forwarder models to be introduced through 2008 and 2009. The 1510 E weighs in at 39,500 pounds, about 1,000 pounds more than the 1410D, which it will be replacing. On this eight-wheel machine the cab rests on a turntable between the front bogie axles and rotates 290 degrees to follow the movement of the boom from the forest floor to the bunk as the operator picks up a grapple load. The cab then rotates back with the boom and grapple to pick up the next load of logs.

With the 1510E, operators enjoy a safe, 360 degree view of the machine’s surroundings without swiveling the seat or incurring the ergonomic stress of neck bending, which is likely to increase productivity through the work day.

An option that will come in handy in rocky Canadian conditions, the forwarder cab also tilts 10 degrees to the side and six degrees forward and back to keep the cab level during loading, and helps to smooth out the traveling to roadside and back. Other improvements designed to increase productivity include a 1.6 ton increase in load capacity over the 1410D, a stronger frame, added engine power/ torque and higher tractive force.

Deere’s four new sizes of harvesters, from the 1170E four-wheel version to the 1470E, come equipped with the new cab design as well.

Operators switching from the forwarder to the harvester (or vice-versa) will be immediately familiar with control locations, the increased visibility and general cab surroundings. The harvester cab rotates 160 degrees. Side-to-side and front/back leveling is greater than the forwarder, much needed since operators can sometimes be in awkward angles while felling and processing stems. Like the E- series forwarder, the vibration and noise levels are reduced as compared with the D models, which also increases operator comfort and productivity. The 1270E also incorporates a new CH7 parallel boom which, according to Deere, increases lift and swing torque, as well as reach.

Mechanical improvements weren’t the only updates to the new Es. Both the harvester and the forwarder are available with Timberlink, an impressive monitoring system that constantly analyzes machine performance, the duration of each of the work phases and fuel consumption at each phase.

With rising energy prices, fuel consumption is on everyone’s mind. Timberlink can give operators instant feedback on consumption levels and machine productivity, helping contractors reduce costs while optimizing performance.

Timberlink information can also be easily downloaded for training purposes or by dealer personnel so they can tweak settings and optimize performance. On the harvester, the TimberMatic H-09 measuring and control system features a more intuitive operator interface with a number of shortcut keys. Operators can fine tune and adjust the boom, head and many other settings on the fly.

While Deere unveiled the new equipment to forestry journalists at the event in Finland, the company will have the new E-series forwarders and harvesters in the woods and working at the upcoming Demo 2008 show in Halifax and the Lake State Logging Congress in Wisconsin, both being held in September.

More new equipment from Deere: beefed-up line of swing machines
The new John Deere 2454D and 2954D swing machines have been re-tooled with improved durability in mind, making them into what John Deere says are some of the toughest swing machines in the forest. They come equipped with Tier III-compliant engines that increase power while promoting fuel efficiency. From the productivity perspective, the company has improved machine performance by: boosting the horsepower; improved attachment performance, machine smoothness; achieved faster cycle times by updating the hydraulic system; given the operator more control of the worksite by engineering greater reach and lifting capacity, and more swing torque; engineered a purpose-built processor front design; and increased tractive effort.

In terms of uptime, the swing unit structures have been redesigned for improved durability. It is now equipped with next-size-up components as well as a hydraulically driven on-demand fan with reversing option. Greater attention has also been given to external debris management and component protection to reduce downtime.

To reduce daily operating costs, the swing machines have remote-mounted filters, dynamic test ports to improve oil sampling, and come with a standard 1050 litre (277 gallon) fuel tank.