Updating a machine’s design is a complicated process — incorporating updated features and improving its productivity, all while keeping operator experience top-of-mind. Throw in complying with the latest EPA regulations, and updating your machine can seem like a daunting feat of engineering.
Matt Coe, manager of COE Orchard Equipment in Live Oak, California, certainly didn’t hold back his engineers when they developed the new R-series shaker and receivers. But he did provide one goal: to standardize its new generation of orchard equipment with a Final Tier 4-compliant engine.
They moved forward with the John Deere PowerTech™ EWX 4.5L. Although it’s in a smaller horsepower range than what they previously used, it provided significant advantages without having to sacrifice overall power.
“COE could have dropped in a Final Tier 4 engine in the same horsepower range as its current product line, but that would have presented packaging issues in a low-profile orchard vehicle,” explains Coe. "This engine has a single emissions canister and does not require the use of diesel exhaust fluid, making for a simple engine platform that is easy to maintain and closely matches to the maintenance schedule of the outgoing Tier 3 engines.”
Lowering the horsepower requirements of the machines meant re-engineering the hydraulic system and integrating power-maximizing software. “The result is a hydraulic system requiring less horsepower to operate but returning higher performance than our outgoing higher-horsepower models,” says Coe.
Shakers also now use an electronically controlled, dual-function hydrostatic pump that delivers efficient power to both the shaker head and ground drive. “In previous models, the hydrostatic pump only powered the ground drive,” explains Coe. “For the R-Series, the same pump that runs the hydrostatic ground drive also powers the shake. When you arrive to a tree and clamp it, a switch is made in the hydraulic loop, and you can use your hydrostatic pump to run the shaker head.”
From inside the cab, operators can pre-program the clamp pressure and shaking pattern, intensity, and duration — all aimed at reducing tree injury that often results from operator error.
“We’re very driven to deliver products that are simple and easy to use,” says Coe. “Finding good operators can be a challenge for growers. With the automated features of the R-Series, an operator can build a shake pattern on the computer, and the machine will follow the command.
“We’re making products that solve the grower’s issues and make their harvest easier, more efficient, and more profitable. That’s what we do here. We work hard so the customer doesn’t have to work as hard during the season.”
And he’s pleased with the EWX 4.5L engine. “The 74-hp (55 kW) engine really fit the bill,” says Coe. “Historically people equate more horsepower to better performance. With the addition of software, electronic aids, and improved hydraulics, the John Deere–powered R-Series harvester delivers exceptional performance that blows the doors off the older models.”
Coe attributes much of the success of the R-Series harvesting machine to the solid, long-standing relationship he has with his John Deere engine distributor. “Western Power has really done a good job of keeping us informed about emissions standards so that we can keep our dealers and customers up to date. And of course, you need to have a distributor who is willing to listen and help you find solutions.”
Historically people equate more horsepower to better performance. With the addition of software, electronic aids, and improved hydraulics, the John Deere-powered R-Series harvester delivers exceptional performance that blows the doros off the older models.