John Deere’s Newest Forwarder Technology

Leads the way

John Deere Foresters

John Deere’s cut-to-Length, Joensuu factory in Finland has produced in excess of 11,000 John Deere branded wheeled forestry harvesting machines and before that produced the globally renowned Timberjack wheeled harvesters and forwarders. In total the factory has manufactured well over 30,000 units. Today the factory produces the full range E and G Series John Deere forwarders of which two models are shipped to Australia and New Zealand, the 1510G and 1910E.

Recently introduced to Australia is John Deere’s new Intelligent Boom Control (IBC), a milestone in forwarder technology: child’s play to use, accurate, time-saving and considerably reducing the stress of the boom components. Once the Intelligent Boom Control has been switched on, you’ll never want to switch it off again!

Hitachi Construction Machinery Australia Pty Ltd (HCA) sold the first IBC system in Australia to Merrett Logging in Penola, South Australia. Plant Manager John Merrett said, it was clear from the start the direct benefits would be considerable. “We first heard about the IBC option on the 1910E when two representatives from John Deere Finland came around to our workshop to look at our operations. We had a forwarder on order at the time and when they showed us a short five minute Youtube clip we decided there and then to cancel the order and put an order in direct from the factory even though we knew it would take an extra few months to receive the machine. From that one short clip it was evident that the advantages of the IBC would be significant,” he said. 

IBC makes it much easier to learn boom control, and enables speedy work – even for beginners. This is particularly handy for John’s business when starting a new operator on site. “The unloading feature of the IBC is particularly clever as it reduces the amount that the extension boom comes out. Our new operators seem to pick up the boom control even quicker with IBC as there’s less requirement from the operator to move several functions at once to get the boom where they need it, the IBC simply does it for them,” said John. 

Now it’s not the machine that sets the limits, but the operator. IBC has made forwarding more relaxed and easier for the operators to learn the boom function decreasing training time and getting to higher productivity levels faster. The most convincing fact has been seen in the operator’s behavior: ever since the system has been introduced to them, they don’t switch it off – it stays on the entire time.

“Our operator has only just put his first 250 hours on the machine last week and he is already ahead on production in this short space of time. Vernon Mansell is the operator on the machine, Vernon has had a long history in the forest industry and has done over 15000 hours on our John Deere 1910E model forwarders already so for him to up his production practically overnight was a huge plus for our company. Vernon has said, “it feels very natural in the movements, an extension of your arm when picking up timber. He also said he generally feels fresher at the end of a shift as his movements are less when operating the boom,” said John. 

The best thing about the IBC system is that it controls the boom as a whole and the operator doesn’t have to think about each individual movement separately. The boom functions smoothly as a complete entity without jerking, since the pump supply is automatically divided among the different movements. For example, driving and loading simultaneously is easier when you don’t have to put as much focus on controlling the boom. IBC also shows how the extension should actually be used. The system is great at dividing the pump flow among different movements. The boom is accurate and easy to operate. Operators have direct control of the boom tip instead of controlling independent boom joint movements. The system also considerably reduces the number of tuning parameters needed and increases durability of boom structures and hydraulic cylinders.

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