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Tech Update - Swing-to-Tree Feller Bunchers

By Diane Mettler

Caterpillar’s 500 series track feller bunchers (TFB) with ACERT engine technology offer Cat quality, reliability and industry leading lift capacity. Many machine and functional enhancements have been added to the 500 series, including improved multi-functioning hydraulic capability. Meeting Tier II emission regulations, the Cat 500 track feller buncher machines have increased fuel efficiency by five per cent compared to their predecessor models.                                   

Whether the work required is plantation thinning, select cutting or clearcutting of large diameter timber, Cat bunchers utilize proven components for the most rugged forestry applications. Four zero-tail swing (ZTS) models, 511/521/522/532, and three full-tail swing (FTS) models, 541/551/552, are available with standard felling, harvesting or long felling (FTS only) linkage fronts. In addition, the 522/532/552 models are said to have the most robust durable leveling system in the industry, which provides stability and productivity, even on the steepest slopes, according to the company.                                   

For the highest performance, Caterpillar track feller bunchers can be matched with a new enhanced series Cat HF felling head. Saw head models come with a standard 40-degree partial lateral tilt (PLT) or with an optional 220-degree full lateral tilt (FLT). Cutting capacities range from 20” to 24” for the ZTS track feller bunchers, and 22” to 24” for FTS models. The smaller HF181 felling head (20” cut capacity) is available as an option on the FTS machines when a long reach feller buncher linkage is selected.                                   

John Deere
Loggers can take their pick from the John Deere line-up. The new 700J-Series track feller bunchers (753J and 759J) deliver better overall performance than ever before with a redesigned hydraulic system, improved multi-functioning and a best-in-class cutting swath, says the company.                                   

Key among the improvements is the hydraulic system, with an increased hydraulic flow of 26 per cent for better productivity. The system is also able to prioritize so that each hydraulic function is capable of full torque or effort all the time, resulting in a significant boost in power.                                   

In 2006, the company introduced the 909J and 959J track feller bunchers that provided a new level of performance with their four-way leveling system and increased operator control. Leveling is possible up to 26 degrees forward, 7 degrees rearward and 14 degrees from side-to-side. Both models feature a total machine control system that enables operators to set the speed and acceleration of the tilt to match the application, terrain and capabilities, while providing constant position feedback.                                   

In addition, John Deere offers the 853J, 903J and 953J tracked feller bunchers, which feature an impressive 294-hp engine. The highlight of the 6081H diesel engine is the power bulge that automatically accesses extra power for enhanced multi-functioning, faster cycle times and improved saw speed recovery.                                                     

Matched to the 853J and 903J is the outstanding highaccumulation FS22B and FR22B felling heads, while the 953J comes standard with the larger FR24B. The heads give logger-specified performance, durability and serviceability, with patented features that deliver extraordinary tree handling, according to Deere.   

Madill Equipment
Madill Equipment’s line includes the recently designed 1200 and updated 2200C models. Both are available with heavyduty FH 300 (D6) and FH 400 (D7) flat undercarriages and FH 400 (D7) leveling undercarriages. These units can be equipped with Madill’s 22.7” cut capacity MTT or 24.7” cut capacity MHS 360 degree rotation high speed disc felling heads. Various configurations range from 59,000 lbs to 80,000 lbs, including felling head, and are suited to a wide variety of harvesting applications.                                   

Madill’s deck layout isolates the engine, hydraulics and electrical components into three separate areas, creating easy service access. Power is supplied by a 285 hp Isuzu 6HK in the 1200 and by a 305 hp Cummins QSL in the 2200C. Both engines are Tier III emission certified.                                   

The main hydraulic pumps are directly driven high-pressure piston pumps featuring load sensing and hp regulation to increase efficiency. Load sensing valves have independent speed and pressure control to optimize individual function speeds. The hydraulically driven cooling fan features temperature regulated speed control and a venturi shroud to improve efficiency. The cabs come with a wide variety of amenities, and their design—plus large scratch resistant polycarbonate windows— provide excellent visibility.                                   

Heavy-duty boom sets provide a wide working range. An elevated boom foot provides exceptional visibility to the right side while improving cutting efficiency. The 1200 and 2200C are also available in harvester configurations with custom boom sets and hydraulic controls optimized for harvesting and processing applications.

The Prentice zero and full tail swing track feller bunchers are designed for tough harvesting conditions and feature a rugged undercarriage with 30”-35” clearance. They are built with the most robust track links available for track feller bunchers and a high strength, welded track frame made to minimize flexing. The Cummins QSC and QSL Tier III engines provide a power boost in the lower rpm ranges for hydraulic power stability. The IQAN control system integrates the hydraulics with the engine for efficient power management. In the tilting models, a threecylinder mechanism allows simultaneous 20 degrees forward and 11degrees side-to-side tilting. Gull wing doors—activated from inside the cab—open for easy daily service and maintenance of the engine and hydraulic system.                                   

The zero tail swing machines—non-tilting 2290 and 2390, and tilting 2391 and 2491—lift 17,000 lbs at 20’. Swing torque is 61,000 ft/lb with tractive effort of up to 80,482 lbs. The 2590, a full tail swing machine, has a felling range of 12’ to 28’1” and lifts 20,000 lbs at full reach. Swing torque is 72,000 ft/lb with up to 75,500 lbs of tractive effort.

Tigercat has brought back an old favourite, the highly acclaimed 845 mid-sized feller buncher that was produced from 1995 to 2002. Completely redesigned, the new 845C is hardly recognizable, compared with its predecessor.                                   

The clamshell style retracting roof enclosure provides excellent access to the engine house. A swing-out door on the right side of the machine allows the operator to easily access daily engine service points. The hydraulic pumps are separated from the engine enclosure and easily accessed at working height from ground level. It has 27” ground clearance, a tail swing (over the side) of 40” and weighs 56,210 lbs without the head. The ER boom system is highly productive in small stem accumulating applications, where multiple boom cycles are required. It has a maximum cutting radius of 26.4” and a bare pin lift capacity of 11,000 lbs.                                   

Equipped with an efficient Mercedes 906 Tier III engine, the 845C feller buncher has the power and stability for larger timber and tough final felling.                                   

The operator’s station is large and quiet with excellent visibility. The full-length front window serves as the primary entry/exit. It also comes with optional HID lighting—real visibility out the right-side cab window. Options include power-link, various counter weights, high rotation wrists (110 and 340 degrees) and a bolt-on toolbox.

The TimberPro TB 830 (eight-wheel) and TB 630 (six-wheel) are wheeled machines designed for large cutting or harvesting attachments, such as the Log Max 9000, the Risley Rolly II and Quadco disc saw.                                   

The TimberPro wheeled harvester and feller buncher machines have demonstrated they can increase production, especially when operating in rough terrain or in scattered timber. The TimberPro line of machines comes standard with 360- degree continuous rotation, which enables the operator to always face his task. This feature also gives the operator the ability to harvest timber 360-degrees around the machine. The gull wing design of the engine compartment cover completely shields the engine from hydraulics in order to help prevent fires, and the engine exhaust is insulated for further fire protection and to reduce noise.                                   

The TimberPro TB 830 and TB 630 come standard with a Cummins 250 hp electronic engine while a Cummins 300 hp electronic engine is available as an option. Other standard features include auto-reversing hydraulic-controlled radiator fan, hydrostatic two-speed transmission, mechanical locking differentials, and more. Options include leveling front frame, 6’ squirt boom for added reach, quick-change stick boom adapter, feller-buncher booms, among others.

Valmet’s 475FXL is among the leaders in big tail swing fellers, says the company. With new Komatsu track and a beefy new leveling system, the 475 has plenty of structure. It features 9” pitch chain, with 16’9” track length and heavier dozer-weight shoes. The 475FXL’s new car body is clearly an “industry best” in stability and service life, says the company. The Valmet 475 also has power to perform. With 330 hp peak, Tier III Cummins power and hydraulics to match, Valmet continues to be a leader in multi-functioning power. The 475FXL will take operators quickly uphill and bring them back down safely.                                   

Valmet’s independent closed loop track hydraulics deliver awesome climbing power, says the company, with simultaneous rotation, reaching, and head function. New upper reinforcements match to a double-row swing bearing for added reliability.                                   

Its unique setback boom design means operators can work closer to the tracks than other brands. It also provides added stability, which translates into more production. Clamshell service access makes maintenance a snap.                                   

The company advises loggers to watch for more product news in 2008 as Komatsu Forest continues product development.