Moving on Up
New Brunswick contactor Greg Shaddick’s move from a logMax 5000 head to a logMax 6000 headthe first of its kind to work in north americahas resulted in production gains, and the head is proving to be a good fit with his Komatsu carrier.
By George Fullerton
In today’s harsh forestry business climate, running an efficient and diverse forestry operationand keeping your logging crew contentare a few of the keys to contractor survival.
New Brunswick’s Greg Shaddick knows all about what makes sense, and what doesn’t, in running an efficient operation.
Shaddick made the move to diversification in 2005 by adding an excavator and D6 dozer road building team to his harvesting team. In the current business climate, he is leaving his tractor trailer parked. He works primarily as a harvesting and road building subcontractor to Lee Johnston Ltd, which operates on UPM’s Miramichi operations and private woodlots in eastern New Brunswick.
Greg Shaddick Trucking Limited began as a log trucking operation in 1988, from Shaddick’s home base in Miramichi, NB. However, he found trucking to be an increasingly marginal business and shifted into the logging side in 1999 with a used Timberjack 610 forwarder. In
often see those early dangle heads parked on the side of the road, with operators and mechanics scratching their heads on how to get them fixed and back to work.”
After working with the slingshots for a few years, Shaddick decided to move to a dangle head processor after
2002, Shaddick moved into mechanical harvesting with Hyundai and Komatsu excavator conversions, with slingshot processing heads. He began running one machine on double shift and the other on single shift, with the forwarder on double shift as well.
“The slingshots were pretty primitive compared to today’s dangle head processors,” says Shaddick, reflecting back. “But they had the attraction of being a low capital investment. Another thing that sold me on the slingshot was that when I was trucking wood I would convinced him that a dangle head would outproduce, and generate far better wood quality, than the slingshots. In 2004, Shaddick traded his Hyundai processor and the extra slingshot head on a new LogMax 5000 head.
“There was simply no comparison between the slingshots and the dangle head. The LogMax, right from the start, was cutting nearly as much as the two slingshots. And there were virtually no issues with downtime and the wood quality was up, with more effective limbing and more accurate measuring.
Shaddick adds that he also likes the LogMax line because of its uncomplicated and clean design. He says that the frame has proven to be very tough, and that the routing and guarding of the hoses is well designed.
Brent MacLeod explains that LogMax’s patented knife control system provides very low feed friction, and powerful hydraulics make the 6000 a high performance unit. He points out that the stationary top delimbing knife is spring loaded, and has a sensor that relays stem contact pressure information to the moveable knives to increase pressure when the stationary knife is losing contact pressure. He adds that the floating top delimbing knife means that the tree stem is cradled by the moveable delimbing
“We also saw a major reduction in maintenance and repair time,” he adds. With the switch, he soon came to the conclusion that they could just leave their welder at home. “Moving to the LogMax was no mistakethe reliability and production of the head made my life a lot easier all around.”
Brent MacLeod, the Rocan Equipment sales rep for New Brunswick and New England, says he knew the head would be a good fit for Shaddick. “I‘ve known Greg for a long time and I knew he had the mechanical aptitude to deal with the equipment challenges and the business sense to be successful with the 5000 head.”
Shaddick is convinced that he made the right decision sticking with his Komatsu carrier. “It’s a 1994 machine with 2_,000 hours on it and it still works well every day. We changed the engine in 2005, not because it was working bad, but because of the hours and concern that if it did blow, we would lose the block.”
Although Shaddick is sticking with his tried and true harvesting equipment team, consisting of a Timberjack 610 forwarder and a Komatsu 200LC harvester that he’s run for several years, he’s recently made one significant change to the equipment team: a trade up from a LogMax 5000 to the new LogMax 6000 head. His LogMax 5000 was performing well, but when the LogMax 6000 became available, Shaddick was keen to learn what it had to offer. In May 2006, he made a deal to trade up to the brand new head, the first LogMax 6000 to go to work in North America.
“Once we made the deal on the 6000, it happened that we were harvesting at the time, so we had the new head delivered to the operation. We simply unhooked the 5000, swung over and hooked on the 6000, and in just over a couple of hours we were right back harvesting wood. We had the same controls, the same computer and screen displays.” There were no start-up issues with the new headit just went to work for them.
And it is working well, says Shaddick. “The 6000 gives us significantly more power for limbing and a little more weight that allows us to more easily clear away from the base of the trees, so we can see what we are cutting down.
“We stayed with our original Log Mate 400 computer. It does not do all the tricks that a more up-to-date computer does, but it still cuts wood and provides great measuring accuracy. It was also an economic decisionI had to ask what production advantage a newer computer would provide, and I could not justify the investment.”
Shaddick explains that when harvesting on UPM’s Crown Licence, they are required to buck log lengths on the four-inch mark. He says that if the provincial Department of Natural Resources scale checks find a 16-foot, six-inch log, then UPM pays stumpage on a 17-foot log. As a result, UPM is very particular on length accuracy and they are quick to penalize contractors if they are off the mark.
Shaddick comments that the LogMax system maintains good measurement intact paint on the front of the year old frame, he notes that the low stem friction also means increased fuel economy.
The LogMax 6000 weighs in at 1,294 kilograms, just 100 kilograms more than the 5000. The 6000’s feed roller force is 28 kn. The maximum cut-off is 69 cm and the maximum roller opening is 625 cm. The hydraulic system of the 6000 is the same design as the Log Max 7000 and 9000 models.
“The 6000 gave us a gain in production of about ten cords per shift,” says Shaddick. “We have a daily production target of 60 cords per shift, which of course is dependant on the quality of the wood we are operating in. In a good situation, we can easily see up to 80 cords per shift.”
Shaddick says that the 6000 is a good match for the 20-ton Komatsu. It has the power and oil flow to handle the head comfortably. He adds that his Komatsu might even handle a LogMax 7000, but cautions that a bigger head may not necessarily perform better for the type of work that he does. He says the 6000 will do partial cuts with the same agility as the 5000, but is concerned that a 7000 would be too big for partial cuts. The heavier head would also increase fuel consumption.
“The 6000 gives us more power for limby and difficult hardwoods. We see a wide variety in the wood quality on private land, and with the 6000 I know that we will be able to handle those difficult trees.”
Shaddick usually starts operating at 6:00 am and it is generally past 6:00 pm when the crew leaves the woods. He saysfrom page 1_ that a single shift operation is good for the crew, giving them a decent lifestyle. But he adds that when the need arises, he will double shift the harvesting operation. A case in point was early November 2005.
Greg was harvesting near St Quentin, a two-hour commute from his Miramichi base. “UPM was anxious to get the block cut and there was a good chance that early snow could shut the operation down, so we double-shifted the harvester and produced 750 cords per week to get it cut. Then we will double shift the forwarder to get it cleaned up.”
Shaddick’s operation employs three full-time operators: brother Chris Shaddick, Todd Richard and Brady Scott, the last operating the excavator on road construction. Both Todd and Chris, like Shaddick himself, are cross trained on all four pieces of equipment. Shaddick explains that he likes operating the dozer because it is more challenging to operate and to get the quality of work he is looking for.
Shaddick says that he is presently very satisfied with his equipment team and crew of operators. “We’re able to make decent money and we are comfortable with the performance of the equipment.
“Frankly speaking, with the tough conditions in the industry, I cannot see the economics for an investment of up to $400,000 to move to a purpose-built harvester. We have been approached to try out a purpose-built, but it is hard to find time to give a machine a good workout.
“But I keep an open mind to the opportunity because a lot of salesmen took a long time to convince me to move to a dangle head, and they were certainly right that time.”