The Forespro delimber received its share of attention at a recent demo in British Columbia.
By Jim Stirling
If experience is the best teacher then the Forespro is a winner of a delimber. The machine was gathering believers when Quadco Equipment brought its telescopic boom delimber in for a recent demonstration at a Warmac Ventures logging show near Prince George, British Columbia. It was the first time west of the Rockies for the Forespro, but a quarter century of tradition is incorporated into its sturdy design. It was born in the mid1970s amid the mixed forests and rolling terrain of rural Quebec. Log harvesting contractor Roger Sigouin designed and built the first stroke delimber to work from the bottom of the stem to the top.
He called it the Roger delimber and it quickly gained the attention of local contractors and sawmills that appreciated the higher quality wood the new style delimber produced. Sigouin was encouraged to begin commercial production of the machine and did so until the industry hit tough times in the early 1980s. But interest in the concepts behind the Roger delimbers never disappeared. The machine's features have been imitated through the years and the Roger retained a loyal group of devotees who found it to be the solution to their delimbing problems. The market wanted more and eventually won the day-the Sigouin family resumed its delimber manufacturing business.
Contractors had always visited Roger Sigouin's machine shop in Amos to discuss the pros and cons of forest machines. Sigouin listened to what was said and, from the feedback and his personal experience, found ways to make a good delimbing machine even better. Now that Quadco has added the Forespro to its product line, logging contractors across the country can see how the latest manifestation of the Roger heritage suits their needs. One thing's for sure: the bond between manufacturer and end user hasn't diminished. "The most important thing is the customer and listening to him," says Richard Sigouin, Roger's son, who was accompanying the Quadco crew during the Prince George area demo.
There are two other important points, adds the younger Sigouin: don't make machines that are more complicated than they have to be. Delimbing-especially in small and medium sized trees-is a repetitive action tough on moving parts and machine function.
Experience has shown where the pressure points are and where weaknesses occur, says Sigouin. And that's point number two: provide a heavy-duty, bush wise machine that can take the punishment and maintain production under the less than ideal conditions that prevail in most logging shows. Reducing downtime is paramount. "The machine is strong. We have had the same carriage and drive system for 23 years," says Sigouin. The carriage is constructed of 5/8inch steel and well braced on the inside. The butt plate is made of one inch, T1 100,000 lb yield steel.
Consequently, the machine's no lightweight at around 23,900 lbs without options. But it was just that type of rugged construction that caught the critical eyes of loggers looking over the machine at the demo. That and little telltale signs like the silver soldering and use of brass or chrome bushings left them impressed. Trees in BC are generally bigger than in Quebec and Sigouin says the Forespro can accommodate 30inch diameter stems and up to 34 inches in a pinch. He says the 57foot boom reach is 30 inches longer than most delimbers.
A four-cable system provides support and structural rigidity for the boom. Sigouin says all rollers on the carriage are tandem with four bearings per roller. The six-inch roller at the end of the boom is three times the size of other machines, he adds. The Forespro delimber can be linked with a purpose built carrier or an excavator in the 22 to 25 ton range, although a machine at the lower end of the scale may require a counterweight. The drive system motor and sprocket are matched to the carrier hydraulics. Standard Hydrostar motors offer different pulling force options and delimb at speeds of 14 ft/sec at 65 gpm. The traction chain incorporated into the Forespro also differs from that on other delimbers. It's a 140 double link gauge Tsubaki chain made in Japan.
Sigouin concedes it's more expensive than other chains but it shouldn't need changing for 8,000 hours, offering considerably better longevity than most. There's an additional benefit, he says. The chain's easier on the drive and motor shaft which can cost big money to repair aside from the implications of downtime, the word least liked in any logger's vocabulary. Sigouin notes that listening to loggers through the years has resulted in a delimber that is easy to work on with accessible maintenance points. He estimates greasing and oiling at half an hour a day. Sigouin says options are available to match the delimber to a logger's application within the machine's basic design parameters.
These include changes to the topping and butting saws. The delimber's measuring system is also optional. On the standard Forespro, it's a Quadco designed system using Allen Bradley modular components. Like the machine itself, the components are reliable enough to provide accurate length, diameter and optimizing solutions despite the vibration inherent with the delimbing process. Sigouin was pleased with the Forespro's introduction to BC. He believes it will give better established machines a run for their money. After all, he reasons, why wouldn't loggers' good common sense ideas that work in Quebec and New Brunswick not produce well in BC, Alberta and internationally?
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