ServicesConnected vehi­cles: A contractor explains why this is impor­tant

When your John Deere dealer promotes The JDlink, it isn’t just marketing bluster. Through a modem in the cab, crucial data can be exchanged through mobile phone networks. Alsa­tian contractor ETA Diss shares this data with its dealer Haag, helping keep its fleet connected and running, often on diffi­cult public sites more than 200km from home.

The goal of any contractor should be diver­si­fi­ca­tion, which helps build customer loyalty, and ensures machines are used prof­itably. As part of Mr Diss’ focus on diver­si­fi­ca­tion, and in consul­ta­tion with Alsa­tian company Gützwiller, which devel­oped an inno­v­a­tive tech­nique for repairing roads, Mr Diss began approaching major players in the construc­tion industry in 2003, like Vinci, Eiffage and Colas – to offer soil stabil­i­sa­tion services.

ETA Diss in brief

  • 6 full-time employees
  • 9 John Deere trac­tors with Autopowr trans­mis­sion, including four Series 7000 and four Series 8000
  • 4 John Deere self-propelled forage harvesters, including one 8400 i
  • 4 John Deere combines
  • 4 Wirtgen soil stabiliser mixers 2.50m
  • 3 Streumaster spreaders
  • 1 Panien low-volume spreader
  • 1 Bergmann spreader for compost and solid diges­tate
  • 1 Toomey scraper 3.00m
  • 1 trailed 8-row single-grain seeder
Hervé Diss is preparing to take the reins of the busi­ness orig­i­nally started by his father Bernard. Oper­a­tional activ­i­ties are divided equally between agri­cul­ture and public works.

With the diver­si­fi­ca­tion oper­ating success­fully, Mr Diss has taken on work at quite a distance from his base. Recently, one of the trac­tors left for a full month, working 200km from Lander­sheim. Mobility is key; on the back of a powerful tractor, the contractor can carry a cutter weighing more than five tonnes, capable of mixing the earth, and a hydraulic binder like quick­lime or cement, explains Mr Diss. “The big compa­nies have self-propelled machines, but are limited logis­ti­cally, needing large trailers for trans­port, while we are able to work on smaller sites.” 

Soil stabil­i­sa­tion is not for amateurs

“Construc­tion sites have several machines working at once,” explains Mr Diss. “Each machine has a very specific role: spreading, mixing, level­ling, compacting, etc. Running out of fuel before oper­a­tions are complete is simply not an option.”

Using his smart­phone and the JDLink appli­ca­tion, Mr Diss can accu­rately track oper­a­tional infor­ma­tion from his trac­tors, including fuel data. He can also view precise GPS posi­tioning coor­di­nates of the trac­tors in rela­tion to diesel deliv­eries, which is invalu­able.

A soil treat­ment specialist: ETA Diss uses four Wirtgen soil stabilisers, which often operate far from their base, like here at the foot of Notre-Dame Cathe­dral in Stras­bourg.

Among the 18 John Deere vehi­cles in the company’s fleet is the youngest 6250R, which is used for spreading compost and solid diges­tate, and is JDLink equipped. The tractor is on a 1500-hour sched­uled main­te­nance plan, in line with the engine, gearbox and axle warranty.

1987: Bernard Diss at the begin­ning of his career as a contractor, serving neigh­boring live­stock farms with a Fiat 80-90 tractor and a self-loading trailer. Bernard’s first John Deere tractor, a 6800, arrived in 1994.

Why is lime used to stabilise soil?

Lime, an ancient and natural mate­rial, has bonding power that improves soil, making it suit­able for back­fill and capping layer construc­tion. Two hours after mixing, the bearing capacity index of treated soil is four to 10 times higher than that of untreated soil, greatly improving machinery move­ment options. The incor­po­ra­tion of lime promotes a chem­ical “setting” reac­tion, iden­tical to that of cement. After three to six months, the same reac­tion increases compres­sive strength and improves frost stability.


There are many exam­ples of connec­tivity bene­fits

Mr Diss remem­bers detecting an alter­nator problem on a vehicle using his smart­phone, “I was able to act imme­di­ately by ordering the part, so no oper­ating time was lost.”

Managing the need for diesel is an attrac­tive part of connec­tivity, according to Mr Diss. The JDLink provides valu­able infor­ma­tion on fuel weight for billing of each service.

Quick­lime seeps under the bonnet and weakens essen­tial equip­ment parts; the JDLink sends check-up reports every hour, antic­i­pating fatigue in progress.

At the Haag dealer in Marlen­heim, work­shop manager Tiago Teix­eira can be alerted to possible malfunc­tions well in advance of an actual break­down, and take neces­sary measures, like ordering parts or dispatching a mechanic.

The same was true for a failed reversing signal. “We were able to re-acti­vate it with a simple soft­ware down­load from Haag, which avoided unnec­es­sary travel. These machines are expen­sive, and our goal is to keep them oper­a­tional. John Deere connec­tivity helps us do that.

Addi­tional price buyers are willing to pay for used machines with a spot­less main­te­nance and inspec­tion history and warranty coverage:

+8 %

A recent study focusing on a large sample of John Deere trac­tors, forage harvesters and combines showed up to an 8% increase in residual values for those that had a history of main­te­nance, inspec­tions, and warranty work.

John Deere connec­tivity utilises the know-how of engi­neers who have gone beyond failure preven­tion and applied their exper­tise to perfor­mance analysis. Infor­ma­tion on excess slip­page or consump­tion, for example, can be trans­mitted to the owner, allowing the vehicle to be kept in optimum oper­ating condi­tion. And now, in part­ner­ship with a John Deere dealer, connected machines can benefit from proac­tive main­te­nance moni­toring.