With the days counting down ever closer to Christmas JCB has developed a technology, which is designed to warm the hearts of operators as winter strikes.

A new system is now available on JCB’s iconic backhoe loaders that automatically heats the cab and engine before the operator arrives for work in the morning.

As we all know there’s nothing worse than getting into a cold machine on a winters morning. According to the company, this new device means the machine now takes much less time to reach operating temperature in cold weather and is ready to start its daily shift much quicker – boosting productivity for owners and operators.

According to JCB’s chief innovation and growth officer Tim Burnhope: “This is another fantastic innovation on JCB’s backhoe loaders that will allow operators to simply get in and drive, without having to defrost windscreens or warm through the engine. As well as providing greater comfort for the operator it will cut downtime and boost productivity for the customer.”

The new system is available as an option on JCB’s 3CX and 4CX backhoe loaders and can be activated using a 24-hour timer or manually through a switch in the cab.

JCB says the heater can also be used manually throughout the day, when the machine is not in use, maintaining a comfortable working environment for the driver.

The device works by using a water heater that is integrated into the engine’s coolant circuit. JCB says the water heater unit automatically runs a safety check before heating, prior to starting an integrated diesel-fuelled burner. Atomised fuel is sprayed into the combustion chamber and ignited with a high-tension spark.

The hot combustion gases flow through a heat exchanger, which transfers the heat to the engine coolant system. This thermal energy is forwarded to the cab through the machine’s ventilation outlets, with residual warmth remaining in the engine.

The heater is controlled electronically and thermostatically. The company says it works intermittently, only burning for the amount of time required to reach the desired temperature.

According to JCB, the heater system is not just intended as a comfort option for the driver though. It removes the requirement for an engine block heater in colder climates and extends engine life by reducing engine cold starts.

As the heater runs off the machine’s own fuel supply, they say there is no requirement for additional tanks or storage as well as no need for an external power supply, as with an electric block heating system, so the machine can be left in remote areas overnight.

The company claims the heater only consumes 0.27-0.62 litres/hour of fuel, making this a low-cost option for customers.