John Deere revamps its largest compact wheel loader

john deere compact wheel loader
The new 344L compact wheel loader was designed for year-round agricultural material handling, landscaping, snow removal and construction.

John Deere has equipped its largest compact wheel loader with several industry-exclusive features that boost speed, comfort and uptime.

The new 344L compact wheel loader was designed for year-round agricultural material handling, landscaping, snow removal and construction.

“With the model update, this machine has been redesigned from the ground up,” said Drew Miller, marketing manager of compact wheel loaders for John Deere Construction & Forestry.

The 344L offers a faster travel speed with smooth auto shift technology up to 40 km per hour, ideal for customers who have larger job sites to traverse or for snow removal. Rather than incorporating off-the-shelf software to manage the gearbox, Miller explained John Deere designed specific software for the loader.

“It was one of the focuses for this update. We wanted to make sure that was seamlessly designed into the machine,” Miller said.

“That allows us to provide smoother shifting for the machine, so it helps with material retention and operator fatigue.”

new john deere wheel loaderArticulation Plus

The Articulation Plus steering system on the 344L allows operators to lift more during turns, compared to similar machines. The design features an articulated frame with 30 degrees of articulation on the front wheels and 10 degrees on the rear wheel.

“We have a 15 per cent tighter turn radius. It increases our tip load by six per cent and it also improves stability,” Miller said.

As well, the newly designed loader arms and coupler provide better parallel lifting of attachments and increased visibility, particularly for operators using forks.

With a full-turn tip load of 5,738 kg, operators are able to lift heavier loads and can keep more material in the bucket without making adjustments.

Comfort focused

Knowing that a comfortable operator is a productive operator, the 344L features a new cab design.

A air-ride, high-back seat reduces operator fatigue while heating features keep workers in cold conditions focused on the job. More space in the cab and increased visibility to the loader arm and bucket improve overall efficiency.

The 344L is also equipped with pivot and rear oscillation to provide a smoother ride. “We took the HVAC system that used to be situated behind the seat and moved it to the outside of the cab,” Miller said.

“Opening up that space really adds a lot of comfort.”

To improve visibility, the LCD screen in the cab is positioned to the right of the operator and sits on a rail allowing the monitor to adjust to the ideal height.

A secondary LCD display for the rearview camera may be added to the same rail in the cab.

“It’s sort of the central intelligence area for the machine,” Miller said.