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Large-Stem Delimber

Two early users of the new Pierce HSD 3345 say they finally have what they want - a beefed-up, powerful stroke delimber designed for BIG timber.

By Tony Kryzanowski
Copyright 1997. Contact publisher for permission to use.

If stroke delimbers were boxers, the Pierce HSD 3345 single-boom delimber would be in the super heavyweight class.

The Western Canadian forest equipment supplier recently made its first two Canadian sales of the new 3345 stroke delimber - one to a contractor working near Rocky Mountain House, Alberta harvesting large aspen, and one to a contractor working near Prince George, harvesting timber as large as 40'' diameter.

By now, it's obvious that this new delimber is targetted for large timber, or timber that's tougher on delimbers like aspen. Up until the Pierce delimber arrived on the market, contractors harvesting large wood had few choices.

Prince George-area logging contractor Ross Roach of RWR Contracting is one example of a contractor working in large wood who was simply making due until he recently purchased his Pierce 3345 stroke delimber.

He harvests white spruce and balsam, with plenty of timber in the 3'' butt range for Northwood Pulp and Paper in Prince George. He is a stump-to-dump contractor, harvesting about 140,000 m3 a year.

Roach had been using a dangler-type delimber that was really a prototype built by a Prince George company a few years ago. The manufacturer promptly went broke after building only two models large enough to delimb the size of timber growing in Roach's cutblocks. Even with this machine, they still needed to hand buck any wood over 22'' butt diameter.

He knew that he needed to buy something better, and started by checking out some of the more popular brands offered at a local auction.

"My son and I crawled around, under and over for an hour or two, and it appeared that they just didn't hack the heavy work," says Roach. "They had a lot of cracks welded up, a lot of fish plating and pin bosses that had broke. We thought if we put them in the big timber we were in, they couldn't handle the job."

Then he discovered the Pierce 3345 stroke delimber. "I guess the thing I really like about the Pierce is that we don't have near the down time we used to have with our dangler-type head," says Roach. "It seems to run for hours. With our dangler, we'd barely get a day before we'd be out fixing something."

The Pierce delimber cuts and delimbs timber up to 34''. Roach says he is very impressed by how well it handles the big wood. "It handles the big wood like popsicle sticks," he says. "It has tremendous power."

Sometimes when a machine is that big and manages timber that is equally large, accuracy is sacrificed for power. That is not the case with the Pierce 3345 delimber, according to Roach.

"I was very impressed when the guy came up from Pierce to get us set up, and we put it to work," says Roach. "We measured some trees and they were the right measurements. With our dangling head, we had lots of measuring problems, but this machine seems to measure well."

Gordon Lewis, owner of GM Lewis Contracting located in Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, can also attested to how quickly the Pierce delimber can be put to work, and how easy it is to use.

He harvests about 120,000 m3 annually of aspen from 6'' to over 30'' for Weyerhaeuser's oriented strand board (OSB) plant in Rocky Mountain House. They work double shifts, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and have 25 employees on staff. They also operate a second delimber-carrier unit from a competing manufacturer.

Lewis has been logging for over 40 years, and knew he needed a delimber-carrier package that was large enough to handle large aspen. His Pierce 3345 delimber is mounted on a John Deere 892 carrier.

"We decided that a bigger, heavier carrier would suit us better," he says. "A bigger horse usually stands up better than the little one doing the job, you know."

And it did not take long for Lewis' operators to learn to ride the horse.

"Our man got right off one of the other machines and right on the Pierce," he says. "It was no problem whatsoever." He is happy to be dealing with a western supplier because service and support for parts and mechanical advice is close at hand.

Roach also assembled a heavy package. He says the Pierce delimber weighs in about 5,000 lbs. more than other telescopic boom delimbers, so he mounted it on a 290 Hyundai carrier, which together weigh in at about 80,000 lbs.

Manufacturer Pierce Pacific says it has made a simpler, more accurate, more heavy-duty and more reliable stroke delimber. And, given the feedback from these two contractors, its seems the sales pitch is meeting expectations.

"It's been pretty good," says Gordon Lewis of GM Lewis Contracting. "We broke a few cylinders, but that's a minor thing." He says he would buy another one.

"Maybe they are a little slower for small wood," says Ross Roach of RWR Contracting, "but if you are in big wood, I think I got one of the better ones. The up time has been really good, except for our own mistakes. We got it for power to handle the big wood and to handle it accurately."

It took Pierce Pacific three years of research and trials before they brought the 3345 stroke delimber to market. "We had a lot of customers asking us to build a stroke delimber," says Pierce Pacific Manufacturing vice-president and general manager Jerry Clausen. "Pierce has a large clientele and a familiar name. We thought there was a place for a stroker designed for West Coast applications."

The Pierce 3345 stroke delimber is a heavy-duty mono-boom design, as opposed to the telescopic boom delimbers common throughout Canada. Many telescopic boom delimber manufacturers have their home base in Eastern Canada, and Clausen says that is one reason why many western loggers wanted Pierce to accept the challenge. They had a concern about how the distance factor was affecting the level of service they expected.

"Also, there had been no major innovations in stroke delimbers in years," adds Clausen. "There was a long list of what the contractors wanted." In fact, they had over 100 requests. Pierce incorporated 68 of those requests into the 3345 stroke delimber's design. Clausen says they are working on a line of telescopic boom delimbers to address potential markets in the BC Interior and Eastern Canada where timber is smaller. He expects to have a line on the market within a year.


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