Heavy equipment manufacturer John Deere’s motor grader range encompasses a variety of models to suit customer requirements.
The graders are designed to offer improved productivity and the company “constantly” integrates improvements that make a significant difference for customers, says John Deere Africa construction and forestry sales manager Griffiths Makgate.
The range includes tandem drive with the 620, 670, 770 and 870 models, as well as Hydrostatic front wheel drive consisting of the 622, 672, 772 and 872 models.
The graders vary from fully mechanical – in the G versions – to high-end models with smart steer technology – the GP versions – enabling customers to choose from a range of options.
The G models offer conventional lever-operated controls. The GP models offer either dual-joystick controls or “state-of-the-art” fingertip armrest controls, depending on customer preference. Customers can also use the field kit to easily swap between the two dual-joystick controls on the GP models, adds Makgate.
The dual-joystick option provides intuitive control with minimal hand motion during direction changes and gear shifts. This assists in reducing operator fatigue by eliminating the twisting wrist motion or uncomfortable combinations common to other joystick systems.
The various features associated with every model ensure that customers can choose a grader that is specific to the application required.
The high-end GP Series offers customers more precision, with the Hydrostatic front wheel drive grader offering better functionality and more traction. For applications such as road maintenance, the smaller 620 graders are ideal, whereas the 670 delivers the power required to build a road, Makgate explains.
For customers working with hard surfaces that require significant power, the 770 and 870 graders are ideal, with the option of a 12 ft or 14 ft blade base on the application.
Makgate says productivity is prioritised in all aspects of John Deere’s machines. One such aspect that improves productivity is the transmissions swift change feature. Operators can directly shift to reverse without having to shift to neutral first.
“You can get more done in less time because now you have enough power to operate the machine as well,” he adds.
Further, the automated cross-slope feature, available on the GP graders, simplifies holding a consistent slope by reducing operation to one lever. The dual-joystick controls and the finger-tip armrest controls are equipped with the cross-slope feature and are enabled to run a grade-control system.
“Instead of the operator trying to find the angle, the machine can find the angle,” enthuses Makgate.
The graders also have an automatic shutdown feature. The operator can set the idle time and the engine will turn off after such a time, resulting in fuel savings and less wear on engine, transmission and hydraulic components.
The graders’ Eco mode reduces engine revolutions per minute through gears one to five, thereby optimising fuel use and decreasing operating costs.
Prospective customers can test and view the graders, as well as other John Deere products, at John Deere distributors to ensure they find the grader best suited to their requirements.
“These machines are there to actually show customers what the John Deere machine is about. If you are looking at productivity, you can get into our machines and test it,” adds Makgate.
The distributors can provide customers with in-depth knowledge of John Deere’s equipment, in addition to showing customers the specifications of the machines and how these improve the experience of using the graders.
“This is an opportunity for customers to test what we offer and . . . to say they made a good investment.”
Makgate notes that, while price is an important consideration, it is crucial to take into account the durability, performance and uptime of the equipment.
He advises that, when choosing a grader, customers should consider their requirements over a long period as opposed to the upfront cost of it.
It is also important to choose a machine that will retain its value over time and to consider the support and service options available.
John Deere's extensive dealer network provides customers with access to parts and service, ensuring that they can receive prompt assistance in the event of any issues.
“We are there to support the product that we put out there,” Makgate concludes.