Forest equipment innovations at Elmia Wood
Elmia Wood, the world’s largest forestry fair, was bigger than ever this year both in terms of area and number of exhibitors. Many visitors were drawn to Elmia Wood to see new forestry products and services and to learn about new high-tech solutions and expertise in the forest south of Jönköping, Sweden.
A total of 555 exhibitors from 28 countries were there to present their new products during four intensive days to visitors from six continents. Many exhibitors participated in the fair’s new section, Load & Transport. Another visitor magnet was the fair’s new Drone Zone section, where conferences and live testing demonstrated the usability of drones in forestry applications.
There were many highlights and firsts as manufacturers and service providers went all out to showcase their wares.
Biggest wheeled harvester
Tigercat unveiled the world’s biggest wheeled harvester, the Tigercat 1185. The machine has eight wheels for low ground pressure and maximum accessibility. It is driven by a diesel engine with 308 horsepower and weighs 34 tonnes.
It has separate hydraulic systems for the crane, harvesting head etc. so it can deliver maximum performance in every situation.
Hultdins served up a world first, a newly developed saw unit for harvesting heads, called SuperCut.
“Easier care and maintenance, more reliable operation and the ability to use two types of chain,” said Stefan Bergqvist, who heads up the design team.
Hultdins is best known for its grapples but half the company’s sales are saw units, which are sold to a number of harvesting head manufacturers.
Rottne sold 10 harvesters of the new model H8D before it had even been unveiled at Elmia Wood. The reaction? Even better than expected!
There was great interest at Elmia Wood in Rottne’s entire machine fleet, but the H8D, which had never been exhibited before, grabbed most of the limelight.
The harvester has numerous improvements over previous versions, without adding additional weight. One innovation is the presence of a hydraulic motor in each of the four wheel hubs.
Husqvarna presented its new chainsaw chain, the X-Cut, developed and manufactured just a few dozen kilometres from the fairgrounds at Elmia Wood.
This is the first time that Husqvarna is offering its own chain. The intention is to give customers added value.
The chain is pre-stretched at the factory which increases the time it can be used before it needs re-tensioning. The direct results are less downtime and less risk of damage from a slacking chain.
Thanks to a careful choice of materials, the chain should also stay sharp longer.
Punching above its weight
Many older foresters remember a time when forwarders loaded their own weight. Gremo has almost reinvented that class of machine. At Elmia Wood the company presented a concept for a forwarder that weighs 10.5 tonnes and loads 8.5.
The Gremo team has gone through every component and if possible switched to a lighter one. In that way they’ve slimmed it down by two tonnes.
The machine’s width has also been shrunk to 2.4 metres, which is important in Central Europe so the forwarder can easily be driven on roads.
Longer reach cranes
Cranes from the German company Palfinger are a common sight on logging trucks. But at Elmia Wood they extended their reach into the forest in the form of a prototype specially developed for forwarders. Half the new crane – the boom – is already mounted on some of Rottne’s forwarders.
The prototype is a complete unit including the hydraulics, all ready for installation by machinery manufacturers. The version shown at Elmia Wood is the S11F107. It has a reach of 10.7 metres and is made of high-tensile steel, making it 8% lighter than comparable cranes. The design of the telescopic extension makes it smaller during transport, and all the electrics and hydraulics run inside the crane.
Ponsse came to Elmia Wood with its entire range of forest machines, but one major new product that grabbed attention: Active Frame for harvesters. This function already exists on Ponsse’s forwarders: Elephant, Elephant King and Buffalo. Put simply, the cab sits on a frame within the frame, which compensates for sideways movements by up to ± 7 degrees. Today 95% of Ponsse forwarders are supplied with Active Frame. The function is very popular and operators say it is an important improvement to their work environment.
Now harvester operators can also benefit from Active Frame. The first machine equipped with it is the Ponsse Ergo, which made its debut in this version at Elmia Wood.
Ponsse also launched a new harvester head, the Ponsse H7 HD with its heavy-duty construction designed to last the whole lifespan of the machine even under very demanding conditions.
Operating a harvester crane can require handling two or even three controls. At Elmia Wood John Deere had its world premiere for crane-tip control using only one joystick. The result is greater precision and less strain for the operator.
The technology is a development of the crane-tip control for forwarders presented by John Deere at the previous Elmia Wood in 2013. The technology was a huge success and customers say they can move an extra load every shift with it.
Now the technology is available for harvesters too. Basically, precise sensors in all the crane joints transmit information to a computer, which coordinates the positional information with the instructions from the operator’s joystick.
The result is that the crane automatically compensates for changes in geometry when the boom extends.
The crane also lifts the harvester head as it brings back the felled stem. The entire operation becomes much easier and more intuitive.
*First published in SA Forestry magazine, June 2017