By George Fullerton
The 2017 Elmia Wood show—held in June in Jönköping, Sweden—lived up to its billing as the world’s premier forestry show, with more than 500 exhibitors from 28 countries congregated to promote and sell their products and services. Elmia is the opportunity to see both the proven and the emerging cutting edge forestry technologies.
Elmia 2017 witnessed some showers, but the weather did not hamper the enthusiasm of thousands of visitors. A good raincoat and sensible footwear were the order of the day, and the smart people brought an umbrella. There was a bit of mud in one of the parking lots which was a challenge for some cars, but in the spirit of loggers, there were always people willing to jump in to push the cars on their way.
Elmia is indeed a world class show. In addition to visitors and manufacturer’s reps from all over Europe, it was not uncommon to bump into North Americans, South Americans, Australians, New Zealanders and Asians. Record-setting attendance included visitors from six continents.
The show offers the chance to get up close to big and smaller forestry related equipment including equipment for harvesting and forwarding, biomass and cogen, firewood processing, chipping, grinding, loading and transport, as well as portable sawmills and accessories, boots and clothing, measurement and data collection and analysis and much more.
In addition to forestry technologies, there were also logging talent competitions, including forwarder competitions. Drones warranted their own separate display area and similarly wildlife/hunting were featured in their own area.
Elmia offered lots of food and refreshment kiosks. Facilities were well identified and the Show Guide provided good maps to guide visitors to specific manufacturers.
The Elmia organization team is to be congratulated for excellent planning and carrying through to make a successful and memorable show.
Below are a few of the highlights from Elmia:
At Elmia 2017, Bracke Forest released the new M24 hydraulic mounder. Mounding is the well proven superior site preparation method that increases the survival rate and future growth of seedlings. The M24 is an even lighter, faster and more versatile mounder than its predecessor, the M25.
On the M24, the two arms can now be moved sideways, producing more mounds as it can adapt to slash and other obstacles on the site. The mounding wheels make compact mounds, minimizing ground disturbance (important to reduce exposed soil area to keep competition to a minimum). The two arms can individually be lifted to pass a rock or other obstacle.
The M24 has been designed for high reliability and minimum repairs, and to work in tough site prep working conditions.
Tigercat commanded a good deal of real estate on the large scale ‘heavy’ equipment loop, and had it well populated with their venerable forestry gear. Elmia 2017 was the opportunity for Tigercat to introduce their new 1185 harvester.
In the Tigercat tradition, the 1185 is a heavy duty, high production harvester, designed for steep terrain and demanding operating conditions. The eight wheel drive, 34-tonne machine is fitted for heavy duty harvesting applications on steep terrain.
Power is delivered from a Tigercat FPT N67 Tier 4f engine, rated at 308 hp, delivered through Tigercat’s WideRange drive system, which increases working travel speed while delivering powerful tractive effort for steep terrain and quick travel on less demanding ground.
The 1185 features dedicated pumps powering the drive, harvesting head, crane, fan and cooling circuit functions. The crane features Tigercat’s efficient and operator-friendly ER technology. The main boom is a hooked design providing operators with good right side visibility, and the 1185 stick boom comes either fixed or telescopic.
At the other end of the scale from the large harvester that Tigercat introduced, Elmia provided an extensive venue for small scale equipment. The Usewood Forest Master Turbo 1500 is a prime example of innovative, small scale harvesting equipment. The eight wheel harvester is powered by a Kubota V1505T turbo diesel engine (44 hp), with hydraulics delivered through a Bosch Rexroth variable displacement pump.
The 0 to 130 litre/min. variable displacement pump features load sensing Bosch Rexroth LUDV valves. The advanced control system operates with seven individual controller modules connected by CAN-bus to control the hydraulic pump, valves, motor, power consumption, driver controls, and harvester head.
The Usewood Forest Master Turbo 1500 weighs in at 2300 kgs and has an overall width of just 1.5 metres, providing a very light footprint for sensitive harvesting demands.
The Komatsu display was a busy spot with new introductions, test driving forwarders and a large tent with a theatre, 3D simulator and lots of warm hospitality.
Elmia 2017 hosted the introduction of the new Komatsu 901XC eight wheel harvester. Promoted as a thinning specialist, the 901XC boasts excellent manoeuvrability and stability for extreme working conditions, both steep and wet. Eight wheels provide climbing abilities and low ground pressure on sensitive sites.
The 901XC has a centrally mounted cab and crane, which provides a balanced and low centre of gravity. The rigid articulated joint and the swing axle combined with the cab's tilt cylinders augment stability.
The 901XC also features Komatsu's unique three-pump hydraulics (3PS), delivering a flow of 548 litres per minute at 1,500 rpm. The 3PS allows crane and head functions to be used simultaneously with maximum hydraulic power.
The large operator cab provides exceptional visibility, ergonomic smart screen placement and a levelling function. Cab options include extra storage solutions, lighting, floor heating and three different joystick systems.
Komatsu also featured the Komatsu Traction Aid Winch for the Komatsu 875 forwarder and the Komatsu 911/230H and 931 harvesters. The traction aid system benefits from many years of research and development in Europe.
Masser has a long history of development and production of data collection and measurement systems for foresters. At Elmia 2017, they featured their Masslog 3D portable scanner for specific log and tree measurements.
The system uses industrial class cameras and LED lighting, combined with advanced mathematics to provide high precision log measurement. Masser claims the Masslog 3D establishes new prospects for log measurement analysis and tree analysis.
The system collects and stores reliable and traceable data, and is compact with easy to learn technology. It features stereo cameras, and smart LED which allows it to work in the dark or in the daylight. The system analyzes knots, bark thickness or any other features that can be seen by the eye.
The Masslog 3D can be used for harvester calibration and control, standing tree measurements or mill receiving systems.
Eventually, the thinking is that companies such as Masser will be able to use data as a kind of fingerprint, with the sawmill able to use this information, completing the supply chain loop of information that would include species and GPS locations.
Masser has produced over 300 custom specific measurement and data collection applications. Applications cover the whole value add chain in forestry, from nursery to end products.
The S500 MeriCrusher was featured at the Suokone Ltd display booth, with a live demo of its wet-site land clearing capacity.
The S500 crawler tractor has 768 horsepower and features a front mounted three-point hitch and power take-off system to mount MeriCrusher milling and crushing implements.
The S500 can be equipped with double crawler tracks for operating on very wet peat soils; it is available with steel tracks and single or double rubber tracks. The operator cab is forward mounted, allowing the operator a clear vision of the work. The PTO gearbox features a pressure controlled POC disconnection/ overload mechanism, which switches the PTO off when the driveline clutch exceeds a defined value, or when the operating
speed of the engine drops below a productive threshold.
Suokone’s product list consists of MeriPeatEq machinery for peat production and bog clearing, MeriCrushers crushers for soil preparation, MeriTractors (crawler) tractors for land clearing, MeriRoadEq millers for stabilization and road milling and MeriCare service and parts.
One of the most intriguing displays at Elmia 2017 was the HiVision log loader operating at the Hiab-Loglift-Jonsered booth. At first glance, it appeared to be just another static log load/unload demo, with the major exception that this loader had no operator station, but only a small dark box positioned above the typical operator station.
The HiVision system uses 3D vision technology, and allows the operator to control the loader functions from inside the cab of the truck.
HiVision uses high-quality cameras to capture the view of the loading operation, and the operator uses a Virtual Reality (VR) head-mounted display, and has a clear view of the loading area, and controls loader functions with a set of conventional joysticks mounted in the passenger side of the cab.
The forward view is captured with two cameras providing high quality stereoscopic imagery. Side cameras capture the surrounding view, allowing the operator to look around the work site. The HiVision system uses image processing algorithms for enhanced contrast and image quality for poor lighting situations.
The HiVision system provides safety and comfort features for the operator, and also saves weight on the loader and truck tare weight.
Slovenian-based manufacturer Tajfun has developed an extensive line of small scale forestry equipment including 3 point hitch forestry winches for farm tractors, firewood processing equipment, loading cranes for tractors and forestry trailers and a variety of accessories.
One featured piece at Elmia 2017 was the MOZ 300 mobile tower yarder. As far as tower yarders go, the MOZ 300 is on a small scale compared to industrial scale yarders.
The MOZ 300 features a very compact construction with a fold down tower for transportation and storage. The unit is very mobile, being designed to be towed by farm tractors and requiring PTO power to operate the yarder’s hydraulic pump.
The MOZ 300 offers two remote control options. The system allows for fast set-up and operates a large work area.
The JPS R5500 saw unit is said to have longer life and higher efficiency than conventional harvester saw bar designs. Rather than operating the saw motor at its maximum, which leads to reduced efficiency and high heat generation, JPS have lowered the RPM’s to half and increased the torque by using a larger sprocket.
The redesign increases overall productivity through reduced fuel consumption, less heat generation and fewer split logs.
Tests have shown that the R5500 saw unit can reduce fuel consumption by up to 15 per cent. The fuel savings alone make the investment payback time less than a year, says the company.
Lower rotational speed and lower temperature operation translates into a longer service life and higher machine productivity. Chain speed is maintained with a larger (20-22 teeth) drive sprocket. The sprocket is reversible, having two rows of teeth. JPS offers an impressive 5,000 hour warranty against wear-out of the sprocket.
In tests, the JPS R5500 sawing unit was shown to cut up to 40 per cent faster than its competitors. The unit features automatic chain tensioning and can also be fitted to apply pesticide stump treatments.
The Herzog MW500 Synchrowinch mounts on re-lifed Ponsse carriers and uses an innovative 3-winch system to assist steep slope harvesting and forwarding.
The Synchrowinch unit uses two dynamic anchor winches and one traction winch tethering the harvester or forwarder down the slope. The unit is constructed on a (re-lifed) Ponsse Ergo equipped with a dozer blade, to enhance anchoring and stability.
In operation, all functions of the winch can be observed and controlled through a touch screen in the working harvester or forwarder. The complete electronics, including the camera for the remote driving, can be quickly set up in machines.
Any function, including dozer blade, winch slewing and radio controlled driving, can be performed with the remote control, allowing the operator to control winch function from the comfort and safety of their seat.
The main winch pulls 100kN (10t) and holds 500m of cable. Anchoring winches each have 50 metres of 14.5mm high-compacted cable with tensile strength of 2x 30kN (3t).
The Raup-Trac RT55 Eco sort of looks like a box sitting on a skid steer chassis, but it is much more. In the yellow box sits a diesel engine and winch. Both winch and tractive functions are radio controlled.
For forest workers who experienced yarding with a horse, the Raup trac will awaken some old memories. After the operator sets the chokers on the logs or trees and winches them in to the RT55, he uses the remote control to steer the tractor to the yard where logs are unhooked and the machine is remotely guided back to the falling operation for another load.
The RT55 features a 50 hp Yanmar diesel engine powering two variable displacement pumps, one serving the hydrostatic drive and the other driving the winch.
The RT55 is very compact and ideal for sensitive thinning in variable terrain. While the operation is radio controlled, the next development step might be to go to voice command, so loggers can revitalize the ‘gidup, whoa, gee and haw’ horse commands and rid themselves of the remote control box.
At Elmia Wood 2017, Ecoforst introduced its new harvester/forwarder mounted winch package, the ABW 10.1. The ABW 10.1 provides 10 tons of constant tension, is remote controlled from the cab and weighs in at about 2,600 kg with 600 kg of rope. Winch speed is approximately 4 km per hour (depending on the amount of rope on the drum) and rope capacity is 400 metres.
Dogs and their highly developed smelling talent have been used for tracking persons and animals, drugs, detecting arms and explosives and a multitude of other useful chores.
Swedish forestry researchers have recognized the canine sniffing talent and trained several dogs to seek out trees infested with the spruce bark beetle.
The trained dogs range through a stand and alert their handlers to trees hosting bark beetles. The handlers mark infected trees (flag or paint and GPS locate the infected trees). The infected tree data is passed on to foresters who undertake selective harvest of infected trees.
On the Cover:
The Seneca Sawmill Company has been part of the Eugene, Oregon landscape for more than 60 years. It’s now nearing the completion of a second $65 million upgrade which included upgrading the dimensional mill with new equipment and technology, installing additional dry kilns and upgrading its dimension mill planer (Photo by Diane Mettler).
More computers in the cutblock
For the forest industry, the cutblock is expected to be the focus of advanced systems and technology for equipment over the short term—but don’t expect to see any logging equipment without operators quite yet.
Tracked performance—without the tracks
Moore’s Logging of Alberta says its new TimberPro 840C combo machine—an eight-wheeled forestry machine which can function as a harvester, processor, forwarder or clam bunk skidder—is able to deliver track machine power, without the track machine issues.
Solving steep slope challenges—to a T
The T-Winch, a new to Canada, European-developed tethered skidder assist system, is solving multiple steep slope issues for Alberta logger Kelly McGlynn.
Seneca sees second mill upgrade
The Seneca Sawmill Company in Oregon is nearing the completion of a second $65 million upgrade which—on the heels of a similar size upgrade during the recession—means a total investment of $130 million, clearly reflecting the confidence the company’s owners have in the industry.
Bonus Christmas gift
The residents of Hornepayne, Ontario received a bonus Christmas gift late last year, with the shuttered sawmill/biomass power plant in the town coming back to life, thanks to industry veteran, Frank Dottori.
Included in this edition of The Edge, Canada’s leading publication on research in the forest industry, are stories from the Canadian Wood Fibre Centre, Alberta Innovates, Alberta Agriculture, the Forest Products Association of Canada and FPInnovations.
The Last Word
It’s time for Canada to get our economic mojo back—with a new softwood lumber deal, says Tony Kryzanowski.