Forwarders- we take a look at some of the mid-sized Forwarders that are used in timber harvesting. These machines are normally in the 16-20 tonne weight class with a carrying capacity of around 14 tonne.
This popular Forwarder size is very versatile and capable of working effectively in selective/final thinning’s and mature clearfell’s.
Mid-sized Forwarders are powerful and strong without being too heavy and they are extremely proficient on a variety of ground conditions and soil types.
When extracting timber on steep ground, band tracks or wheel chains can be used to increase traction, this offers better climbing ability and increases the operators safety.
For extracting on wet peaty and boggy soil conditions fitting flotation band tracks will reduce the overall ground pressure of the forwarder which will protect the forest floor from rutting and compacting the soil.
Our reporter, Anthony Carr, spoke to a selection of operators from several prominent machine manufacturers to get an honest insight into what they really think of the machines they operate.
The feedback is entirely from the operators point of view and is in no way an endorsement for any machine manufacturers.
We will feature individual reports on the different types of Forwarders over the next week.
Ponsse Buffalo Forwarder -Operator: Wayne Armstrong
18 months old – 2900 hours – Fuel Consumption 11.3 Litres per hour
After leaving school at 16 Wayne started work in a sawmill before joining the forestry commission where he worked on a chainsaw, and latterly a forwarder for 13 years.
After taking voluntary redundancy – a decision he has never looked back on – Wayne joined TPH in 1992, and has operated Forwarders for the company ever since.
Wayne is very happy with his latest Buffalo.
“This machine comes with the longer back bogies so although it climbs well on steep site’s, I do have to give the machine some extra power when climbing over obstacles but this is balanced out by the machines outstanding performance on soft ground”.
An additional benefit of this forwarder is the Active crane, this is where the extension works automatically with the main lift and dipper boom.
“It’s brilliant, I would find it really difficult to go back to the conventional system”.
As Wayne regularly operates on soft ground, he commented on the 10-metre crane having the ability to reach two rows of produce from the one row being a huge asset.
The grapple on the K90 crane is a Hultdins Super Grip
“It is good to use and much stronger than versions of the Super Grip I have previously used”.
Although the hose layout on the crane is good, Wayne has had a few problems with the metal pipes failing on the dipper boom. This is down to vibration against a bracket.
“The pipes are difficult to change, to make it easier, I sourced an extra clamp which I use to keep the three remaining pipes in line while I change the offending item”.
Comfort in the Buffalo is described as good,
“There is plenty of room, the seat is the most comfortable I’ve had, and vision is excellent. The cab is extremely quiet, although for how long I don’t know as mice are finding the soundproofing makes a tasty meal 🙂 .
The computer is straightforward to use, I tend to leave the settings as they are, as the machine is set up so well. One small issue I do have is that when facing forward, if an alarm activates, I have to turn the seat around to see what the problem is on the computer”.
The Buffalo has been very reliable in the 18 months Wayne has had it with only minor issues.
“The only problems I have had apart from replacing the pipes on the dipper, are a rotator hose which has just failed after 2900 hour and some wear on the outer extension boom”.
The extension problem was in the process of being remedied by PONSSE when I interviewed Wayne.
Back up and Servicing is excellent and provided by Ponsse UK, Wayne enjoys helping out with servicing and other bits and pieces.
“The machine is straightforward to service although re-fitting the belly plate can be a bit awkward , I use a long bolt with a big washer to wind it up and keep it in place until I refit the other bolts and cups.
“It is by far the best Forwarder I have ever operated, it travels well, has a powerful crane and is very comfortable.”
I have no interest in operating any other make or model of Forwarder.”
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Forest Machine Magazine is written and edited by a forest professional with over 40 years hands on experience. We are dedicated to keeping you informed with all the latest news, views and reviews from our industry.
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