SA-built tracked mulcher ideal for under-canopy work

The Wuhlf T90 tracked mulcher … great for under-canopy mulching or bush clearing.

A home-grown, South African-built tracked mulcher is the latest machine to roll off the factory floor at Wuhlf Equipment, the Pretoria-based manufacturers of a range of tough, reliable mulchers, loaders and forklifts.

The Wuhlf T90 is a compact, powerful machine well suited to perform a variety of mulching functions including under-canopy mulching in commercial forestry plantations and fruit and nut orchards, as well as bush clearing.

The T90 is powered by a 92kW Weichai diesel engine which delivers plenty of grunt to the 1 500 mm cutting drum. At 1 800 mm wide, 4 400 mm long and weighing 6 000 kgs, the T90 is a welcome addition to the Wuhlf mulching fleet.

It has all the important bells and whistles that one would expect from a top end mulcher, like a reversible fan to clear radiator debris, a pressurised, aircon-cooled cab to keep the operator comfortable, and a set of tracks that will handle the toughest terrain while also enabling the machine to turn on a tickey. All the hydraulic pipes are cleverly hidden away and a robust steel base plate provides good protection from rocks, tree stumps and stray branches etc.

According to Wuhlf MD Johan Grobler, the T90 delivers plenty of power to the head which is maximised through the hydraulic pumps and motors. Johan says it is designed with a lot of torque, which makes for easy mulching.

A major advantage that the Wuhlf mulchers have over rival mulching machines is the price. The T90 comes in at just R 1.29 million, which is half the price of equivalent machines manufactured overseas. The engine, hydraulic pumps and tracks are imported, and everything else is manufactured in Wuhlf’s Pretoria factory. It is not loaded with complex, hi-tech computer systems so that any competent hydraulic and diesel mechanic can maintain and repair the machine if necessary. Thus it is well suited to African conditions.

The T90 follows the release a few years ago of the ‘Beast’, the Wuhlf 960 276 kW wheeled mulcher designed for super-heavy duty mulching. Wuhlf’s stable of mulchers includes the smaller 930 (129kW) drum mulcher, also a wheeled machine.

Inside the T90 … the cab is pressurised with aircon to keep the operator comfortable and productive.

Wuhlf Equipment
Wuhlf Equipment was established in 2004 by brothers Johan and Carl Grobler, supplying and supporting front end loaders, 4x4 forklifts and a range of attachments. In 2013 they started designing and manufacturing mulchers to be used in Africa mainly for bush clearing. There are a large number of Wuhlf mulchers out there doing exactly that.

In the past few years they have added the Wuhlf 960 and the tracked T90 to their product line with the aim of providing cost effective mulching solutions to land managers in the forestry environment.

Wuhlf mulchers come with a 12 month or 1 000 hours warranty, with more extended warranty options available.

Wuhlf Equipment’s timing in entering the mulching market couldn’t be better. Mulching is gaining wide acceptance in this part of the world as land owners and managers realise the long term benefits of mulching. Many forestry companies are turning to mulching to reduce post harvest slash instead of burning, and are using mulchers to create fire breaks inside and around vulnerable compartments.

Mulchers are also being used to clean harvested compartments to provide easier access for silviculture teams and mechanised equipment used for land prep, planting and harvesting.

“Mulching will have a massive impact in southern Africa in bush clearing and improving land care practices,” said Johan. “There are 19 million hectares of bush encroachment in Namibia alone.”

He said that there are around 40 Wuhlf mulchers working across southern Africa, mainly doing bush clearing. The T90 and the wheeled 960 mulcher are both designed specifically for work in the forestry sector, although they are equally adapted to bush clearing operations.

Kobus de Waal, a member of the Wuhlf Equipment team responsible for the design and manufacture of the T90.

Wuhlf T90 - basic specs:-

• 92kW Weichai diesel engine.
• Danfoss hydraulic pump and valve banks. 
• Manufactured and designed in South Africa.
• Width 1800mm
• Length including mulcher head 4400mm
• Weight 6000Kg
• Cutting drum 1500mm
• Maximum power supplied to mulcher drum through two variable displacement hydraulic motors and synchronous belts and pulleys.
• Two speed track motors
• Maximum speed 5 kph.
• Auto reverse function on fan to keep radiator clean.
• Pressurized cab
• Air conditioning.

Visit www.wuhlf.co.za for more info.

Beast of a mulcher made in RSA

A call from sunny Pretoria – the land of the Blue Bulls and Mamelodi Sundowns – sent the SA Forestry team on a mission to Bulwer on the road to the Drakensberg mountains in KZN to find a big, South African-manufactured drum mulcher dubbed the ‘Beast’.

We found it! One couldn’t miss it, actually! It was parked next to the road, an impressive hulk of a machine dressed in yellow and grey livery that looks capable of reducing bush, post-harvest slash and big tree stumps to a mulch with relative ease.

The Wuhlf 960 wheeled mulcher is a 276kW machine manufactured by Wuhlf Equipment in Pretoria. According to the Wuhlf team it compares favourably with any of the imported mulchers in terms of durability, reliability and productivity, with one significant advantage. It is designed and manufactured in SA specifically to suit conditions in Africa, so the spares, maintenance and technical skills required to keep this machine working productively are available on our doorstep.

At roughly half the cost of equivalent mulchers manufactured overseas, the Wuhlf 960 is a new addition to the Wuhlf stable of mulchers which include the smaller 920 (85kW) and 930 (129kW) drum mulchers – all wheeled machines.

The Wuhlf team was in KZN to do a demo of the 960 for Alastair Fagg of Grand Bridge Trading, one of the leading South African contractors with a lot of experience in mulching in forestry applications.

The demo site was a local farm where the farmer is clearing old wattle land for pasture. The Wuhlf 960 proceeded to reduce the above ground vegetation and old wattle stumps to a decent mulch with ease, under the watchful eyes of the farmer and the Grand Bridge team.

Alastair said that he was interested in the Wuhlf mulcher to add to his stable of mulchers which include large, purpose-built tracked mulchers. He is a big believer in the benefits of mulching post-harvest residues in forestry compared to the traditional practice of burning slash, as well as in other land care applications such as land conversion and bush clearing.

Grand Bridge Trading started doing trials of complete field mulching in South Africa at Sappi Zululand some eight years back with a five year contract to mulch 1 800 hectares a year.

This pioneering work enabled Sappi South Africa to determine the true benefits of mulching versus traditional burning, and the results exceeded expectations, said Alastair. 

Since then Grand Bridge has stayed within the Sappi stable, believing in the advantages of mulching. While Sappi is busy expanding its mulching operations, a growing number of corporate and private growers and farmers around South Africa are also turning to mulching to reap the benefits. These include improved soil care (moisture and nutrient retention), improved compartment access, reduced fire risk and the opportunity to re-plant immediately after the mulcher has reduced the post-harvest residue to an even mulch cover.

Wuhlf Equipment
Wuhlf Equipment was established in 2004 by brothers Johan and Carl Grobler, supplying and supporting front end loaders, 4x4 forklifts and a range of attachments. In 2013 they started designing and manufacturing mulchers to be used in Africa mainly for bush clearing. There are a large number of Wuhlf mulchers out there doing exactly that.

They recently added the Wuhlf 960 to their product line with the aim of putting it to work in the forestry environment which requires more power and durability.

The complete mulcher head plus the canopy and the hydraulics are manufactured in Wuhlf’s Pretoria factory. The chassis, wheels, gearbox, diff and hydraulic pumps are sourced from leading international suppliers. The mulchers are assembled at the factory in Pretoria.

Johan Grobler says that the 960 does not come with complicated, high-tech computer systems. He says any competent hydraulic and diesel mechanic can maintain and repair the machines if necessary, thus improving machine availability. They’re simple, tough and well suited to conditions across Africa, he says.

The mulchers come with a 12 month or 1 000 hours warranty, with more extended warranty options available.

Wuhlf Equipment’s timing in entering the mulching market couldn’t be better. Mulching is really taking off in this part of the world as land owners and managers realise the long term benefits of the operation.

“Mulching will have a massive impact in southern Africa in bush clearing and improving land care practices,” said Johan. “There are 19 million hectares of bush encroachment in Namibia alone.”

He said that there are around 40 Wuhlf mulchers working across southern Africa, mainly doing bush clearing, but this was their first foray into the forestry sector. The team understood that forestry needed more grunt, hence the introduction of the 276 kW Wuhlf 960 Drum Mulcher.

Visit wuhlf.co.za for more info and see the Wuhlf 960 in action on our YouTube channel...