The Factory That Goes To The Forest Logging is the only industry in which the factory is brought to the raw material rather than vice versa. Nowhere has that witticism been more true than in the mechanized single grip harvesting shows as a single carrier and its processing head falls, delimbs, bucks, and sorts fully manufactured logs and in doing so calculates and records the species, size and volume of the wood processed.
With all the sophistication of the most modern production line, the carrier and head almost instantly decides the most productive or highest value cut or combination of cuts out of any particular log. Whether the potent combination was the result of or the cause of a dramatic change is unclear - what is clear is that the modern harvester has reshaped forestry. As the size of harvest trees declined, the machine made it possible to economically handle the greater number of stems and pieces required to keep production at a cost effective level.
At 150 to 200 piece loads, not unknown today, the harvest cost and the price of handling each of these small stems with traditional hand labor would have been prohibitive. As every logger in the West knows, the pool of skilled forestry workers has rapidly diminished, and as it has shrunk the average age of the workers has increased. The increased harvesting efficiency of the harvester/processor machines has kept production at a sustainable level despite the ongoing shortage of willing and talented workers. Think of the impact of the machine just from the safety viewpoint.
It removed fallers from the ground where they were exposed to tremendous hazards and wrapped them within a protective steel frame - isolated from falling limbs, tops and whole trees as well as flying chips - and placed in a far more friendly working environment. The precise measurement abilities, flexible harvesting prescriptions and instant communications are reshaping the entire flow of logs to the mill. As log manufacturing becomes more sophisticated, mills have shifted more of the log preparation to the woods and at the same time are exploring "just in time" harvesting to keep from building up expensive to maintain log inventories.
A single phone call from mill to machine can change the harvest prescription and the log size/species mix, with the results of the call showing up in the sort yard in mere hours. Is the harvester/processor the ultimate logging machine? That's nonsense. In fact, today's professional loggers are evolving the best ways to use the machine in a variety of harvest conditions. On one side, the machine may be falling, processing and bucking 20 foot logs, while a few minutes drive away another similar machine may be manufacturing 40 foot logs. Another logger may keep his harvester/processor working on the landing under a tower, processing treelength wood.
A fourth logger may have his harvester/processor following in the tracks of a fellerbuncher, processing the decks laid out for it. What follows is a look around most of the major manufacturers of harvester/ processor heads, with a quick description of the variety of technologies available as well as a few indications of products which may be coming down the pike. It's not an allinclusive list, and with the constant innovations which are a hallmark of the industry there will be products introduced even as this story goes to press.
Harvester Heads: What's New, What's Hot, What's Available
AFM HARVESTERS offers four harvesting heads: the AFM 45 Corona, the AFM 55 Husky, the AFM 60 and the AFM 80 Magnum. The 45 Corona is intended for thinning and smaller sized clear cuttings. It can be installed on light wheel based carriers or small excavators. The 55 Husky is designed for thinning and clear cutting operations with trees of approximately 55 cm. It has a three motor power feed unit combined with an automatic pressure adjusting system, and it is equipped with four delimbing knives. The 60series unit can fell and delimb stems between five and 60 cm in diameter. The 80 Magnum can handle trees up to 90 cm, and is equipped with the Opticut system, in which the saw bar is always turning to optimal cutting angle and distance in relation to the diameter of timber.
CATERPILLAR now offers four models of harvesting heads - the HH 45, HH55, HH65 and HH75. The harvesting heads are designed to handle tasks ranging from first thinning to final felling. All four harvesting head models use a patented feeding mechanism that keeps the feed rollers centered on the stem as the diameter changes. Simultaneously, the feed roller pressure varies to ensure maximum grip without damaging the stem. Other features include fixed delimbing knives attached to the tilt frame, movable knives hydraulically controlled for adjusting to the natural contour of the tree, diameter measurements received and encoded by a computer aided bucking system via single or dual sensors located within the base of each delimbing knife, a steel frame supported by dual hydraulic cylinders, solid rubber feed rollers wrapped in chains, an independent hydraulic arm on the measuring wheel for length measurements, and a sawbar equipped with a .404 chain operating at 148 feet per second.
The 1,565pound HH45 will fell to 20 inches and delimb to 17 inches; the 2,095 HH55 will cut to 22 inches and delimb to 21 inches; the 2,205pound HH65 will fell to 26 inches and delimb to 21 inches; and the 3,219pound HH75 will fell to 30 inches and delimb to 23 inches.
DAVCO Machine Ltd. of Grande Prairie, AB, builds the fixed mount TP 1000 Tree Harvester which fells, limbs and cuts to length. The unit weighs 1,100 lbs., with a capacity of up to 12inch. Other features include four presets on the computerized measuring system, track drives on the tree, and .404 harvester chain.
DENHARCO's new DHT650 offers increased operational capability for processing large stems and a precise measuring system. It's power and operating speed meet the strictest industry standards and its 21.5 inch rollers provide top operating speeds. The exclusive design of its two delimbing arms and its power feed rollers allow the operator to seize and process stacked limbs. Their revised SH Series can adapt to different types of forestry operations, including partial harvesting, thinning and clearcutting. Each harvester in the SH Series - SH400B, SH500B and SH600B - can meet productivity and profitability requirements under the most severe weather conditions. The SH Series is designed for efficiency in typical North America operating conditions with top notch grip strength and safety features.
DYMAX's harvesting head is a shear for skid steer. The 14" forestry tree sheers, mounted on a skid loader, especially the ASV rubber track machines, creates small harvesting tool. It may not be as "romantic" as the other harvesting heads, but the price - $50,000 for the entire package (machine and harvesting tool) - makes it an economical choice.
New from FABTEK this year is the FT180, an 18inch dangle style processing head that is essentially a scaled down version of the FT240. It weighs in at 2,950 pounds, and requires a minimum hydraulic flow of 36 gpm and 4100 psi. The FT240 has been upgraded with a topping saw and an advanced computer system for measurements. The 3,950pound head runs with a threehose hydraulic hookup, and will operate with hydraulic flows between a minimum of 55 gpm and 3500 psi to 100 gpm and 4500 psi. The 18 and 13inch Series 2000 danglehead processors remain essentially unchanged
HAHN MACHINERY offers two "rigid" type single grip heads for small wood harvesting and thinning operations. The HSG140 will cut a 16" butt and process trees with a maximum dbh of 14". The HSG160 will cut an 18" tree and process timber with maximum dbh of 16". Both heads are equipped with electronic measuring systems, 3/4" pitch saws with auto oiling and autoretract, solenoid operated valves, push button control handles and wiring. The Hahn heads are simple, rugged, inexpensive machines requiring 55 hp and 34 gpm to operate. They can be installed on small excavators, skidsteer loaders and threewheeled carriers.
HAKMET USA, INC. offers two Finnishbuilt ARBRO harvesting heads which are especially designed for small wood harvesting and thinning. ARBRO 400 is a strokeharvester, with a stroke length of 29.5 inches. It's capable of felling, delimbing and cuttingtolength both hardwood and softwood and can fell trees with diameters up to 12". It weighs only 550 lbs., with a min. oilflow of 12 gpm and a maximum is 21 gpm. Operating pressure is 2,500 to 2,900 psi, delimbing force 3,075 lbs., maximum opening for delimbing knives is 12.5" and for grip arms 16.5". It's equipped with a Volvo saw mechanism, cutter bar 14" or 16". The big brother, ARBRO 1000 weighs 900 lbs., has max opening for grip arms of 19.5" and for knives 18.5".
Stroke length is 26", max. operating pressure 2,600 psi, hydraulic flow 21 to 31 gpm, max. delimbing force 7,250 lbs., and has a Volvo F1110 saw with 20" saw bar. Both the 400 and 1000 have automatic stroke. Delimbing is done by pressing a single button. Each is equipped with a measuring device and eight different preselected length may be programmed. Any length can be chosen at any time and the delimbing and grip knives may be opened separately.
HARVEST SYSTEMS is in the process of developing a new directional felling stroke head, in the 1,000 to 1,200 pound range, and most likely will exhibit it at next year's Lake States logging show. The company is also mulling the possibility of building a purpose built carrier, focusing on today's need for a relatively high horsepower but physically small machine, matched to the new head. There have been upgrades throughout the Forest One line of harvester heads, involving new hydraulic motors on the larger heads, an improved grapple cylinder and new feed roller configuration. The F1450, weighing 1,000 pounds, will cut to 18 inches and delimb to 15 inches, with a cutting bar of 18 inches. It's designed for a 7 to 9ton carrier, with at least 60 hp. The F1535 weighs 1,370 lbs., will cut to 21 inches and delimb to 18 inches with an 18 to 21inch cutting bar. It matches up with a 10 to 13ton carrier with at least 70 hp. The F1700 weighs 2,090 lbs., will cut to 25 inches and delimb to 22 inches. It is designed for a 14 to 22ton carrier with a minimum of 85 hp. Harvester Systems continues to represent the Tapio and Keto lines of harvesting heads and is introducing the line of AFM Harvesting Head in the lake states.
KETO added two single grip harvesting heads to its line within the last year, bringing the total to seven. Heads range from the 880pound 51 with a maximum 21inch cutting bar and 14.5inch knife opening to the 5,700pound 1000 with its 39.5inch cutting bar and 39.5 inch knife opening. In between are the 1,230pound 100 with a maximum 21inch bar and 16.5inch knife opening, the 1,780pound 150 with a maximum 25inch cutting bar and 20.5inch knife opening, the 2,380pound 500 series with a maximum 29.5inch cutting bar and 24.5inch knife opening, the 2,800pound (with top saw) 525 with a 24inch cutting bar and 26inch knife opening; and the 5,200pound 750 with a 40 inch 11BC sawbar and maximum 28inch knife opening. Maximum feed speeds range from 17.5 fpm with the 51 to 12 fpm with the 1000. All use a track feed system.
The programmable control and measuring computer allows for 88 presets, including lengths, diameters and tolerances, as well as five different levels of automation from manual to fully automatic. The 1000 is matched to a 67,000 to 110,000pound, 210 to 350hp carrier, the 500 series to a 33,000 to 67,000pound, 100 to 200hp carrier, the 150 to a 22,000 to 45,000pound 85 to 130hp carrier, the 100 to a 18,000 to 27,000pound 75 to 100hp carrier and the 51 to a 13,000 to 22,000pound 60 to 90hp carrier. The 500 series heads and the 1000 may be fitted with a topping saw.
LAKO HARVESTER offers its 650 harvesting head with an optional top saw. The 650, for carriers in the 122 to 136 hp range, will cut a tree to 30inch diameter. The 450, for carriers in the 88 to 95hp range depending on the choice of two or four roll versions, will cut a stem to 21 inches. The 550, for the 102 to 112hp class carrier, will cut to 25 inches.
LOG MAX Ab of Sweden now distributes its own product through Log Max West, Inc. who supply harvester heads through a dealer network in the Pacific Northwest. Log Max features three Swedish built heads: model 3000 weighs 1,160 pounds, model 5000 weighs 1,885 lbs., and the model 750 weighs in at 3,140 lbs. The 3000 falls up to 24" and delimbs 13" down to 1". Maximum feed spped is 12 fps, with a maximum feed force of 4105 pounds. Hydraulic requirements are 45 gpm and 3340 psi. The 5000 will fall up to 27" and delimb 17" down to 1". Maximum feed speed is 11.8 fps, with a maximum feed force of 5,395 pounds. Hydraulic requirements are 53 gpm and 3350 psi. The 750 will fall up to 30" and delimb from 23" down to 1". Maximum feed speed is 16 fps, with maximum feed force of 8,100 pounds. Hydraulic requirements are 63 gpm and 4074 psi. It also has an optional topping saw. All heads use a .404" chain for felling. And rubber feed rollers are standards, with optional steel feed rollers.
PIERCE PACIFIC offers two new units to their harvester/ felling head line. The Pierce Tree Harvester (PTH) 24" is the newest addition with a maximum cutting diameter of 32" and delimbing diameters from 2" to 30" minimizing the hand bucking for larger stems. It offers 10,000 lbs. of pulling force and five export quality delimbing knives. All PTH 24's come with the Pierce Mark 2 full Scale Measuring System, automatic bucking presents, constant diameter readout, 8x10 color display and production reports that can be tailored to specific needs. Other standard features include: Sure Grip control Handles, Heavy Duty Hanging Bracket and Rotate Bearing, Pitch Butt Saw, .404 Topping Saw, Variable Displacement Feed Motors. Also, soon to arrive is the PTH 20". The second unit is the Pierce Felling Head (PFH) 630. It offers 360 degrees of directional falling, multifunction operation (falling head and shovel logging/loading), 38" cutting capacity, 43" maximum grab arm opening and high tensile steel construction.
PONSSE USA offers two dangle harvester heads, the H60 with a maximum opening of 24 inches and the H73 with a maximum opening of 28 inches. The measurement and control system for either is a choice of the Ponsse Opti or Ponsse 1000. The H60 is fitted with bogiestyle roller assemblies that follow the shape of the tree. They can be fitted with paired rollers or tracks. The unit's valve system is located in the harvester head itself. Recommended power supply is 94 to 120hp, feed force is 5,400 lbs and feed speed is up to 15 feet per second. It can be equipped with from three to six delimbing knives, depending on need. The H73 has five delimbing knives, with the front knives designed and positioned for delimbing down to the small top diameter. Stem length is measured by a roller located at the center of the harvester head and the grip on the stem does not change during feeding. Feed force is 5,850 lbs and feed speed is up to 13 feet per second.
QUADCO Equipment Inc. offers four harvester/processor heads. The 7500 is built for large trees with 13,500 lbs. of delimbing force and a 30" cut capacity. The diameterbased proportional pressure control system ensures optimum squeeze force and feed speed, via steel or rubber freed rolls. The mounting bracket is designed to work as a processor only or as a harvester/processor. The main saw selection is .404" or 34" chain or Ultimate disc saw. A topping saw is standard. The 6000 is from the same family as the 7500, but has a 24" cut capacity. The 5600 can be used for both a treelength and CTL applications. It features a versatile head, strong frame structure, highspeed saw hydraulics, circular saw design with Quadco rotatable teeth, accumulator arms for multistemming, topping saw, and rubber or steel rolls. The boom adapter is solid in the felling position and dangles in the processing position, allowing higher delimbing speed and reduced fiber damages and carrier stress. The 5620 has the same features as the 5600, but uses a bar and chain system as a main saw versus a disc saw.
The Rolly II from RISLEY EQUIPMENT features a modular design that allows users to select from a variety of options to customize the unit for specific harvesting applications. The basic head features two 18inch diameter drive rolls, delimbing force of up to 10,000 pounds, and a mounting bracket with 240 degrees of rotation powered by twin planetary drives. The head is built for swing boom carriers from 80hp on up, Options at the top end include a circular topping saw, chain bar saw or floating delimbing knife. Optional lower end components include 18 or 21inch Rotosaw, or a 24inch cut chain saw bar. TIGERCAT's new 2800 lb (1,300 kg) 650 Woodking harvesting head is built at Tigercat's Swedish manufacturing facilities. Highstrength steel cframe expander bolts in the knives and arms provide a long service life. The hydrostatically driven 26" 650 mm bar saw features a fastcutting system (FCS) for a reduced wood splitting. The H845B carrier is fuel efficient, with a feed speed of 016 feet per second (05m/sec) and a feed force of 6500 lbs. (19 kN). Angled feed rollers increase force while reducing friction on the knives and rollers.
TIMBERREX(tm) has five heads designed for thinning to final cuts - 2723AT, 2723A, 2420AT, 2420A and 2218A dangle heads. Some of the standard features include: autotension saw units with continuous lubrication, hydraulic measuring heel, heavy duty induction hardened shafts and pines, six high tensile cast delimbing knives, computer control system with presets and automatic bucking and scaling, 17" cut capacity measuring and scaling topping saws in AT models. The 2723AT has a max. cut of 27", max. delimb of 23", has a 17" integrated top saw, 9,128 lb. feed force, a feed speed of 17 feet per second and weighs 4,200 lbs. The 2723A has a max. cut of 27", max. delimb of 23", has a force feet of 9,128 lbs. feed force, a feed speed of 17 feet per second and weighs 3,900 lbs. The 2420AT has a max. cut of 24", max. delimb of 20", a 17" integrated top saw, 8,210 lb. feed force, a feed speed of 16 feet per second and weighs 3,500 lbs. The 2420A has a max. cut of 24", max. delimb of 20", has a force feet of 8,210 lbs. feed force, a feed speed of 16 feet per second and weighs 3,200 lbs. The 2218A has a max. cut of 22", max. delimb of 18", has a force feet of 6,100 lbs. feed force, a feed speed of 16 feet per second and weighs 2,500 lbs.
PARTEK/VALMET offers a trio of harvesting heads: the 945 focusing on thinnings, the 960II for the full range of prescriptions from final felling jobs through thinnings, and the 965 for the biggest final felling applications. The 2,536 pound 965 will cut to 26 inches and has a feed speed of up to 13 fpm. The recommended carrier horsepower is in the 130 to 230 hp range. The 2,120pound 960II cuts to 26 inches, has a feed speed up to 13 fpm, and is matched to carriers in the 90 to 175 hp range. The 1,588pound 945cuts to 21.6 inches with a feed speed to 13 fpm, and mates to carriers in the 75 to 130hp range. Measuring and control systems for all three is the Modular Measurement and Control System VMM 1000.
VOTEC Innovation has four models of the dangletype Woodking harvester heads. Cutting capacities range from 15.6 inches for the 400 through 21.6 inches for the 550, 26 inches for the 650 and 33.5 inches for the 850.
WARATAH FORESTRY ATTACHMENTS's HTH622 heavyduty harvester head is equipped with a new Timbermatic 10 measuring and control system. The head is suitable for harvesting and processing heavybranched softwood and hardwood. The Timbermatic 10 measures the length and diameter of the tree and calculates the total volume produced. It controls the functions of the harvester head as well as the hydraulic pumps of the base machine. Waratah Forestry Attachments is the combination of Waratah and Koehring Waterous. Both the HTH260 and the HTH 470 are European manufactured, require a 1625 ton base carrier, are designed for late thinnings and have a max. cut capacity of 25.6". The HTH260 has two feed rollers and weight 2,976 lbs., while the HTH470 has 4 feed rollers and weighs 2,380 lbs. Four harvesting heads came from the Waratah side of the line, with the size indicated by the number following the brand: HTH620, HTH622, HTH624 and HTH626.
The 620 requires an 18 to 22ton carrier a 27" max. cutting capacity, used best for stems averaging 16". The 622 for rough thinnings and small final felling is matched to a 22 to 25ton carrier. The 624 for small to medium final fellings, a 29" max. cutting capacity, and with the option of a topping saw is designed for a 25 to 30ton carrier. And the 626 which can fell and process stems to 26", with a max. cutting capacity of 30" requires a 30 to 40ton carrier. The topping saw on the 624 and the 626 use .404 pitch chain, with the topping saw incorporated into the measuring controller. The programmable Waratah Measuring System can be set to 16 cutting lengths for eight species as well as an automatic stop on diameter.
This page was last updated on Monday, November 10, 2003