Intelligence and interchangeability with Vermeer “i2” technology: Q&A with Ed Savage, Vermeer product manager

For many years, Vermeer RTX1250 and XTS1250 ride-on tractors have helped improve productivity on gas, water, fiber and electric installations that use rockwheel, plowing and trenching installation methods. Over time, these machines have continued to evolve, and today’s tractors — RTX1250i2 and XTS1250i2 ride-on utility tractors — are equipped with cutting-edge advancements in technology.

The key to this series of machine optimizations? Intelligence and interchangeability.

Vermeer is focused on creating machines that are intuitive to operate and efficient on the job, and the “i2” generation of RTX1250 and XTS1250 tractors is our most recent example of this. Ed Savage, Vermeer product manager, gives us a more in-depth look at how the RTX150i2 and XTS1250i2 maximize productivity for utility installation work.

With the launch of the RTX1250i2 and XTS1250i2 ride-on tractors, what does the “i2” represent?

The “i2” represents intelligence and interchangeability. Intelligent features enable them to self-identify the attachments the machine is using, which eases control adjustments. And, the interchangeability of attachments has been eased, which reduces the amount of time to switch out attachments.

Why are the “i2” features so unique and important to this model of tractor?

The overall ride-on tractor market is strong, and the ability to quickly be able to swap out attachments helps increase the versatility of these machines. However, as with most sectors of the construction industry, there is a shortage of skilled operators, which is why onboard technology is so important moving forward. Our goal with the design and development of the “i2” generation of ride-on tractors is to deliver innovative advances in the controls that enable contractors to do more with one machine.

We know that this size of tractor and attachments represent a large investment for many contractors, so the “i2” generation offers you one tractor with a variety of different yet interchangeable attachments, reducing your capital investment and maximizing your productivity.

How do the “i2” features work?

Using onboard intelligent systems, these tractors optimize their own performance based on which “i2” attachment they are using, as well as monitor and make adjustments while trenching. This technology can also automatically lower the engine’s idle speed when the machine controls have been inactive for a preset amount of time.

Intelligence and interchangeability deliver several advantages:

  • The Productivity Zone identifies the ideal engine rpm operating range and automatically adjusts the ground speed to maintain peak performance in that range, optimizing machine production.
  • Monitoring the engine’s rpm, “i2” Auto Plunge technology automatically reduces the rate of plunge for a trencher or rockwheel attachment so the rpm does not drop too far, reducing engine stalls.
  • Monitoring the engine’s rpm while trenching in challenging ground conditions, the TrenchSense™ electronic control system helps prevent engine stall by automatically pausing the tractor’s forward creep if the rpm drops or the trencher chain stops.
  • To reduce fuel consumption during operation, this machine is equipped with the EcoIdle™ engine control system, which automatically lowers the engine’s speed to an idle if the tractor has not been active for 15 seconds.

To be clear, “i2” features don’t mean you will use these tractors differently than previous models — but they do allow you to be more efficient. From tires to tracks, trenchers to plows and backfill blades to reel carriers, the “i2” means that it is more convenient for you to customize and reconfigure these tractors with intelligent attachments, which can be switched out in as little as 60 minutes.

Other advantages of the “i2” generation:

  • An optional remote control allows you to remotely move the attachment digger chain or cutting wheel during maintenance, as well as load or unload a unit on or off a trailer.
  • All controls are located on the right-hand side of the operator, the same side the seat pivots to, giving good visibility to the machine and the trench. The panel is designed to move with the pivoting seat, so you always have a clear view of the controls.
  • “i2” tractors are also Vermeer Telematics-ready, which allows you to monitor the machine’s engine operating hours, idle hours, fuel usage, fault codes and location, as well as geofencing capabilities.

How does an “i2” model compare to previous tractor generations?

Offering class-leading horsepower (127 horsepower [95 kW]) for maximum machine performance, RTX1250i2 and XTS1250i2 tractors are actually quieter than previous models. This contributes to operator productivity and comfort, as well as stays in line with environmental regulations — such as sound ordinances — on or around the jobsite.

The “i2” generation also eliminates auto creep, replacing it with Productivity Zone. With an auto creep system, you have to adjust switches and dials to get optimum performance out of the machine. With Productivity Zone, the machine makes those adjustments automatically. This shortens an operator’s learning curve, which can reduce opportunities for human error.

The “i2” generation also allows you to take advantage of interchangeable features (such as quad tracks or tires), as well as a variety of self-identifying attachments (such as a trencher, plow or rockwheel), while also using other intelligent features to your benefit (like onboard diagnostics).

What “i2” models does Vermeer offer and what are the differences between the machines?

Vermeer offers two models of “i2” ride-on tractors — the RTX1250i2 and XTS1250i2.

The RTX1250i2 is a versatile model that can be configured with different ground drive options and multiple attachments. This model is advantageous if you are transporting or working on hard surface roads and need different attachment options. The XTS1250i2 is a dedicated plow tractor and is best used in off-road, right-of-way work.

For comparison, the RTX1250i2 is available with tires or rubber tracks and comes with front attachments that include a backhoe, reel carrier and weight kits. Rear attachments for this model include a plow, center-mount or sliding offset trenchers, and center-mount or sliding offset rockwheels.

The XTS1250i2 is only available with steel tracks and two front attachments — a reel carrier and weight kit — as well as a rear plow attachment.

For more information about Vermeer “i2” ride-on tractors, contact your local Vermeer dealer or visit vermeer.com.

Vermeer Corporation reserves the right to make changes in engineering, design and specifications; add improvements; or discontinue manufacturing at any time without notice or obligation. Equipment shown is for illustrative purposes only and may display optional accessories or components specific to their global region. Please contact your local Vermeer dealer for more information on machine specifications. Vermeer, the Vermeer logo, TrenchSense and EcoIdle are trademarks of Vermeer Manufacturing Company in the U.S. and/or other countries.

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