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TECH UPDATE - Tracked feller bunchers

The Cat 500 seriesCaterpillar

Multi-functioning, maneuverability, lift capacity and quick saw recovery are key advantages of the Caterpillar track feller buncher.

The Cat 500 series climbs steep slopes while operating the boom, stick and tool functions simultaneously, increasing productivity. Zero and full tail swing models, several with leveling systems, are available. The rugged undercarriage travels through wet lowlands or climbs steep, rocky terrain. Ground clearance is 30" to 35" depending on the model.

Improved hydraulic flow management regulates the distribution of hydraulic oil between functions to increase speed and smoothness. A new hydraulic oil level sensor makes it easy to ensure the tank contains the required amount. Another upgrade improves machine start-up when the engine is cold. The redesigned hood simplifies service access and a new cooling package improves airflow. The cab also has been updated recently to improve operator comfort and visibility.

Komatsu FX-series machinesKomatsu

The manufacturing of Valmet track bunchers moved to Komatsu's Chattanooga, Tennessee facility in late-2009 bringing Komatsu's world class engineering, quality control and manufacturing processes into the FX-series machines.

Ranging from 220 to 330 hp, the non-leveling 415FX, 430FX and leveling 430FXL, 445FXL and 450FXL are available in seven hydraulic configurations, two boom and three arm options to easily adapt these machines for processing, harvesting, or felling applications.

All models have Komatsu-designed undercarriages re-engineered for woods applications, Komatsu components and large Komatsu-designed final drives, heavy duty recoil springs, idlers and full length track support skis. A larger leveling system used on the 450FXL has significantly larger components for severe duty applications. All Valmet bunchers have updated boom and arm designs.

Temperature controlled auto-reversing fans improve engine and hydraulic cooling performance, reduce maintenance and improve fuel economy.

Tigercat 845CTigercat

Tigercat has an extensive feller buncher offering for every conceivable Canadian bunching application.

The 845C is well suited to most high cycle boreal applications across the country with tri-track undercarriage options for extremely rocky conditions.

For tougher terrain and larger timber, the FH400-based 870C provides the extra track power, stability, boom reach and lift required to maintain the highest levels of production.

For steep slope and western coastal applications, Tigercat offers both the zero tail swing LX830C with fast, efficient closed loop track drives, and the full-size L870C. Both machines are equipped with the new and improved R7150L-2 (FH400) leveling undercarriage and are extremely stable and capable in steep slope and large timber applications.

An important advantage common and unique to Tigercat feller bunchers is ER boom technology. ER provides markedly increased production especially in high cycle applications compared with conventional boom systems.

Tigercat feller bunchers are well known for extremely long service life, high machine availability rates, thoughtful component arrangement and service access, the clear operator sightlines and high capacity variable flow cooling.

John Deere 900 K-series tracked feller buncherJohn Deere

The John Deere 900 K-series tracked feller bunchers pack plenty of power: the 953K and the 959K come standard with an industry-first 330 hp engine, while the 903K and 909K have dual power options at 300 hp and 330 hp, respectively.

The 900 machines feature a larger displacement Tier III
PowerTech Plus 9.0L engine, with the lowest daily fuel cost in the industry, says John Deere, and a 295-gallon fuel tank.

The 900 K-series feller bunchers have noticeably superior hydraulic multi-functioning, including swing torque, boom performance and tracking, and a power management system that makes sure no power is wasted.

These machines are designed with productivity boosting features: a quick-recovery saw, best-in-class felling head accumulation that picks up more trees at once and high-tractive effort-to-weight ratio with low ground pressure for smooth operation.

The K-Series' best-in-class leveling system keeps the upper frame level, even when the tracks are climbing or tilting on tough slopes.

TimberPro D6 and D7 size, zero swing feller buncherTimberPro

TimberPro is now building a D6 and D7 size, zero swing feller buncher with either leveling or non-leveling. The patented leveling system gives 28 degrees and 7 degrees of leveling to the front and back and 24 degrees to both sides. This leveling system is very unique in that it gives maximum degrees of leveling, leaves good access for maintenance, is very robust and because it is very simple and is reasonably priced, according to the company.

The standard engine is a 300 hp Cummins with gull wing access to all the major service points for both the engine and hydraulics. The standard boom reach is 23.5' from centre of rotation to end of boom with good extended lift power. The weight of a standard TL735 is less than 60,000 lbs not including attachments for a very quick and manoeuvrable machine.

Tanguay 900 and 700 seriesTanguay

Tanguay machinery, a division of Quadco Equipment Inc., manufactures three models of feller bunchers.

The 900 and 700 series are large tail swing machines designed for long boom reaches and heavy payload applications. The compact 300 series has a limited tail swing with a robust carbody, track frames and reliable and proven dual swing motor gear boxes.

Tanguay's bunchers are built without compromise with high tensile steel and oversized cooling. Optional tropical cooling is also available for high production felling in the warmest environments. An optional two cylinders, four side tilt mechanism provides up to 55 per cent forward tilt for steep slope logging. The company manufactures quality engineered custom feller bunchers with feller buncher or dangle harvester booms up to an 11.5 metre reach.


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Logging and Sawmilling Journal October/November 2010October/November 2010

On the Cover:

Perhaps reinforcing evidence that the forest industry is now on the rebound, one of Canada's largest logging contractors--Alberta's Pineridge Logging--has recently completed a major equipment purchase. The company, which has several logging operations throughout north central Alberta, has just purchased 12 new pieces of equipment after going nearly three years without purchasing a single piece of iron. Four of those new pieces of equipment are John Deere's new 953K feller bunchers, and the company has two more on order from Deere dealer, Brandt Tractor. (Cover photo by Tony Kryzanowski)


Recent announcements about sawmill capital investments illustrate that the Canadian forest industry is working hard, and smart, to get into recovery mode--and meet the need for lumber in fast-growing markets, such as China.

New B.C. coast logging player

Tranquil Timber Ltd. may be fairly new to coastal logging, but its partners have many years of solid experience behind them--and plenty of good logging iron to back them up.

Logging into a new market

Alberta's Buchanan Lumber has moved into utilizing residual wood in a big way, producing firelogs made from wood shavings, and selling the logs everywhere from Quebec to Texas.

Major investment in new iron

Alberta's Pineridge Logging has invested in the future of the forest industry--to the point of buying 12 new pieces of logging equipment, including six of the new John Deere 953K feller bunchers.

Combining cutting and cattle

The Leussink family in Alberta are doing selective harvesting on their woodlot, and keeping their sawmill plenty busy just through word-of-mouth--and to top it off, managing 80 head of cattle.

Tech Update -- Feller Bunchers

Logging and Sawmilling Journal has the latest equipment information on feller bunchers in this issue's Tech Update.

Supplier Newsline

The Last Word

Jim Stirling says it's time to be practical--not politically correct --about carbon retention issues for the forest industry