The first purpose-built Komatsu PC 300LL-7 butt ‘n top log loader is performing flawlessly, according to BC logging contractor Amboy Logging.
By Jim Stirling
Amboy Logging is pretty good at eliminating unwelcome surprises and that doesn’t happen by accident. Gib Randall and Eli Hetu, the log contracting company’s owners, believe in doing their homework. They plan carefully. Any potential piece of new logging equipment’s is investigated with a Sherlock Holmes-like attention to detail. The equipment’s promised features are assessed, along with how it fits into the overall vision of the operation. Then Amboy’s operators are kept up to speed about what’s going on and what’s expected from them. Their several cents worth are encouraged and the operators are an integral part of the planning process.
Ultimately, it’s the operators who will make a machine work to its full potential in the bush. The approach works. That was evident on a sparkling winter morning recently, when Amboy’s latest acquisition, the first purpose-built Komatsu PC 300LL-7 butt ‘n top log loader, performed flawlessly. Nothing less was expected. Amboy contributed input to a receptive Komatsu manufacturing team. The company worked closely with dealer Terratech Equipment to add features Amboy wanted. It was a similar story with the people at Industrial Machine Attachment Company (IMAC), to incorporate key modifications Amboy required. The result is a log loader Amboy predicts with confidence will contribute to the company’s efficiency during the long term—with no nasty surprises. Amboy Logging is based in Quesnel, in the North Cariboo region of British Columbia.
The outfit is a go-to contractor for West Fraser Mills, for which it harvests about 145,000 cubic metres annually. The company also harvests private wood. The logging contractor’s harvesting assignments are frequently in steep and demanding terrain. The Komatsu loader will slot right in, says Hetu. He expects it will be required to load 1,200 to 1,500 cubic metres during a 12-hour shift, depending on operational circumstances.
Amboy has had plenty of experience with Komatsu loaders. “They’re very reliable. There’s not a better loader out there in our minds,” commends Hetu. “This one is the first of its kind, a fully purpose-built log loader. It matches up with anything out there for its size and weight.” And therein lies part of the Komatsu’s appeal. “You basically have 400 track power, swing drive and bearings in a purpose-built 300 class machine,” he explains. The heavy-duty features are included in a machine that still weighs less than 100,000 pounds. “Komatsu has taken the best ideas and put them together.”
The result, adds Hetu, is a log loader “with a great big heart and hydraulics to the max.” Modifications to the log loader’s design include extending the reach by about three feet. IMAC worked to give the machine a high visibility curvature boom. A major benefit there, explains Hetu, is that it allows regular operator Fred May to load on the blind side. IMAC also moved the forestry cab forward about a foot, creating better all around visibility for loading and/or log sorting. “IMAC did a great job for us on the cab and boom,” credits Hetu. The Komatsu dealer, Terratech Equipment’s Prince George branch, came in for its share of kudos for finishing the core loader to Amboy’s specifications. “Terratech has been second to none and should be complemented on the work they’ve done,” continues Hetu.
The modifications included rock guarding installation and a railing around the carrier for operator safety and ease of access to the machine for servicing. Additional lighting was added to the boom and stick. Running 12-hour shifts in the BC Interior winter means several gloomy hours each day. Sliders replaced rollers on the undercarriage because, explains Hetu, they are basically trouble free and require less maintenance. The new Komatsu loader fits well with the rest of Amboy’s log harvesting equipment fleet. “Most of our stuff is a little overkill by design,” points out Hetu. “It doesn’t have to work hard all the time to do the job we want so we will get a long work life from it.”
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