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TimberWest January/February 2011

January/February TimberWest

Adapting to Work
Milner Brothers Logging Inc. Alter
Operations to Make It Work

Busy Looking Ahead
B&G Logging keeps crews going by booking years in advance

Woody Biomass Column
Breaking the Log Jam

One of Tomorrow’s Solutions

Tech Review
Tracked Feller Bunchers

Guest Columnist
East Meets West Outlook for the Timber Industry in the Pacific Northwest


In The News

New Products

Machinery Row



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Tech Review -tracked feller bunchers

Cat® track feller buncherCaterpillar

Multi-functioning, maneuverability, lift and swing capacity and quick saw recovery are key advantages of the Cat® track feller buncher. The Cat 500 Series bunchers travel and swing 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. IQAN software updates improve performance, including machine start-up when the engine is cold. The redesigned hood simplifies service access and a new cooling package improves airflow.

Visibility is enhanced with the removal of the crossbars in the front window and a new, larger skylight. Other cab improvements include repositioning the outside door handle to the lower corner so the door is easily opened when entering the cab. The zero tail swing models feature new linkage components to extend service life, including high strength material, larger box sections, thicker plating and stiffeners, and reinforcement in key high stress areas of the boom and stick. New fuel and hydraulic tanks feature double thickness on the internal baffle plates, continuous internal weld on supports and improved mounting plates and weld process. All Cat track feller bunchers are now available with a choice of either conventional or star carrier rollers.

John Deere 959K Tracked Feller BuncherJohn Deere

The John Deere 959K Tracked Feller Buncher offers maximum power thanks to a larger displacement Tier 3 PowerTech Plus™ 9.0L engine than was available in previous models and unmatched stability on steep, rough grades with extreme duty tracks.

"The 959K Feller Buncher handles the toughest jobs with the lowest daily fuel cost in the industry," said Elliott Little, Product Marketing Manager, Tracked Feller Bunchers. "The 86,300 foot-pounds of tractive effort in the 959K compared to other K-Series models' 74,300 foot-pounds of tractive effort means more power for this unit to climb over rocks, stumps and logs. The equipment's leveling system also keeps the upper frame level, even when it is climbing or tilting on tough slopes."

The 330-hp engine is standard in the John Deere 959K for tackling the toughest jobs and features a 295-gallon fuel tank that lets operators get more done between fill-ups.

The 959K has superior hydraulic multifunctioning, including swing torque, boom performance and tracking, and a power management system that maximizes power usage, provides superior uptime and productivity, and lowers daily operating costs.

Additional K-Series productivity-boosting features include a quick-recovery saw and best-in-class felling head accumulation that picks up more trees in a single pass.

Cab enhancements include better visibility, a powerful HVAC system, brighter cab interior lighting and more in-cab storage behind the operator seat. Additional module functions include more power ports and cup holders, a sealed switch module with keyless start, auto-idle, hydraulic enable, engine throttle and a saw enable.


The manufacturing of Valmet track bunchers moved to Komatsu's Chattanooga, Tenn., 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.

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 percent forward tilt for steep slope logging. The company manufactures quality engineered custom feller bunchers with feller buncher or dangle harvester booms up to a 37'8" reach.

Tigercat L870C feller buncherTigercat

Tigercat has an extensive feller buncher offering for every conceivable bunching application. The L870C feller buncher is best suited to high production final felling on slopes and extreme terrain.   The long FH400 undercarriage provides exceptional stability. Tigercat's industry leading leveling system is extremely durable with thick steel plate, large pins and tapered roller bearings. The L870C has the power and stability to fell tall, oversize and top-heavy timber on slopes and uneven terrain. The machine is well proven in the mountainous regions of the Pacific Northwest.

With a refined, efficient hydraulic system, high capacity cooling, outstanding access to all major components, and a superior operator's station, the Tigercat 870C series remains an industry leader. Just of a few of the L870C's key benefits including: efficient ER boom technology with on/off control switch; excellent access to engine, valves and pumps; engine separated from all hydraulic components; twin swing drives for powerful swing torque and reduced pinion loads for extended swing system life; automatic variable speed cooling fan with automatic reversing cycle for improved fuel economy and quieter operation; among others.

The 870C is the result of over a decade of ongoing engineering enhancements and field testing and in some of the harshest forest environments on the planet.


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 unique in that it gives maximum degrees of leveling, leaves good access for maintenance, is very robust and because it is very simple 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 center of rotation to end of boom and with good extended lift power. The weight of a standard TL735 is 60,000 lbs not including attachments for a very quick and maneuverable machine with a 1.34:1 power to weight ratio.