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News Releases

2015 News Releases and Information

John Deere Introduces the Game-Changing L-Series Skidders

New machines redefine expectations of what a skidder can accomplish for a logging operation

MOLINE, Illinois (April 1, 2015) — Backed by over a half-century of experience, inspired by loggers and proven in the toughest conditions imaginable, the new John Deere L-Series Skidders have officially entered the forest with features that promise to increase uptime and productivity, while lowering daily operating costs for loggers. These game-changing machines are John Deere's most reliable and productive ever, redefining expectations of what a skidder can accomplish for any logging operation. The introduction of the L-Series also marks the celebration of 50 years of manufacturing skidders for John Deere, a major manufacturing milestone that demonstrates John Deere's forward thinking and ongoing commitment to developing solutions for the type of challenges loggers face in the woods.


To design the game-changing L-Series Skidders, John Deere collected invaluable input from loggers and dealers around the world to form Customer and Dealer Advocacy Groups (CAG and DAG). The CAG and DAG provided real-world insights on what loggers need in a skidder to be successful. Engineers then devoted 250,000 hours designing prototypes based on these fresh ideas, and continued to refine the machines until they got them exactly right.


"Since 1965, when we introduced our 440 Skidder, John Deere has continued to change the game for loggers with safer and more comfortable machines to increase productivity and make a tough job just a little bit easier," said Brandon O'Neal, Product Marketing Manager, John Deere Construction & Forestry. "Today, that customer-inspired commitment to quality lives on in the L-Series Skidders with advancements that came from the brightest minds in the industry – our customers who live in these machines every day."


Validated by over 11,500 hours of testing in real-world conditions, the L-Series Skidders are built for the way loggers work, and they seem to agree:

  • "Over the last few years, we've seen our brainstorms and ideas transformed into a machine that has conformed to the high standards we set. We helped create a machine that's even more durable, more efficient and more operator friendly than we ever imagined." – Jack McFarland, McFarland Timber, Winnfield, Louisiana
  • "They've done pretty much everything we discussed. A big improvement is the size of the cab. Loggers will work longer and happier without strain." – Roger Ferguson, Sika Logging, Taupo, New Zealand


In the forest, uptime is the name of the game, and the L-Series Skidders have several innovative features that deliver more uptime at a lower cost that will help loggers reach new levels of productivity like never before.


Power When You Need It
John Deere has always focused on adding the right engine technologies at the right time built on enterprise wide experience and expertise, which is why the L-Series Skidders are the first John Deere Forestry machines to launch with Final Tier 4 engines. This smart approach to meeting emission regulations optimizes performance, is fluid efficient and doesn't compromise on power, reliability or ease of operation.


The transition to a Final Tier 4 engine also means the introduction of an innovative new John Deere designed Continuous Variable Transmission (CVT) and drivetrain. This industry exclusive enables a constant engine speed, reducing engine wear while ensuring excellent fluid economy. What this means for loggers is there is no need to shift gears. The operator sets his or her desired speed range and then lets the CVT transmission select the most efficient operating point. This allows the operator to focus on production and safety versus shifting gears.


Additional CVT highlights include:

  • Works with the engine operating at a constant speed, which provides better engine efficiency, as well as improving durability
  • Constant engine speed enables more robust and consistent hydraulic, cooling and electrical system performance as they are always running at their designed speeds
  • Delivers the smoothness and operating ease of a hydrostatic transmission with the fuel efficiency of a torque converter


Built For the Long Haul
All L-Series Skidders feature more robust heavy-duty axles, including a rugged new Outboard-Extreme™ axle (standard on the 848L and 948L, optional on the 748L) that sets a new standard for reliability. These robust heavy-duty axles improve machine durability and extend life – with life expectancy up to 15,000 hours.


Additional features that increase machine durability include:

  • Tougher grapples that feature box-style tongs for maximum strength and harder wear surfaces for long life. This design also simplifies service as components are easier to access.
  • Straight bushings with grease-thru pins at all grapple, arch, boom and blade joints deliver longer, trouble-free life and are easier to replace.
  • More durable components include a beefier roller-bearing articulation joint that has been designed for longer life. Arch hoses have been routed inside the arch where they are better-protected and easier to access for fast repair.
  • John Deere ForestSight™ and Ultimate Uptime are also available as an option on all L-Series machines. This integrated suite of technology solutions brings the machine, technology and the dealer together to help loggers better manage their equipment and operations with fast, accurate remote diagnostics, rapid service response and on-demand dealer support.


Drag More Wood
The L-Series Skidders boast significantly more horsepower, stability and grapple options for superb responsiveness and steady multifunction performance. These new larger grapples – up to a massive 22.3 sq. ft. on the 948L – gives loggers more flexibility to configure a skidder to best match their application. A newly designed arch and boom configuration also provides a better view to the grapple for easier and more efficient operation.


The L-Series machines combine best-in-class horsepower and an impressive power-to-weight ratio with a constant engine speed. This allows for superb responsiveness and maximum efficiency. Finally, better machine balance optimizes pulling power, while improving stability when climbing hills, navigating adverse terrain or hauling bigger payloads.


Operate in Comfort
The new operator station on all L-Series machines was designed by loggers for loggers. The best-in-class cab is 25 percent roomier and more than 50 percent quieter than John Deere's previous models. Other fatigue beating comforts include a more efficient HVAC system, more ergonomic controls and plenty of storage space. Finally, an optional rotating seat with joystick steering helps reduce strain on the back and neck for less fatigue.


John Deere's L-Series Skidders are now available in North America in a 640L, 648L, 748L, 848L and 948L model. To learn more, view model-specific features and hear real customer feedback, visit www.JohnDeere.com/GameChangers.


About Deere & Company


Deere & Company (NYSE: DE) is a world leader in providing advanced products and services and is committed to the success of customers whose work is linked to the land - those who cultivate, harvest, transform, enrich and build upon the land to meet the world's dramatically increasing need for food, fuel, shelter and infrastructure. Since 1837, John Deere has delivered innovative products of superior quality built on a tradition of integrity. For more information, visit John Deere at www.JohnDeere.com.

Worldwide Construction
& Forestry Division
Mailing:  P.O. Box 8806
Moline, IL 61266-8806

Media Contact:

Caitlin Haskins

Phone: 410-821-8220
E-mail: caitlinh@imre.com