Innovative Iron Award: John Deere’s 310SL Backhoe Loader

Exploration is the engine that drives innovation, so let’s go exploring. Let’s search through a year’s worth of creative ideas in the off-highway equipment industry and see if we can benchmark the innovative exploration of the American machine market. Over the last 12 months, global manufacturers from Caterpillar to Kubota have released compact machines that have set new standards for power, versatility, efficiency and design. Our editors have traveled across the globe to meet these manufacturers, operate their new products and give detailed reports and opinions both in print and on our website ( We sifted through the hundreds of models and brands released in 2015 and picked 19 units that set the bar for innovation. With this article, we salute those companies (from Komatsu to Case) that have changed the commercial equipment market over the last year with their unique, interesting and innovative machines, engines and technologies.

John Deere’s 310SL HL Showcases Exceptional Arm Strength

A backhoe specializes in the main jobs of construction — digging and loading — but what about lifting? More and more backhoes are being asked to multitask, which is where the 310SL HL from John Deere rolls in with its beefy backhoe boom. This special HL model can deliver up to 25 percent more backhoe lift capacity under normal conditions than comparable John Deere K-Series models. Utilizing the sealed-switch module (SSM), operators can get an additional 10 to 15 percent boost through the new Lift Mode feature. Engine RPM is automatically set at 1,400, and the machine maximizes hydraulic pressure for increased craning capability. The 310SL HL also delivers all the advantages of PCLS hydraulics in the 14- to 15-ft digging depth category, enabling operator efficiency and productivity through improved multifunction control.

To see the rest of Compact Equipment’s Innovative Iron Awards, click this link.