Operating a harvester crane can require handling two or even three controls. At Elmia Wood John Deere had its world premiere for crane-tip control using only one joystick. The result is greater precision and less strain for the operator.
The technology is a development of the crane-tip control for forwarders presented by John Deere at the previous Elmia Wood in 2013. The technology was a huge success and customers say they can move an extra load every shift with it.
Now the technology is available for harvesters too. Basically, precise sensors in all the crane joints transmit information to a computer, which coordinates the positional information with the instructions from the operator’s joystick.
The result is that the crane automatically compensates for changes in geometry when the boom extends. The crane also lifts the harvester head as it brings back the felled stem. The entire operation becomes much easier and more intuitive.
John Deere is cautious about giving exact details of time gains and fuel savings. But clearly there are productivity improvements to be made at the same level as crane-tip control has given to forwarders.
“The big improvement is that the operator can maintain top productivity throughout the shift,” explains Vesa Siltanen of John Deere.
During Elmia Wood he demonstrated the new crane-tip control to a large number of interested contractors and harvester operators. They also had the opportunity to test the new technology, not by doing actual felling but by navigating the harvester head and gripping the stems. The verdict was very positive: crane-tip control for harvesters is clearly something that’s here to stay and that makes the operator more productive.