CLICK to download a pdf of this article

Supplier Newsline

Steep slope logging

Steep Slope Conference a big hit

Exports of New Zealand-designed and built high-tech forest machines are set to surge ahead following the very successful Steep Slope Logging Conference held in Richmond, B.C. in March. A sell-out audience was on hand to see the new winch-assist mechanized harvesting techniques at the conference, which was presented by Logging and Sawmilling Journal.

Contractors and foresters heard how the new machines have revolutionized safety in New Zealand’s forest industry. With this large technical conference, the paradigm-shift in harvesting technology is now better understood in B.C., Oregon, Washington and Idaho. 

With hundreds of Canadian and U.S.-based forest managers and contractors registered, the conference sold out in the final week. Clearly, there was a lot of interest in the range of practical experiences among the five contractors and winch-assist manufacturers from New Zealand.

Seeing the equipment in action was even more in demand as places on the field tour sold out weeks ahead of time. The forest locations chosen made for excellent demonstrations of these new machines operating on Vancouver Island. 

On conference day, the delegates were well-served with a range of loggers and engineers detailing their journey from concept to in-forest production with the now popular winch assist harvesters which have gained a strong reputation for both safety and production in NZ.

However, many speakers explained that the benefits gained from New Zealand’s steep slope harvesters had to flow to both contractors and licensees in North America—without that, the introduction of these paradigm-shifting machines would not be happening. 

Several of the speakers now have multiple winch-assist falling machines operating in a number of Pacific Northwest states, as well as the B.C. Coast and Interior. 

Falcon Forestry Equipment’s Dale Ewers, whose companies include 14 logging operations spread throughout New Zealand, spoke to conference delegates about a range of innovative new logging systems that his large team of loggers and equipment designers have developed and implemented. The largest selling innovation has been the camera grapple carriage that removes the need for men to go on the slope, to hook logs. He also finished his talk with real film footage of his leading-edge research-proven carriage mounted felling head showing how easily it can fell trees.

EMS/Tractionline’s Chris Hancock detailed the exhaustive engineering approach they adopted in designing their traction-assist system to meet the appropriate engineering standards and relevant codes. Their equipment is already operating in Washington-based logging contractor Frank Chandler’s operations.

With the several Remote Operated Bulldozer (ROB) machines already operating in production logging operations on Vancouver Island, Iain May from Rosewarne and May explained how their remote-operated bulldozers work. They operate in tandem with slope-assisted feller bunchers and have been running in second growth settings in Island Timberlands’ private forests. The units are owned and operated by Lyle Newton’s Island Pacific Logging operations.

Professional forester Ryan Potter from Tolko Industries in B.C. spoke to the conference group about the breakthroughs made in their forest operations. He emphasized the need for team communications regarding harvest planning and layout for these new safe and productive logging systems.

In the presentation of the day, Paul Jensen from ClimbMAX equipment joined in a practical panel session detailing learnings from their long experience, having been the pioneers for winch-assist logging operations in North America.

Morbark acquired by Stellex Capital Management

Forestry equipment company Morbark has been purchased by an affiliate of Stellex Capital Management. The acquisition is focused on providing growth capital and resources to significantly expand the company in the future.

“Our acquisition of Morbark is a great fit for us, “says David Waxman, Principal of Stellex. “We believe the company is well positioned to grow in the coming years, and we are confident that the capital and resources we bring will fuel that growth.”

Lon Morey, Morbark Chief Executive Officer and son of the founder of Morbark, says that though it is always difficult to leave a family business, “we felt this was the right time with the right investor who can build on the legacy my father started and I have spent my entire life dedicated to. We are confident that the Stellex group will be able to take Morbark to the next level of excellence and growth. We are excited for the company and its employees, and the future envisioned for them.”

WolftekWolftek has new thermal monitoring system for planer mills

Wolftek has developed and successfully launched its thermal monitoring system (TMS).

The Wolftek TMS uses an FLIR infrared camera to display a thermal spectrum video that operators and maintenance staff can use to optimize planer configurations and increase production. HMI alarms are easily configured to notify maintenance staff when motor bearings get too hot or when guide bar friction exceeds a temperature set point.

QuadcoQuadco/Southstar: Combining the Power of Two

Quadco Equipment and Southstar Equipment recently joined forces, and now offer a full line of forestry attachments. The companies provide innovative technology with the largest selection of felling heads and processors to choose from in the forest industry. Under the banner of “The Power of Two”, the companies will have the same people, the same locations and feature the same high quality products and service. The combined team will continue working to improve its products to provide loggers with the best possible equipment. Pictured above are some of the employees from both Quadco and Southstar at the Oregon Logging Conference in Eugene in February. Shaking hands are Marcel Payeur of Southstar Equipment (left) and Chuck MacLennan of Quadco.

AirtekVETS Group and AirTek join forces

Celebrating 95 years in the sheet metal and HVAC industry, the VETS Group is proud to announce the recent addition of AirTek Pneumatics to their group of companies.

Together, AirTek and VETS offer expanded coverage, capacity and capability to customers in the sawmill and lumber processing industries. From bag houses, cyclones, dust abatement and fume extraction systems to mechanical, electrical and HVAC service, these two organizations possess a wealth of knowledge and experience. Two strong brands with a combined focus on safety, NFPA compliance and renowned craftsmanship, the two companies say they stand ready to continue to serve the Western Canadian marketplace.

TigercatNew Tigercat buncher designed for steep slope logging

With tight tuck boom geometry and minimal tail swing, the Tigercat powered LX830D feller buncher is a powerful, yet compact, machine well suited to selective felling and clear fell applications.

Tigercat says that the LX830D takes steep slope felling to the next level with a number of improvements aimed at service access, ergonomics and hydraulic efficiency.

The 330 hp Tigercat FPT C87 Tier 4f engine is housed in a completely redesigned upper enclosure with significantly improved right hand side visibility. At the push of a button, the clamshell style enclosure fully opens with swing-out side doors for easy access to critical components, daily maintenance points and both sides of the engine. A larger fuel tank increases capacity to 585 L and includes ground level fueling.

The new cab structure with narrower front posts and larger side windows enhances visibility. The skylight has been replaced by a camera system providing the operator with a much wider field of view. The LX830D is now standard equipped with LED lighting, for improved productivity in nightshift operations.

Tigercat’s patented leveling system provides exceptional stability in steep slope applications. With massive cylinders, thick steel and tapered roller bearings, the leveling system provides reliability and long life.

GilbertGilbert introduces new S-series planer

Gilbert’s new S-series planer is said to be ideal for small to mid-sized lumber operations. It is designed to run at feed speeds from 100 to 1200 FPM and is the ultimate machine to produce value-added products, says the company.

The S-Series is the latest addition to Gilbert’s high-performing line of planers.

“This new model offers the same renowned Gilbert technology in a smaller machine,” says Heidi Danbrook, Sales Manager, Planer Division. “Many customers have said that they do not require a high speed planer line, but they would like the higher quality finish, increased accuracy and decreased set-up times that newer model planers can offer.’’

With the S-series planer, Gilbert reaches out to many different types of clientele specializing in value-added manufactured wood products like moulding and millwork, remanufacturing, finger jointing, cedar and small to mid-sized lumber operations.

The S-series uses the unique-to-Gilbert “pull-through” technology for high running uptime and productivity. The same Automatic Cutterhead Positioning System is installed to control all cutterheads and axes for efficient changeovers and higher grade finished lumber. Its compact design can fit very well into existing layouts.

Volvo Trucks now have battery-powered parking cooler option

Volvo Trucks North America has introduced a battery-powered parking cooler as a factory-installed option for its VNM 630, VNL 630, VNL 670, VNL 730 and VNL 780 sleeper models.

The battery-powered parking cooler allows drivers to keep the cab and sleeper comfortable without idling the engine, providing the most environmentally friendly and efficient solution for maintaining comfort while parked.

Power comes from the combined energy of the truck starting batteries paired with four AGM deep cycle batteries located in the in-frame battery box. The Volvo parking cooler is rated to keep the sleeper comfortable at 22 degrees Celsius for up to 10 hours, even during the heat of the day. The system is ideal for long haul drivers who run their trucks at least six hours, then park for their required break. Smart energy management software is also included, protecting the engine’s starting batteries from being run down.

The Volvo parking cooler is operated by an automatic thermostat that controls both the air conditioning and heat if the truck is equipped with the optional cab parking heater.

John DeereJohn Deere introduces new E-series knuckleboom loader

John Deere has upgraded its Final Tier 4 437E knuckleboom loader.

The E-Series knuckleboom loaders feature several productivity-enhancing improvements. Most noteworthy, the 437E delivers a five per cent increase in both swing torque and boom lift over previous models for more productive delimbing and truck loading times.

John Deere made several updates to the E-Series with uptime in mind. The 437E boasts a 173 horsepower Final Tier 4 engine that uses the same FT4 after-treatment perfected in the 700K forestry crawler dozers. The 437E also uses the same hydraulic system that has proven reliable on previous models.

The 437E also boasts improved serviceability. A ground-level oil drain and filter change make hydraulic oil and filter maintenance much faster and safer, allowing operators to spend less time on service and more time being productive. Additionally, an optional electric refill pump simplifies service even further. The hydraulic oil reservoir capacity has been reduced from 80 to 35 gallons, reducing the cost of changing hydraulic oil by 44 per cent.