If you spot a large, unfamiliar looking wheeled machine effortlessly cutting timber in South Africa’s forests, you’re not seeing things. Chances are it’s the 1185, a massive wheeled harvester from Tigercat that AfrEquip has brought into the country to give local forestry contractors and plantation owners an opportunity to see this mighty machine in action.
Forestry folk in South Africa are familiar with the Tigercat tracked harvesters, skidders and forwarders, many of which have been working for years in plantations around the country. But the wheeled 1185 Tigercat harvester is the only one of its kind in South Africa, and it’s already impressing locals with its capabilities.
Biggest wheeled harvester
The 1185 is the biggest of Tigercat’s wheeled harvesters. It is 9.9 metres from tip to tail and stands 4.1 metres high from ground level to the roof of the cab.
The SA Forestry team saw the 1185 in action in a Mondi pine compartment near Richmond recently.
Conditions were extremely wet and sticky after torrential rains, but the 1185 moved up-slope cutting pine like a cat on the prowl, as its balancing bogeys kept the machine stable and smooth. The demo machine had tracks fitted to the front four wheels to improve traction. It was fitted with a used Log Max 7000 head.
According to AfrEquip’s business development manager, Brendan Moore, a key advantage of the 1185 over tracked machines is its mobility. Lowbed trucks are required to move tracked harvesters from harvest site to harvest site as they are not designed to be driven. This can be a time consuming and expensive operation, depending on the distance. The wheeled harvester, on the other hand, can travel under its own steam and on its own wheels from compartment to compartment, thus maximizing its effective utilization. This makes it a good option for deployment in situations where compartments are spread far apart, and is one of the reasons why it’s a popular option in Europe, Canada and North America.
Focus on Forestry field day
The 1185 demonstrated its prowess cutting Eucalyptus at the Focus on Forestry field day held near White River, Mpumalanga, on April 12.
AfrEquip and Tigercat were Platinum sponsors of Focus on Forestry 2019.
Advantages of the 1185 wheeled harvester
• mobility between compartments
• operator comfort
• low soil disturbance on flatter areas
• can safely operate on slopes up to 40% (tyre tracks are needed)
Advantages of tracked harvester
• more stability when working over the side
• lower soil disturbance on steep slopes
• can safely operate up to 55% and in some instances up to 75% slopes, depending on ground conditions.
• better productivity overall, due to bigger processing area around the machine. In some instances up to 50% more productive.
*First published in SA Forestry magazine, March 2019