By Diane Mettler
Watching the self-propelled Albach Diamant 2000 wood chipper was like watching a Swiss Army knife in action — if the Swiss Army knife had a 33-foot crane with 42-inch wheels, and could travel 50 miles per hour on the highway.
This past August, individuals got to see firsthand what the Albach Diamant 2000 was all about at a demonstration held in Monroe, Washington.
Jimmy Martineau from Distinctive Tree Care, who has had over 1,000 hours operating the machine, came out from Connecticut to show off the chipper’s many features.
“We do a lot of state work and roadside clearing [in Connecticut],” said Martineau. “We use a Sennebogen to cut. And then the Albach [Diamant 2000] follows it and chips. It’s fast and efficient, and safe. You only have three people on a job site instead of probably ten.”
Martineau said it took a little time to get acquainted with the machine, but that was because there is nothing else like it. “So you can’t really practice on other things.” Now that he’s acquainted, he wouldn’t have anything else.
What makes this machine stand out is the efficiency, which translates to cost savings and speed. This efficiency is a result of the chipper’s ability to do the tasks of multiple machines.
“You can drive it [on the highway],” says Martineau. “It goes 50 miles an hour, so you don’t have to trailer it. So, if you’re local, you don’t have to pay anybody to move it. It’s self-feeding, so you don’t have to have a guy running the chipper controls and also an excavator feeding the chipper. It’s cost-effective, in my eyes, because of the amount of fuel. You’re paying one person’s wages and their fuel, rather than two people and double the fuel.”
Martineau adds, “You can also set it up with different screens to make certain size chips. Because if you’re selling them for biomass, they want certain chips, and they got to be perfect.”
Helmut Seelmann, sales representative for the company added, “For those who need different specs, you can adjust the length of cut. I don’t know of any other chipper that can actually adjust the length of cut on the drum itself.”
Martineau jumped in the machine and demonstrated the mind-boggling setup and fold-up speed. Within less than a minute, the stabilizing legs were out, and the conveyor and crane were extended. In less than five minutes, the grapple was picking up material and feeding it into the machine.
What contributes to the machine’s “Swiss army knife” feel is the built-in wood splitter. During the demonstration, when logs were too big to feed into the Diamant 2000, a wood splitter descended. Within seconds, the logs were broken into workable pieces and chipping continued.
As for the cab, it is nice, roomy, and comfortable, with a heated floor, multiple monitors, engine and driveline diagnostics, good visibility . . . and even a fridge and microwave. Martineau says he also likes the little extra built-in blower that helps him keep the floor of the cab clean.
Finding Its Place in the Industry
The chipper is currently in use in 33 countries, and the Diamant 2000 has started selling in California and Oregon. The company is looking forward to this new technology finding a home in the Pacific Northwest.
Chad Davison, owner of Pacific Tree Management based out of Monroe, Washington, was also in attendance. He recently had the chance to use the machine on the Redmond campus and was excited about the results. He says he and his crew had scheduled five days to have 83 trees topped, cut, piled, chipped, and hauled. With the Diamant 2000, he had it done in five hours.
Seelmann says the factory is just as unique as the machine. “We build about 86 percent of machines in-house. The only things not built in-house are the transmission, the Volvo 450 HP engine (758 HP available), hydraulics, glass, and crane.” The company’s goal is to have quality machines that can be operational for decades.
“It’s a high-capacity chipper capable of doing up to 1,000 [metric] tons in a day shift,” he says, adding that there isn’t another machine out there like it. Loggers can drive the chipper into the logging site, feed in material, blow it into a truck, and then drive the chipper away.
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