John Deere looks to be heading towards autonomous tractors.
Manufactured in the US at the home of JD in the Quad Cities area, and calling on a 30 year history the machine is well accepted in the construction and quarrying sector, and looks ready to make the move to the ag industry where loaders of this type are finding a ready home to shift the enormous outputs of todays' self-propelled forage harvesters.
Tipping the scales at a hefty 15,700kgs, get up and go is supplied by a tier3 compliant JD 6 cylinder engine of 6.8 litres and pushing out 147Kw (200hp) and 836 Nm torque at 1300 erpm.
Transmission is an in-house JD unit with a single stage/single phase torque converter set matched to 4 ranges with automated electronic shifting dependant on load and speed. An optional 5-speed unit with Lock UP Torque Converter is also offered and might be the sensible choice for agricultural operations. In tough conditions the 624 offers a hydraulic locking diff on the front axle, while a dual front and rear locking system is also available as an option. The drive line is completed by HD axles with inboard planetary drives, fixed front axle, rear oscillating axle with 24 degrees movement and a centre pivot system which allows 40 degrees of movement rather that the more common 37 degrees seen in competitive brands.
Lift capacity and hydraulic pump output will have an obvious effect on output in the shape of cycle times and the 624 shouldn't be lacking here, with a 223 litres per minute, load sensing axial-piston pump takes a full load of around 5 tonnes to the maximum lift height of 3.95 metres in around 6 seconds, and can return to ground level in around 2.7 seconds. A choice of headstock configurations sees parallel, Z-Bar for better digging characteristics, tool carrier and hi-lift means the machine can be configured for the task at hand.
Up in the cab the usual creature comforts of air suspension seat and air conditioning keep things comfortable and cool, while a couple of interesting features make this machine a stand out from the crowd. Rather than a conventional layout of multi-switches the 624 features a sealed switch module, which is push button and said to use 75 less wires and 300 fewer connections than a conventional set-up, and as such is much better suited to the dusty environs found in daily use. The system also means that there are no keys, with access to start up via a PIN code, and security including GEO Fencing, and production reports can be sent to base via the JD Link system. Also different is the choice off conventional steering via the wheel, or via the joystick, which is said to be favoured by those loading trucks or carrying out long periods of repetitive cycles.
Maintenance is taken care of by daily service items grouped to one side of the machine, single stacked radiators for better cooling characteristics, and a timed reversible fan unit to keep the main radiator clean at all times, whilst an Auto-Idle and Auto-Shutdown mode means that fuel is conserved at all times.