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TECH UPDATE - SKIDDERS
By Tony Kryzanowski
The 615C is Tigercat’s newest skidder—a quick, compact, six-wheel drive machine. The 615C is best suited to extremely soft or steep terrain, selective felling, oversized logs and other challenging applications.
When lower volumes cannot justify the massive production potential of the 635D or tight spaces limit the productivity of the 635D, the 615C is an ideal fit.
With the 615C, contractors can now have all the advantages of a six-wheel drive skidder, such as excellent traction, high performance in steep and soft terrain and a smoother ride, in a compact package with a lower initial purchase price.
Turnaround, the two-position rotating seat, is standard equipment for the 615C. With Turnaround, forward and reverse have become meaningless terminology. The operator has control of all machine functions in either seating position and can drive comfortably with the full speed range available either blade-forward or grapple-forward.
Electronic control technology combined with Tigercat’s unique hydrostatic drive system allows the 615C skidder to operate at variable engine rpm, automatically increasing engine speed when additional horsepower is demanded. The result is improved fuel economy and reduced engine noise. No gear changes are required of the operator.
Other benefits include the high capacity, dual cylinder Tigercat grapple with a wide tip-to-tip opening for irregular bunches and an automatic variable pitch, reversing fan for improved fuel economy and excellent cooling performance.
John Deere skidders recently gained a significant increase in performance with a new optional wheel weight package that will add 1900 pounds to the front of the machines. The kit is compatible with the 640H cable skidder and 648H, 748H and 848H grapple skidders.
This is a simple solution that increases machine capabilities to help John Deere’s customers become more productive on the job. Loggers will see a substantial difference in the load weight they are able to pull with the heavier set of wheels.
The weight package, made for the front two wheels only, requires the use of dual ring wheels and SWEDA axles. New wheels with a dual ring that allow the use of 35.5 tires are also available with the optional weight package. This new wheel is available both as a factory option and field kit. It does not allow for dual wheels and 35.5 tires.
The Tanguay TG88 track skidder is available in a clambunk or “L Boom’’ grapple configuration with a huge payload capacity of 35 tons.
Powered by a 400 hp engine, the eight-wheel drive TG88E comes with a choice of track width up to 60” wide for low ground pressure. The 100 per cent hydrostatic drive provides incredible manoeuvrability and perfect traction for minimum ground disturbance, the company says.
The TG88 clambunk and its powerful loader with a swing planetary is the machine of choice to economically load and skid tree length logs to roadside over long distances.
The “L Boom” grapple skidder version is also very productive over shorter distances.
This track skidder is an effective and safe alternative to challenging steep slopes, and wet and deep snow logging conditions where it is not even possible to consider conventional ground base skidding.
Designed and manufactured in Canada, the TG88E is by far the world’s largest skidder and may open the door to year round operations, says the company.
Cat wheel skidders are workhorses, with the strength and power to handle a heavy bunching grapple with a full load of logs. The Cat C-Series wheel skidder’s five-speed transmission matches engine power to the load size and ground conditions. A lock-up clutch torque converter gives the C-Series all the advantages of torque converter operation along with the speed and fuel efficiency of direct drive. Travel speeds can be as much as 15 per cent higher with the lock-up clutch engaged.
Cat bunching grapples feature a strong box-section design and higher clamping forces for faster log loading and excellent retention. The “auto-grab” grapple hydraulic system monitors and adjusts tong pressure as needed to maintain a secure grip on grapple loads without wasting power. Cat track skidders deliver the balance and power needed for safe and productive skidding in steep or poor ground conditions. The skidders are available in a variety of track and grapple or cable configurations.
The re-introduction of the KMC 1000 series hydrostatic drive track skidder has produced a machine with “the lightest footprint in the industry”, says KMC-Kootrack.
Improvements to the suspension and track systems have given the KMC 1000H this reputation as well as redefining it as a very maneuverable steep ground skidder (55 per cent favorable and 40 per cent adverse) with unmatched side slope stability as well. The KMC is designed to operate on environmentally sensitive sites and wet /boggy ground conditions where other machines cannot.
These improvements have dramatically increased the machine’s availability time to the extent that KMC–Kootrac offers a two year warranty on the tracks. The live steel tracks and torsion bar suspension have a greatly improved lifespan, thus reducing the cost of operating while increasing productivity.
The unique balanced weight distribution has also improved the machine’s performance in hard-to-get-to areas.
The KMC line of machines are readily adaptable to a FireTracker or rear mounted mulcher unit, making it a useful addition to a logger’s fleet.
Manufactured in British Columbia, the 1000H series has the lightest footprint of all skidding machines and will allow loggers to operate as close to a full year as possible, the company says.
The Debusqueuses Awassos MD 50, one of a series of mini-skidders made in Canada, is described as having the toughness of a heavy duty skidder and the agility of an environmentally friendly machine.
It is said to be ideal for low impact forestry and selective cutting activities, is easy to transport with a pickup and trailer, and offers lower soil impact and less damage to residual stands, according to the company.
The radio remote control operates the winch, can command the engine to accelerate or decelerate, and order the engine to stop and start.
It comes with a Kubota 68 hp engine, three speed manual transmission and two speed transfer gearbox. Diesel fuel consumption is estimated at two to three litres per hour.
The frame is a centered articulating frame, it comes equipped with a manual locking differential device, and the joystick operates both steering and front blade functions.
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