Tech Review - Harvester and Processor HeadsAFM-forest


AFM-Forest Ltd is a Finnish company manufacturing high-quality single-grip harvester, processor, combi, and energy wood heads for demanding forest operations. Years of experience in the forest-machines market, combined with the high competence of their personnel, ensure the successful performance of AFM harvesting heads worldwide.

AFM harvesting heads have been developed in strong cooperation with both customers and base machine manufacturers. They range from the versatile 1,433-lb. AMF 35, with a 24-26” saw bar and a felling diameter of 15’7” to the AFM 1000 Stroke Harvester Head, which is designed for felling, delimbing, and cross cutting operations. The AFM 1000 can be programmed for various preselected lengths, and any length can be chosen at any time. As optional equipment, the diameter of the log can also be measured. The head has an automatic stroke, and the tree can be delimbed with a one-button function. The stroke will stop at the preselected length for the log to be cut. The AFM 1000 Stroke head performs best on a 12-ton excavator.

AFM harvester heads are manufactured by a professional work force using modern technologies. AFM-Forest Ltd uses only high-quality Scandinavian steel and well-tested components in the manufacturing process. The continuous development of the products and operations is a core part of their business. The AFM-Forest Ltd quality system has been built in accordance with the highest ISO quality standards. The standards cover everything from product design and development to after-sales support.


The Keto 873 processor, weighing in at 7,000 lbs. was launched earlier this year, and can be installed on 33-ton and over tracked base machines. It is designed for processing larger trees in the demanding conditions of North America.

One of the most interesting new functions of the Keto 873 is the Rotobec rotator, which spins 360 degrees and beyond. Functions of the Parker valve system are proportional and operate only on demand, which are key factors in optimizing the fuel consumption of the base machine and running the system at the lowest possible temperature.

The 500cc Danfoss track feed motors produce nearly 4kN of the true net pulling power, making sure that even the toughest trees can be pulled and delimbed quickly and efficiently.

Like any Keto head, the length measuring is accomplished by the two feeding tracks.

A larger front knife cylinder, together with the bottom arm cylinder, provide the needed holding power when pulling big trees from the deck. The geometries of the three moving and one fixed knives and arms have been optimized to handle a full range of diameters.


The Komatsu 398 harvesting and processing head is built for selective harvesting and clear-cutting, or processing large-diameter timber at the landing. This heavy-duty head is designed for installation on track carriers 27 metric tons or larger and is available factory-installed on a Komatsu PC290LL-11 Log Loader. Its rugged and robust design allows it to handle timber averaging up to 24” in diameter. The powerful “carry style” feed system features four motors (2 x 1048 cc and 2 x 630 cc) and three driven rollers that provide a firm 3-point grip while reducing friction for high feed power. A traction control system senses and controls roller spin for improved log quality. The rugged delimbing system includes one floating top knife, two programmable proportional pressure upper knives and a fixed bottom knife that delivers fast and effective delimbing results. An optional third programmable proportional pressure bottom knife is available.

Cutting is handled by a well-protected 31-inch capacity, 0.75-inch pitch bottom saw for high performance cutting, and an 18-inch capacity, 0.404-inch pitch integral top saw for high processing efficiency. A patented length-measuring system with constant measuring wheel contact and a find-end photocell sensor system provide exceptional measuring accuracy. Left and right high-resolution diameter encoders provide precise diameter measuring. Komatsu’s advanced MaxiXplorer smart control system with intuitive graphical interface and large color screen manages all aspects of head control and performance. All maintenance and service points are readily accessible for ease of service.

Log MaxLog Max

For over 30 years, Log Max has engineered reliable and productive harvesting and processing heads giving their customers a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Log Max products can be installed on smaller equipment allowing for decreased total package price and overall fuel savings without compromising performance or uptime. There are many applications in the forestry market from first commercial thinning to final harvesting and processing.

Log Max offers a wide range of products that fit these needs from the small 928A all the way up to the 12000XT. The Log Max 928A is a small and light head specifically designed for thinning. The compact format makes it the obvious choice for small-sized wheel and track-based harvesters in the 7 to 15-ton range. It features a hydraulically driven saw with pressure controlled sawing force and flow controlled chain speed. The high performance saw hydraulics provide full flow to the bottom saw resulting in fast cutting. This saw unit is able to fell trees up to 16.5 inches.

The Log Max 12000XT is the company’s most rugged head and is available in harvester or processor configurations. With over 5 tons of delimbing force, this head is able to handle the most severe wood with ease. Large rear cover with hydraulic assist opens for full service access. High production ¾” pitch bottom saw cuts up to 40” with ease. Special Log Max designed knives with compound curves and replaceable cutting edges produce clean delimbed wood at a low operating cost.


The Pierce Grapple Processor is designed to optimally grapple and process every bit as effectively as traditional processors. It dangles like a grapple, with 360-degree continuous rotation, 53” arm opening, and full measuring and processing, turning the work of the processor and loader into one dual purpose machine — and a perfect balance under a yarder.

The GP is a revolutionary way for loggers to gain utility and productivity from one single machine, while saving valuable time, labor, maintenance, fuel, and transportation costs, not to mention radically improved equipment utilization. The patented GP is the only one of its kind that shovels, sorts, and loads like a grapple and delimbs, measures, and cuts like a processor — all without compromise.

Feeding allows you to reposition long logs without releasing or rehandling. And long logs won’t crisscross when handling multiple stems with the innovative arm design, which makes handling bundles of short wood a breeze.

The GP represents the best of the company’s pioneering spirit, innovative engineering, and state-of-the-art technology. Whether your logging operation is large or small, the Pierce GP is a smart way to do more with less.


The PONSSE H10 is a heavy-duty harvester head for processing hardwood and softwood in difficult conditions. It can also be used for felling. Strong grip, powerful feeding, and fast sawing are features packed in a robust and reliable package that can be installed onto various tracked carriers. The strong frame and tilt arm provide the durability needed in tough operations. The geometry of the feed rollers and delimbing arms support larger stems centered in the head. This allows using lower pressure on knives, improving fuel economy, and feeding speed as well as measuring accuracy. Optimal tilt pivot geometry minimizes the upward torque of the head, providing smoother feeding and a better grip of the tree. 

The PONSSE OptiControl system is designed specifically for Ponsse harvester heads. All adjustments and settings work perfectly together with the head, offering easy but versatile functions to perfectly fit the base machine and work requirements. Ponsse systems offer mobile follow-up of production and working with either manual or automatic data transfer.

The PONSSE H10 is also available with a top saw for processing curvy trees with multiple branches and maximizing raw material use. Processing delimbing knives are longer than standard knives for picking up logs more easily from a pile.

H10 is easy to install on various brands of carriers over 25 tons.


Quadco offers a variety of harvesting processing heads, including the Ultimate 5660, which is basically the same as the original 5600, but with a different saw base imported from our 6000 model. The saw has a 24” cutting capacity and develops 60 percent more power.

Thanks to its new High Speed Hydraulics and Quad Tooth, the saw’s fast cutting speed provides high production and quality cuts. The circular saw is more forgiving than bar and chain and is practically trouble-free. Operating benefits also include the capability of cleaning unwanted underbrush to enhance visibility resulting in high production, long tooth life, and low stumps.

In comparison to other systems, the great durability of the teeth, low maintenance time required, and superior availability are the main factors that will reduce the after-investment costs. In normal conditions, maintenance is limited to changing the seven saw bearings annually or every 2000 hours.


The SATCO 3 Series Large Capacity Harvesting & Processing Heads have been designed around the robust and successful SATCO 630 Felling Grapple.

The 3L2 is a fall and trim version with measuring. It has been designed to enable contractors to replace static delimbers, by utilizing one machine to both fall and delimb stems with the option to measure. This reduces machinery requirements and operating costs.

Measuring systems on the SATCO 3L2, 3L2SC, and 3L2T run a large 12” diameter length measuring wheel, the larger the wheel the better it runs over the stem. There are three levels of measuring control options available: SATCO Plus 1, which is designed and supported in house; the DASA5 PRIO; and the DASA5 Optimising.

The SATCO 3 Series large capacity processing head’s 360-degree continuous rotation allows felling in any possible direction in relation to the base machine.

A unique “hose-through-center” connection to the base machine allows the hoses to travel through the centerline of the attaching pins. This protects the hoses from damage and prevents over–bending of the hoses, which causes premature failure.

The SATCO 3 Series saw unit is supported by a large 12”-diameter slew bearing, and the saw unit uses a 43” bar with ¾” chain with SATCO auto chain tensioning. 

The units weigh from 7,893 lbs. to 9,020 lbs. and can be pinned to any base machine in the range of approximately 26–44 ton.

SP MachinerySP Machinery

SP Machinery has developed a whole new harvesting unit, SP 661 LF. The unit has optimal characteristics for final harvesting, focusing on productivity, utilization rate, and timber value. 

The SP 661 LF is a smooth, powerful, and efficient unit designed for SP Machine’s Low Friction principle for minimal friction and maximum production. The unit is an excellent choice for installations on wheeled base machines as well as on excavators and tracked forestry machines. 

The unit is designed to provide the highest quality and production in all types of final felling. In coarse finishing, feed wheels and SP Machine’s patented LogHold system provide the highest capacity and production. In the finishing touches, the smooth construction is right and equipped with multi-tree handling. Thanks to an extremely well-protected and strong construction, SP 661 LF also ensures the minimum possible downtime and maximum utilization rate.


Southstar Equipment, a Canadian company based in Kamloops B.C., offers a full line of 4-roller processors with the QS series — QS500, QS600 and QS650. They also offer a line of grapple processors — the 505, 605 and 635.

The QS series, with their industry leading multi-stemming capabilities, is changing the game in the processing world. This head gives the contractor the best of both worlds. First, when processing in small diameter tree stands, contractors can see up to a 70 percent increase in production without affecting length quality, and second, when put into the large diameter tree stands, the robust design with its high feed speeds can handle the toughest processing environments.

Southstar, by partnering with DASA Control systems, provides one of the most advanced control and measuring systems around while still being very operator friendly, with detailed production reports to GPS tagging of wood that can be emailed directly to your home computer from the machine.

Features unique to Southstar include hydraulic traction control for feeding large diameter trees, side stepping (allowing operator to independently feed one tree while holding the other when multi-stemming), hose through design (no exposed or hanging hoses from stick to head, extending the life of expensive hoses and less chance of snagging), and a wide frame design for multi-stemming capabilities while giving added strength to the head.

Southstar also features an extreme duty ¾ main saw with saw limiting option and a two-year structural warranty.


Tigercat harvesting heads are built to match the high performance capabilities of Tigercat track carriers and are well suited to a variety of jobs including at-the-stump harvesting, roadside processing, and debarking.

The 570 is a powerful two-wheel drive harvesting head best suited to in-stand harvesting with an optimal range of 150-510 mm in diameter. With optional hydraulically timed processor knives, the 570 can also be used for roadside processing.

The 575 is a heavy duty three-wheel drive harvesting head also best suited to in-stand harvesting in the 175-560 mm diameter range. It is very effective in tough applications like large limbed hardwood and crooked trees. With optional mechanically timed processor knives for easier picking, the 575 is also an excellent roadside processing head.

The 575 features Tigercat’s unique three-two drive system. When processing a tree, the head starts in three-wheel drive, maximizing feed force for faster acceleration and quickly powering through bigger trees. As the load drops, it automatically shifts to two-wheel drive, improving efficiency and increasing feed speed up to 30 percent.

Tigercat’s D5 control system comes standard with all Tigercat harvesting heads. The system allows the operator to monitor lengths, diameters, and species in real time to ensure maximum productivity, with a simple and intuitive Tigercat-developed user interface.


Extensively developed and proven in global cut-to-length or full tree applications, Waratah’s TimberRite H-16 is the company’s latest generation control system. It integrates more advanced application configuration capabilities with productive control of the Waratah harvesting or processing head.

TimberRite H-16 brings technology to the jobsite with capabilities for everything from email, and work and repair statistics to remote display access and navigation. The latest StanForD file structures are supported, ensuring that data can interchange with virtually any professional system in the forestry business. Additionally, this system makes diagnostic tests on inputs, outputs or sensors much simpler, and it can provide remote access via telematics.

TimberRite H-16 has the capability to optimize operational performance and productivity, while effectively linking the office to the forest. Configurable as either a pre-selection priority or the optional value-based optimization system, TimberRite H-16 can offer solutions to meet any market needs.

Woodsman ProWoodsman Pro

Woodsman Pro offers the WOODSMAN PRO 850 and 750. The 850 processing head weighs 5.2 tons and is suitable for 35+ ton base machines. It can be paired with the company’s OptiPlus or LOGGIC control system for superior performance and ease of operator use.

The 750 weighs approximately 4 tons and can be attached to a 27 to 35-ton base machine. It’s capable of delimbing stems up to 2’3” in diameter and has a maximum main saw cut of 2’8” in diameter.

This processing head features two sets of delimb arms (upper and lower) that are individually controlled for superior delimb knife coverage and improved stem value recovery. Replaceable delimb knife inserts are available for the delimb arms and the top-mounted floating delimb knife. The 750 can also be paired with the OptiPlus or LOGGIC control system.

TimberWest November/December 2013
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