When contractors are on the hunt for grade control solutions and can’t afford to waste time on unreliable equipment, they know they can turn to John Deere for everything they need. SmartGrade™ technology, for example, can help operators work more efficiently to ensure they get the most out of their time while out on the worksite. One company that has taken advantage of it is Bob Dietz & Sons, Inc., and the technology continues to have a positive impact on the way it does business on a daily basis.

What is John Deere SmartGrade?

John Deere SmartGrade is precision technology that allows operators to increase both accuracy and productivity at their job sites. It comes factory-installed and calibrated on many of Deere’s machines, including the 210G LC and 350G LC excavators, making it a breeze to integrate into an existing workforce.

Customers who purchase one of these excavators can choose from four grade management options: SmartGrade, SmartGrade-Ready with 2D, 3D Grade Guidance, and 2D Grade Guidance. Deere also offers upgrade kits for each option, allowing customers to adopt the technology at their own pace. SmartGrade-Ready with 2D offers a 2D system with semiautomated functions, while the 3D Grade Guidance option is designed to leverage GNSS technology to utilize a 3D design plan. All SmartGrade-equipped machines have a selectable bucket control feature that automatically maintains the set bucket angle during each grading pass.

The Virtual Front feature hydraulically limits and automatically stops the bucket cutting edge from coming into contact with the front of the machine. Additionally, the over-dig protect feature limits the bucket’s cutting edge from going below the target design surface, eliminating the possibility of over-digging. Other virtual fence technology features, such as Virtual Floor and Virtual Wall, are designed to set off audible alerts when the machine approaches a setpoint.

With John Deere SmartGrade Remote Support, a dealer can remotely monitor any piece of equipment to provide support from afar. Wireless data transfer also allows them to remotely send updated design files to machinery. SmartGrade excavators are compatible with JDLink™ telematics, giving increased visibility to customers who want to ensure that their machines are operating as efficiently as possible.

How John Deere Deere Transformed Operations at Bob Dietz & Sons, Inc.

For as long as they can remember, brothers Tony, Joe, and Brian Dietz have always been involved in their father’s work. Bob Dietz, who founded Bob Dietz & Sons, Inc., introduced his sons to construction at an early age. Bob himself established the excavation company in 1976, and his children instantly recognized his passion for the industry.

“Without even realizing it, Dad created a strong team that really works well together,” Joe told Deere, who is director of technology. “It has always been about enjoying the work. And because of that, we all developed our own talents and special abilities.”

In September 2019, Bob Dietz & Sons, Inc. began working at a large resort, which included roads, parking lots, and more than five miles of water, sewer, and storm utilities. It was then that the brothers recognized it could be the perfect testing ground for Deere’s SmartGrade technology.

“SmartGrade has completely transformed our business,” Brian told Deere. “GPS technology gives us the confidence to know exactly where we’re at, and productivity goes through the roof. We’re seeing efficiency just blossom in areas where we struggled in the past.”

Now, Bob Dietz & Sons, Inc. has been utilizing SmartGrade technology for two years. Brian says they are seeing massive results, significantly shortening the amount of time it takes to complete various tasks on-site. Furthermore, the brothers don’t have to worry about installing and removing machine components each day, as the Deere excavators are fully integrated from the factory. Tony notes that this has saved them significant time every morning, eliminating the need to prepare each machine for use.

“Deere has our best interests in mind, along with a dealer network providing the support we need to accomplish the work in front of us,” Brian added. “We’ve got not only a manufacturer making equipment, but a team that works with us to help us become more efficient.”

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