By George Fullerton
After a decade producing the Landrich harvester, A. Landry Fabrication launched the Landrich 2.0 version late in 2019.
In the past 10 years, the purpose built Landrich tracked harvester has gained a solid reputation for reliability and productivity. The harvester was a vision of Armand Landry, founder of A. Landry Fabrication and a founding principal of ALPA Equipment based in Balmoral, a small village located in northeast New Brunswick.
Over the last decade, A. Landry Fabrication produced 42 machines in their modest manufacturing and assembly shop in Balmoral. The harvesters were marketed through ALPA Equipment in the Maritimes, and Hydromec Inc. in northern Quebec.
Yves-Michel Thibeault is the operations manager and chief engineer for A. Landry Fabrication, and he coordinated the development and testing of the original Landrich, and has also led the development of the 2.0 version.
Asking Thibeault what is new about the 2.0 series of the Landrich harvester, he noted that some of the machine has remained the same. “Basically, the track frame and the booms are the same—but beyond that, just about everything has been changed.”
The 2.0 version sports a new cab, a new Tier 4 Mercedes-Benz engine, new engine cover panels (to cover the Tier 4 hardware), a slightly increased tail swing (due to Tier 4), and a new all inclusive control system (which includes machine tracking control) developed with Ponsse.
“We upgraded and tuned up the crane and tracking valving, and our customers say that the 2.0 is a whole different machine,” said Thibeault.
By March 2020, two machines had been delivered to customers and were working in northern New Brunswick. A third was nearing completion and destined to be the highlight of the ALPA Equipment booth at the Atlantic Heavy Equipment Show in Moncton, though that show was cancelled due to the COVID-19 situation. (Note: The 2021 version of the Atlantic Heavy Equipment Show has been postponed to 2022. It will now take place April 13-14, 2022 at the Moncton Coliseum Complex.)
But, no pun intended, the new machine is getting traction.
“As soon as the first two machines were out working, word about the improvements got around and we immediately had orders for six more machines,” said Thibeault.
Thibeault described the 2.0 Landrich as a simpler design, which incorporates a lot of improvements suggested by past customers.
“By simpler, we mean that we made the design less complex,” he says.
The design improvements mean that maintenance and repairs are less complicated, and provide owners with more uptime and, consequently, greater production.
The Landrich cab was redesigned on the original footprint. The new design features a tilted windshield, which increases operator space and comfort, and requires no wiper. The are three escape hatches, and the design has been ROPS accredited.
Serge Landry, the son of Armand Landry, and now president of ALPA Equipment, shared that the flat window replacing the curved widow of the original Landrich came as result of requests by customers. Additionally, it provides the option to design a feller buncher model of the Landrich. Landry said the new cab design meets all relevant international safety regulations including west coast G603 and G604 when using the OEM add-on package.
The new Landrich is currently produced with the same D6HD-style undercarriage as the original Landrich, but the 2.0 version is designed to accommodate a D7 undercarriage in the future, levelling technology and the ability to handle bigger heads.
The cab also features an improved HVAC system, with the air routed through galleries in the floor, walls and ceiling. Vents in the air galleries direct air to keep windows condensation free, and the operator comfortable. The air galleries are insulated to reduce condensation potential caused by cold winter temperatures on the exterior walls of the cab. A. Landry worked with a Texas-based manufacturer to improve the HVAC system.
The condenser for the HVAC system is installed in front of the engine radiator.
When spec’ing the Tier 4 power plant for the Landrich 2.0, Mercedes-Benz engineers came to the A. Landry facilities to load test the installed engine under a range of atmospheric temperature extremes. Thibeault said the engine was designed and tuned to perform under a full spectrum of environmental conditions that the Landrich is expected to work in.
Serge Landry pointed out that the Mercedes engine in the Landrich 2.0 is designed with the option to add twin turbos, for a horsepower boost to meet design options including D7 undercarriage and different market requirements.
The new Tier 4 engine has five more horsepower than the original Landrich, but is tuned to have more low end torque, which improves engine and overall machine performance.
Outwardly, the Landrich 2.0 sports larger upper body cowlings, per the Tier 4 engine hardware. Thibeault explained that there was a great deal of attention paid to ensuring the cowlings fit in order to limit the ingress of debris.
Thibeault pointed out that the new Landrich has an unsymmetrical appearance, which is amplified when body panels are opened. The engine is oriented at an angle relative to the cab, in an effort to minimize size of the upper body. He also pointed out that the engine is situated so that it allows access to both sides for service.
With the first iteration of the Landrich, A. Landry made an agreement with Ponsse to utilize the Ponsse Ergo harvester technology for upper body functions, and basically tricked the technology to work for a tracked machine. The original series of Landrich relied on Rexroth proprietary technology for tracking functions.
Thibeault explained that when plans advanced for the Landrich 2.0, Ponsse was invited to assist with machine controls, and their engineers and developers collaborated with A. Landry to develop a unique and dedicated complete machine control system which includes tracking functions. Operators who have tested the new Landrich say the result is a very smooth operating machine.
“Operators say the old Landrich was great, and Landrich 2.0 is a whole step better,” commented Thibeault.
The initial introduction and live demo of the Landrich 2.0 was scheduled for the Fall Meeting and Field tour of the Canadian Woodlands Forum, back in 2019.
Thibeault explained that the machine came directly out of the paint shop, to the demo site.
“I had just made final adjustments to pressures, but I had not been able to test them prior to putting it to work. As it turned out, the Landrich 2.0 worked perfect, and the audience of more than 100 people (woodlands staff and contractors) were impressed with the machine.”
Contractors and operators who tried out the first 2.0 model were unanimously impressed with the machine—and word travelled fast, and orders came in quickly. The first two Landrich machines were sold to contractors who had many years’ experience with their original Landrich model.
ALPA Equipment sales rep Jasmin LeBlanc closed the deal with Serge Desrosier, on the first Landrich 2.0. He said there are a number of reasons that some contractors prefer tracked harvesters. He said that sometimes their preference is based on their long established familiarity with tracks—and some contractors find that tracks function better in deep snow conditions. He went on to say some operators find tracks provide greater stability and are able to better handle steep and rough terrain.
Serge Desrosier took delivery of the first Landrich 2.0 and put it to work beside their original Landrich harvester. Desrosier realized high productivity with the original Landrich, and was confident the 2.0 would also be a good investment.
Serge and his late father Paul-Albert, are long-established in forestry—the family has been in the contracting business for 50 years.
Serge Landry recalled a discussion between the late Paul-Albert Desrosier and his father, Armand Landry.
“Paul-Albert was visiting the ALPA headquarters and approached Armand, declaring, ‘It makes no sense that machine (Landrich)’.
“My father thought they must be having problems with the Landrich, and asked Paul-Albert what was wrong.”
Paul-Albert replied: “In all my life, I have never seen a machine like that. It is the best machine we have ever had. And it is built here in New Brunswick, in my backyard. It makes no sense!!”
To help meet what it expects to be good demand for the new harvester, the A. Landry Fabrication plan is looking at expanding their machine shop and assembly shop.
“We plan to commence on an addition to the assembly shop which will give us room to add overhead cranes, to streamline the assembly process,” said Thibeault. “We will also create a separate space for wiring and electronics assembly. The expansion will also allow us to improve our parts storage, since we now have two Landrich models to support.”
Thibeault describes the A. Landry machine shop as ‘old school’, with manually operated machines, all of which are operated by talented and committed machinists and welders. Thibeault explained that A. Landry Fabrication is a family business, committed to providing a high standard of products and services for their customers. He added that the business ethic extends to the employees, who share the commitment to building on the continued success of the Landrich brand.
Serge Landry shared some business strategy for Landrich. “In the short term, our goal is to fill the domestic demand throughout the Maritime provinces, selling Landrich through our ALPA dealerships, and then gradually, expand to the rest of Canada and the world.
“Since the debut of the Landrich, we have had requests from many countries to buy Landrich harvesters. However, our production capacity could not fill the demand. Our plan for the future is to increase our production capacity to meet demand, but it will be done on a step by step basis.”
Miguel and Terry Mallais own and manage Aurele Mallais et Fils Ltee., which was originally founded by their grandfather, Aurele, who built the forest and construction operation into a major business.
Eric Mallais (Miguel’s uncle) has worked 30 years with the company, initially as a truck driver, and for the past seven years he has operated their Landrich harvester. Eric had five weeks’ experience in the Landrich 2.0 when he shared his impression of the new machine.
Eric notes the Landrich 2.0 has a lot more swing power, and boom action is extremely smooth, providing greater control on the harvest head. He commented that the new machine is very stable, which is a bonus for production, as well as minimizing operator fatigue quite a bit.
Eric especially likes the new windshield, declaring it “amazing”. He also said the heating ventilation system worked perfectly, pointing out “the system is strong, pushing a lot of air, which should be good for AC through the summer”.
“And the space in the cab!” added Eric. “There were four men in the cab when the machine was first delivered.”
Eric said that the spacious cab will be perfect for training new operators.
“The seat and controls are perfectly situated. I don’t get tired on the machine and it is really fun to operate.”
Commenting on servicing access, Eric shared another ‘WOW!’
“Everything is easy to access, and easy to clean. The designers did a great job for the operators, making servicing and cleaning easy.”
On the Cover:
Logging contractor Tyler Backer of Pro Link Logging has seen a technological revolution within British Columbia’s forest industry, and says he’s always got an eye open for new harvesting equipment developments and techniques that might enhance Pro Link Logging’s efficiency. Read all about his logging approach—and the equipment he executes that approach with, such as this Hitachi 260 processor —beginning on page 18 of this issue (photo courtesy of Pro Link Logging).
B.C. partnership steps up to the plate in training equipment operators
The City of Quesnel, B.C. and partners are looking to step up to the plate to train logging equipment operators on harvesting methods new to most B.C. loggers.
Virtual convention coming up
The BC Council of Forest Industries’ Annual Convention is going virtual for 2021, and we talk with COFI CEO Susan Yurkovich about the compelling speakers and the important issues in forestry that will be discussed at the convention in April—and what new U.S. President Joe Biden might mean for the industry.
Dealing with changing logging logistics
Logging contractor Tyler Backer is dealing with changing logging logistics in the B.C. Interior these days, such as working in steeper ground—but he has the dedicated people and tough iron to successfully take it all on.
Landrich 2.0 is launched
The Landrich harvester 2.0 version has been launched by New Brunswick’s A. Landry Fabrication, and the new machine features a number of improvements suggested by very loyal customers of the original Landrich harvester.
Enhancing pellet production—and quality—at Pinnacle
Pinnacle Renewable Energy recently completed a $30 million investment package in B.C.’s Cariboo region designed to enhance pellet production efficiency—and product quality.
Big recovery boost for Quebec mill with upgrade
The Bois CFM Inc. sawmill in Sainte-Florence, Quebec recently installed a new optimized primary and secondary line from USNR to meet growing customer demand, that will move its production to the next level.
Included in this edition of The Edge, Canada’s leading publication on research in the forest industry, are stories from the Canadian Wood Fibre Centre (CWFC), FPInnovations and the Faculty of Forestry of University of B.C.
The Last Word
Jim Stirling takes a look ahead for the forest industry, beyond the recent elections, and COVID-19.