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Luxury Gators? Yep, John Deere Launches Signature Edition UTVs



Automotive-inspired Signature Editions of John Deere’s line of UTVs will be arriving in dealerships beginning in April.

The XUV835R Signature Edition Gator UTV and the XUV865R Signature Edition Gator UTV are the premium models for John Deere enthusiasts. 

“At John Deere, ‘Signature Edition’ means top of the line with the best features and upgrades,” said Maureen McCormack, Go-to-Market manager, Gator Utility Vehicles. “That’s exactly what you’ll get with Signature Edition Gator Utility Vehicles – leather seats, touchscreen infotainment system, high-end audio, rear-facing camera – it’s the best of the best in UVs.”

John Deere updated its Gator utility vehicle line in 2021 to include an instrument cluster on the dashboard that provides more information at a glance, including gear position, fuel level, differential lock, and on some models, an rpm readout and service interval indicator. 

As with all models, the Signature Editions include a climate-controlled cab, an integrated park position and improved shift pattern for easier operation and a more automotive-like feel, Deere says.

Other standard features include an electronic four-wheel-drive engagement, activating at the flip of a switch and providing power in tough conditions and more control when going downhill.

Signature standard

Changes are apparent upon opening the cab door, as the traditional yellow seats of John Deere Gators are removed in favor of a leather three-person bench seat that the company says is durable, comfortable and easier to clean. 

John Deere Signature Edition leather seatsGone are the traditional yellow seats, replaced with a leather three-person bench seat with embroidered John Deere logos.John DeereIf you’re getting in a hard day’s work, you might as well do it in style. An embroidered John Deere logo adds to the distinctive style of the Signature Edition vehicles, and there is even a leather-wrapped grab handle, with eye-catching stitching and a foam base layer to give it a soft feel.

Signature Edition vehicles also include badges on the dash and tailgate to designate their exclusivity. The tailgate’s Gator badge is also upgraded to complement the Signature Edition badge and ensure everyone knows that this isn’t your average John Deere Gator.

Another upgraded feature to the new models is the 6.4-inch touchscreen infotainment system with automotive-grade smartphone integration. Like your car or tractor, this allows for connections to Apple or Android phones for hands-free calls, texts or playing music. 

The audio system offers Bluetooth wireless connectivity, AM/FM, and SiriusXM satellite radio with a water-resistant, seven-speaker sound system, professionally tuned by Harman Audio.

Working in style

Luxury comfort is a great benefit, but the goal is to get the job done. John Deere says its Signature Edition Gator UTVs do just that.

When jobs start early or run late, the Signature Edition vehicles include factory-installed LED driving lights mounted to the front of the cab roof. The LED lights have a driving-focused beam pattern to illuminate directly in front of the vehicle.John Deere Signature Edition bumper proSignature Edition Gator UTVs are made to work and a wrap-around Bumper Pro Brush Guard helps you easily push gates without fear of damage.John Deere

As with all the Gator models, the Signature Edition Gator UTVs are made to work, and a wrap-around Bumper Pro Brush Guard helps you easily push gates without fear of damage. In addition, the bumper guard features a middle mesh screen to protect the grille from dirt and debris. The back of the vehicle is further protected by rear fender flares to keep mud and debris off the vehicle and fender guards and bumpers to protect the cargo box.

John Deere Signature Edition Gator UTV touchscreenA unique addition to the Signature Edition models is the touchscreen infotainment system with automotive-style smartphone integration.John DeereIn the cab, a rear-facing camera displays an image on screen with the push of a button to provide better visibility while attaching a trailer or spreading materials like seed or salt. It is also an added benefit when maneuvering in tight spaces.

Behind you is a rear-sliding window, to provide some needed cross-ventilation or access to the cargo box without leaving the cab.

Speaking of cargo, the Signature Edition gets the deluxe cargo box, with spray-in liner, brake lights and taillights. It consists of a 15 percent glass-filled polypropylene composite material that eliminates rust and dents and reduces noise. With 16 integrated tie-down points, it is 45 inches long, 52 inches wide and has a 1,000-pound weight capacity. Also, the Signature Editions have a standard 2-inch hitch receiver with a 2,000-pound towing capacity.

The XU835R, will start at $35,849, and the XU865R starts at $37,099. 


Liebherr Completely Redesigns TA 230 Articulated Dump Truck




Liebherr has unveiled its next generation of articulated dump trucks to customers in the U.S.

The TA 230 Litronic was redeveloped from scratch, based on comprehensive market and customer analyses, and includes state-of-the-art technological advancements, the company says. It is designed for overburden transport, larger infrastructure projects and other off-road applications.

New machine concept

The overall design of the front end of the truck increases ground clearance. The powershift transmission has been positioned under the cab, and the exhaust gas aftertreatment is installed behind the cab, allowing for a large hood-slope angle for increased visibility. A touch display with integrated rear camera increases visibility in the rear.

“The visibility on this machine is unparalleled compared to anything you’ve seen,” said Chris Crews, Liebherr USA articulated truck product manager, noting the lack of A-frame bars through the windows for a more panoramic view. 

With the hood mounted at a 7-degree angle, Crews said, someone can stand in front of the hood and the driver can still see the person. “That’s money in your pocket for not running somebody over,” he quipped.

New LED lighting also increase visibility for both the operator and everyone around the truck. For example. dipped-beam headlamps with integrated high beams illuminate the road, and optional LED headlights light up the working area. Additional lighting is provided at the rear of the dump bed and another light package at the mudguards to improve maneuvering at night. There is an optional LED access light for safety when getting into the cab.

“This is definitely the brightest machine on the market,” said Karsten Kloecker, Liebherr area sales manager.

Powerful drive 

A 6-cylinder, 360 horsepower Tier 4 Final diesel engine, paired with an automatic eight-speed powershift transmission, with actively controlled longitudinal differential locks, offers travel speed of 35 mph, and 9.9 mph in reverse. Despite the size of the engine, it is configured to limit sound.

“This is the perfect truck for working in urban and populated areas,” said Mike Randall, Liebherr general manager product manager. “It reduces noise pollution, and you get no complaints from the neighbors.” 

The TA 230 is equipped with both hill assist and speed assist. With the hard stop function, the end position damping of the dump-bed lifting cylinders can be activated or deactivated at the touch of a button. The speed-dependent steering continuously adapts the ratio of the steering movements to the current speed. This allows easy and accurate maneuvering at low speeds, but also accurate steering at higher speeds, as well as fewer steering corrections when cornering or taking bends. 

“The braking system on the TA 230 is state-of-the-art automatic retardation of the engine and the powertrain, ensuring smooth stops and further reducing stress on the operator,” Randall said. “As a bonus, this feature almost ensures maintenance-free brakes for life, and of course, the more money saved means more profitability.”

Also, the redesigned articulated swivel joint allows independent movements of the front and rear end for increased maneuverability. The positive-locking swivel joint with tapered roller bearing handles stress arising during use and optimal force distribution, the company says. To further maintain high ground clearance the front axle suspension is secured with A-rods and shock absorbers at the articulated swivel joint and separate and oscillating A-rods of the rear axles at the rear end. Automatic traction control is also available for the TA 230, meaning that as soon as slipping occurs at an axle, the torque is transferred to the axle or axles with traction. 

Wheel loader dumping into TA 230 ADTOptimized dump bed shape: The front is straight and the sills are low so that loading with a wheel loader, for example, is possible across the entire length.Liebherr

More material, shorter time 

The dump bed of the new TA 230 Litronic is designed for transport of up to 28 tons. Numerous improvements have been made to the dump bed for quick and efficient loading and unloading, as well as safe transport of the material, Liebherr says. The front of the dump bed is straight, and the sills are low, so that loading with a wheel loader is possible across the entire length. 

A standard weighing system shows the current payload during the loading process on the display in the cab. An optional loading light on both sides at the back of the cab shows the loading level outdoors. To accelerate the release of the material during unloading, the inner edges of the dump bed are tapered. Other options include dump bed heating with exhaust gas management so unloading can easily be completed at cooler temperatures. 

Two tipping cylinders at the side allow the load to be tipped against the slope easily and quickly. Thanks to the large opening width, tipping of large and bulky transported material is easily possible, the company says. During transportation, the long chute ensures minimal material loss. The dump bed volume can be increased with an optional tailgate. Even with the tailgate the overall width of the TA 230 is below 10 feet, which allows it to be transported on a lowboy trailer.

TA 230 Litronic operating in off-road conditions.The new TA 230 Litronic is designed for challenging off-road applications and offers superb off-road capability, maximum traction and combined pulling force.Liebherr


The TA 230 automatically runs daily checks on itself with sensor technology. It runs through an inspection catalogue at the start, in which levels of engine oil, coolant and the central lubrication system are checked. Any deviations are shown on the display in the cab. As a result, the daily set-up times can be reduced, costs can be saved, and the durability of the components can be extended, Liebherr says.

The electrohydraulic-opening hood has an integrated folding ladder with non-slip steps to access the entire engine. All relevant service points are visible and easily accessible with maintenance able to be performed from a platform. Many routine service points are accessible at ground level, including for fuel. In addition, general service points are always on the cold side of the engine.

Quick specs

  • Empty vehicle weight: 54,200 lbs.
  • Payload: 61,800 lbs.
  • Max. dump bed capacity with tailgate: 23.67 yd³ 
  • Engine output (ISO 9249): 355 hp
  • Emission stage: Tier 4 Final
  • Max. driving speed: 35.40 mph (forward) / 9.90 mph (reverse)

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Hitachi’s First 3 Excavators Since Deere Split Unveiled for U.S.




Hitachi has unveiled three new excavators for the U.S. market, the company’s first North American excavator launch since the end of its manufacturing agreement with John Deere.

Hitachi Construction Machinery Americas had a 33-year marketing and manufacturing agreement with Deere in which the companies jointly produced excavators at plants in North Carolina, Canada and Brazil. On February 28, the agreement was officially dissolved and Deere has since purchased the plants for producing its own brand of excavators. Hitachi and Deere have a new supply agreement for Deere excavators.

Last week at its Newnan, Georgia, headquarters, Hitachi rolled out its first set of independently produced excavators for North America. They were made in Japan and imported here. The three models are the ZX50U-5N and ZX26U-5N compact excavators and the 25-ton ZX210LC-6 HP.

ZX210LC-6 HP

hitachi ZXC210LC excavator with bucket full of dirtHitachi ZX210LC-6 HPHitachiHitachi says its new 25-ton ZX210LC-6 HP offers best-in-class power and speed.

It runs on a 163.6-horsepower Isuzu 4-cylinder engine. Hitachi says the engine has several features to improve performance:

  • Variable geometry turbocharger that delivers an optimum quantity of air to the combustion chamber under all the engine’s operating ranges.
  • Electronically controlled common-rail fuel injection system that delivers a precise quantity of pressurized fuel to achieve efficient combustion and reduce fuel consumption.
  • Combustion chamber with a diamond-like carbon (DLC) coating for reduced wear.
  • Revised piston shape for cleaner emissions.
  • Electronic governor to maintain a constant speed despite load changes. This can reduce fuel consumption and noise in no-load and light-duty operations.
  • Engine warm-up system that automatically increases engine speed in cold weather to quickly heat up the hydraulic oil and coolant.

In HP Mode, engine speed and hydraulic pump output-torque increase. The front attachment moves faster because each actuator has its own pump, the company says, so hydraulic oil flows separately to the bucket, arm and boom cylinders. The TRIAS II hydraulic system has three pumps supplying the oil to the actuators and are designed to reduce fuel consumption and deliver precise flow for better attachment control.

An arm recirculation cancellation system increases speed when rolling the arm in when working with lighter loads. A hydraulic boost system increases arm speed. The systems are designed for more efficient use of hydraulic oil. The excavator also has two extra spools in the control valve for easier installation of large-flow attachments.

The cab is equipped with a 7-inch multifunction LCD monitor. It displays the Aerial Angle peripheral vision camera system, which includes a surround option that gives a 270-degree view of the excavator’s immediate surroundings. Other view options are rear right, and rear right and left.

Hitachi says it has make it one of the quietest cabs on the market. The suspension seat is adjustable and has an integrated control console.

Hitachi improved access to all the service points, including filters. Engine oil and coolant levels can be checked on the cab’s touchscreen monitor.

The undercarriage includes several improvements for durability:

  • Increased crossbeam size and strength.
  • Changed shape of the lower roller to prevent mud from entering it and damaging the oil seal.
  • Enlarged sliding surface of the bearing part that supports the front idler to increase its wear resistance.
  • Integrated the front idler and adjuster cylinder to improve their durability.

The model comes with Hitachi’s telematics Global e-Service for remote monitoring via Owner’s Site and ConSite, which tracks such data as idle time, operating time and fuel efficiency. It also alerts to upcoming maintenance needs and helps maximize machine efficiency and minimize downtime, Hitachi says.


Hitachi Z50U-5N compact excavator digging mudHitachiThe 5-ton ZX50U-5N has a reduced tail swing, independent swing boom and 360-degree rotation for working in tight spaces.

Hitachi says it can also work well around utilities due to its operator visibility and precise control. It can load trucks and work in wide open spaces as well. It has a maximum reach of 19 feet 7 inches and a maximum dig depth of 11 feet 7 inches.

It runs on a 36.3-net-horsepower Yanmar engine with power and eco modes.

A variety of attachments are available for the ZX50U-5N for material handling and other tasks. It comes standard with a quick coupler and boom-mounted auxiliary hydraulic line. An auxiliary function lever comes with an analog switch, trigger switch and horn for using a hydraulic breaker or attachment with swing. The Hitachi Triple H hydraulic system enables multiple operations at the same time.

A backfill blade is also standard, and a hydraulic blade that can angle 25 degrees left or right is an option.

The cab features a wide entrance, additional foot room and ergonomic hydraulic pilot controls. Control patterns can be switched from backhoe to excavator style with a selector under the seat. The 3.5-inch LCD monitor provides machine information and has a variety of touchscreen functions including auto-shutdown and the engine modes. Climate control is included.

Hitachi says it also built the ZX50U-5N to the same durability standards as its larger excavators. The rubber tracks’ steel core resists cracking, and the undercarriage features large diameter drive sprockets and track idlers, the company says. The boom cylinder gets added protection, and the upper structure has more upward impact resistance than previous models.

For easier service access, Hitachi added a hinged door to the side-by-side oil cooler and radiator core. Service points are at ground level. The operator station tilts up 50 degrees for access to the swing motor, engine starter motor and alternator. Track tension can be adjusted with a grease gun and a wrench.

Engine oil intervals are 500 hours, and hydraulic oil service intervals are 2,000 hours. Greasing intervals are 500 hours.


Hitachi ZX26U-5N Compact Excavator digging gravelHitachiThe smallest of the new excavators is the 2.75-ton ZX26U-5N. The compact excavator is just under 5 feet wide and has reduced tail swing for operating in confined spaces.

It also features 360-degree rotation and independent swing boom. It can be easily transported, using its tiedown holes on the side frame and blade.

Hitachi says it is designed for landscaping, renovation, trenching, backfilling, drilling and demolition applications where space is limited, and in sensitive ground conditions where low ground pressure is needed.

It features a max reach of 15 feet 2 inches and a max dig depth of 8.5 feet. It comes with a dozer blade for backfilling and grading.

It runs on a 20-net-horsepower Yanmar engine designed for high torque and low noise. Hydraulic pilot controls operate bucket, thumb and other attachments, as well as boom, swing, travel and blade.

Same as the ZX50U-5N mentioned above, it features easy switch from backhoe to excavator style controls, auxiliary function lever for high-flow attachments and a boom cylinder guard and hose protector.

For the operator’s station, buyers can choose a four-pillar canopy or enclosed cab. The suspension seat has adjustable armrests. The entrance floor is low to the ground to make it easier to enter and exit. The optional cab has been widened with a larger door, has more foot room and an enlarged windshield, Hitachi says.

Hitachi says it increased durability and maintenance access on the ZX26U-5N similar to its larger excavators.

Quick specs


  • Net power: 20 hp
  • Operating weight: 5,560 lbs.
  • Max dig reach: 15 ft. 2 in.
  • Max dig depth: 8 ft. 6 in.


  • Net power: 36.3 hp
  • Operating weight: 10,560 lbs.
  • Max dig reach: 19 ft. 7 in.
  • Max dig depth: 11 ft. 7 in.


  • Net power: 163.6 hp
  • Operating weight: 50,265 lbs.
  • Max dig reach: 32 ft. 7 in.
  • Max dig depth: 21 ft. 11 in.

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Built Robotics Turns Excavators into Robotic Trenchers – What’s Next? (Video)




In this episode of The Dirt, we focus on Built Robotics, which has developed an aftermarket device that automates excavators to perform trenching duties. The company’s Exosystem can convert any excavator to a remote-controlled, autonomous trench digger. And it can be installed in just one day.

Even with robotics, however, humans are still needed, so operators worried about robots taking over their jobs can rest assured. “Robots are just a tool,” says Built Robotics director of communications Erol Ahmed. “It’s up to people to figure out how to use them.”

Using the Exosystem requires operators to undergo training on its remote-control operation. Ahmed says contractors have seen a 20% to 30% savings by using it.

We’re still a long way off from artificial intelligence, or AI, taking over the jobsite. But advances in the next 10 to 15 years are likely to help contractors address the worker shortage as certain repetitive tasks become automated.

For now, Built Robotics is focusing strictly on excavators and trenching. In time it plans to spread to other machines and to routine, repetitive tasks that could be easily automated.

So for a more in-depth look at Built Robotics’ excavator automation technology and where the company sees the future of construction equipment AI, check out this week’s episode of The Dirt with host Byran Furnace, who is a part-time equipment operator.

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