Most brands already make amazing machines. In fact, there’s so much parity of quality in the American off-highway equipment marketplace that differentiators are often hard to find in machine categories. That’s what makes our Innovative Iron Award winners so special. In the last 12 months, these manufacturers have changed the marketplace and even broken the mold in highly competitive markets that are already filled with excellence. Global manufacturers from Kubota and Caterpillar to JLG and JCB have released products — machines, engines, OEM tech and even apps — that have set new standards for power, versatility, efficiency and design. Our editors have traveled across the country to meet these manufacturers, operate their new products and give detailed reports both in print and online. With this article, we do a final salute to those companies that have changed the equipment market over the last year with their unique, interesting and innovative products.
John Deere’s 344L Compact Wheel Loader Reaches Higher with Articulation Plus
Compact wheel loaders need to be agile, working in constrained space work environments. Articulation of the frame allows these smallish loaders to make evasive maneuvers and not tear up tires and worksites, but lifting when articulating can be a concern. Not so much for John Deere’s 344L compact wheel loader, which comes with Articulation Plus, an industry-exclusive steering system that allows operators to lift more during turns than leading competitive machines. Its design features an articulated frame plus rear-wheel steer, providing a tighter turning radius, improved stability and additional lift capacity. The 344L also offers a faster travel speed than previous John Deere models along with smooth auto shift technology up to 25 mph, ideal for customers who have larger jobsites to traverse or for snow removal. For more info, visit johndeere.com.