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TransGesco 206 Delivers a Versatile Performance

The versatility of the TransGesco 206 forwarder is smoothing the transition to year-round logging for Nova Scotia logging contractor Ron Langille.

By Tony Kryzanowski
Copyright 1998. Contact publisher for permission to use.

If forwarders were boxers, the TransGesco 206 shortwood forwarder would compete in the middle-weight division. What it may lack in size, compared to the TransGesco 80, it makes up for in versatility.

Nova Scotia's largest logging contractor, Ron Langille recently purchased a six-wheel, TG-206 at the request of his mill client, Kimberly Clark. The mill felt that the payload, power and versatility provided by the TG-206 was a good fit, particularly for transporting larger volumes of smaller chip material to Langille's Peterson Pacific DDC 5000 chipper. Plus, its versatility matched the variety within Langille's operation, where he harvests long and short wood, and runs a chipper.

Langille works primarily in eastern Nova Scotia, harvesting wood in a 100-km radius from the Kimberly Clark mill, located in New Glasgow. His company, E and R Langille Contracting Ltd., operates 12 pieces of equipment, harvesting about 30 per cent cut-to-length, and 70 per cent tree-length. His equipment fleet includes a TG-80 working as a clambunk skidder, a John Deere 648G grapple skidder, three John Deere feller bunchers with Quadco, Gilbert-Tech and Harricana heads, two Timberjack 230 forwarders, and a John Deere 790 with a Target processing head.

Their cutblock terrain is steep and hilly, with their primarily spruce and fir wood source measuring 8" diameter on average. Langllle started his career as a chainsaw operator, and eventually worked his way to where he now runs a business with 33 employees. The business took off in 1996, when he upgraded his equipment and increased his production by 50 per cent. At one time, he was a total cut-to-length contractor, but has made a huge switch to tree-length at the request of the mill. The company has operated its TG-206 since last December, and has accumulated over 1,200 hours on it.

"We are using it here to haul tree-length logs up to 30 feet," says Langille, "and the smaller chipper wood. The TG-80 is hauling all the longer, bigger wood." Operations supervisor Phil Redden says a philosophical change at the mill inspired their purchase of the TG-206; they felt its payload capacity of 25 tons would fit the bill.

"There was a bit of a change at the mill from the point of view that they wanted to see more wood brought out as a full tree," says Redden. "With the equipment that we had, we weren't able to get as much of the wood out to the roadside under that system. The clambunk is governed by the length of trees, and if you have shorter, smaller wood, you can't get the size of payload into the clam as in the back of a forwarder."

Langille says his smaller forwarders simply were not delivering the payload to roadside that the mill required.

Redden adds that the TG-206's versatility has also proven to be a major plus."You can be in one area hauling chips out, and then you could switch it over to haul short logs, and then you can go in and haul long-length hardwood, just depending on the day shift and night shift, and what your needs are."

In addition to its primary use of hauling wood fibre, the new forwarder has helped in other parts of their operation, such as transporting large bridge material for difficult stream crossings.

"Before, you'd have difficulty getting material to that location," says Redden. "So using it onsite has its advantages."

From a production standpoint, it has met and exceeded expectations."It's good so far," Langille says. "It has done everything and maybe a little more than we expected in production. It is hauling more wood than we thought - probably five tons more wood per hour."

It would seem, he says, that the engine on the TG-206 is a bit underpowered for their needs - it has a 260-hp Cummins engine. The engine burns about 33 litres of fuel per hour, which is comparable to the TG-80, which has a 325-hp engine.

Langille says besides similar reliable performance to the older TG-80, the TG-206 provides excellent flotation because of its wider tracks, a smooth ride over a terrain rife with stumps, and less ground disturbance.

"The cab is so roomy for the operator," he says. "It also has a nice loader on it. The hydraulics are really smooth to operate. And the visibility-you can see so well, because you're up higher." The TG-206 knuckle-boom loader has a capacity of 2,495 kg at 6.1 m (5,500 lbs. at 20'), and a maximum reach of 7.9 m (26') TransGesco offers a choice of continuous-rotation grapples to match specific contractor needs.

E and R Langille Contracting services their own equipment, and Langille says the TG-206 is much easier to service than his other forwarders. The cab flips up, he says, and company maintenance personnel can stand right where they need to in order to reach important components. They order parts through TransGesco's manufacturing plant in Quebec, which usually takes 24 hours.

TransGesco has earned a reputation for manufacturing durable and powerful equipment for North American conditions, yet with a delicate footprint to meet more stringent environmental regulations. The TG-206 weighs in at approximately 26,000 kg (55,000 lbs.), and comes equipped with their 100 per-cent hydrostatic drive system, in which each wheel is equipped with a wheel motor to eliminate all gear problems related to mechanical drive systems. TransGesco says the unit's hydrostatic brakes on each wheel provide excellent braking ability in adverse conditions.

At an overall width of 3.78 m (12.4'), it delivers stability on steep slopes and low ground pressure on soft and sensitive ground. They rate it at 8-12 PSI with the 48" tracks on the back tandem with a full 25-ton payload. Owners have the option of 28", 36", 42", or 48" tracks.

As for its ability to perform in tough North American conditions, the TG-206 is productive in deep snow and tough ground with its 76-cm (30") ground clearance and 120,000-lb. drawbar pull. The frame is constructed from 100 per-cent high-tensile steel. It also comes with an optional dozer blade.

The timing of the addition to Langille's fleet of the TG-206, and its ability to work in soft ground conditions are important, as this is the first year his company will operate year-round. The task of maintaining production levels in soft ground conditions is always a challenge and equipment selection is critical. Based on Ron Langille's experience, the TransGesco 206 will perform for the upcoming main event of year-round logging in tough, East Coast conditions.

TransGesco 206

The TransGesco 206 has a knuckle-boom loader with a capacity of 5,500 lbs. at 20' and a maximum reach of 26'.

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