Having an open day or demo tour has got to be the best way to get your products and services noticed. It is a great way to connect with customers as you are not inundated with hundreds of visitors just having a look. You can actually spend more time one on one with customers who are actually interested in the equipment you have.
From a manufacturer/distributer’s point of view you are not having to spend a fortune moving equipment vast distances, paying expensive stall fees, or restricted to what you can actually show on your allocated space. Nor do you have the added expense of accommodation and meals while exhibiting. There is also the lost production time of being away from your premises and on some occasions, this could be up to a week.
At an open day, all the equipment and services are on display and not cordoned off, giving potential customers the opportunity to get up close and hands on with equipment. Demonstrations are not policed by marshals where you can only see a fraction of what’s going on and from a distance.
I attended the Forest Machine Services Limited (FMS) open day at their premises not far from Bellingham in Northumberland at the end of March. Stephen Wills and Graham Johnston, co-owners of FMS, have built up a first-class reputation for the quality of their work and excellent after sales service on the equipment they supply. They remain the only company in the UK to design and manufacture “in house” their own stroke head, the FMS 575.
Graham and Stephen offer customers a bespoke design and fabrication service for all industries and are a lifeline for replacement hydraulic hoses and many other bits and pieces. The duo are the Northern England/Southern Scotland agents for Fuelwood (Warwick) Ltd.’s forestry, biomass, firewood and arboriculture range of equipment. Plus, they have a comprehensive product range including AFM harvesting heads, woodchip containers and stores, cable winches, timber trailers and cranes, Firewood machinery, tractors and excavator harvesters.
There were already quite a few people mingling about when I arrived shortly after 9am. John Blacklock from Blacklock Harvesting, Robert Nelson, a fellow forwarder operator/firewood merchant I hadn’t seen for many years – I still can’t decide if that was a good or bad thing lol – Stu Liddle of Liddle Forestry, Darren Turnbull of Turnbull Contracting and quite a few others I knew by sight but not name.
After a coffee with Graham and a look at a Komatsu excavator FMS were currently converting to a harvester, we went around the back to where the firewood processors and log splitters were laid out.
The first processor was the largest one there and Stephen was hosting the demonstrations. This was the Uniforest Titan 53/40 Premium, it is a commercial processor for the serious firewood merchant which can be powered by an electric motor, tractor PTO or PTO and electric motor. This Titan was working off a tractor PTO. The 53/40 has built in drive feed rollers on a hydraulically adjustable feed in table and is able to cut logs at lengths of 25, 33, 40, 50, or 60 cm lengths and will cut diameters up to 53cm. It has 40 tonne of splitting force, and the knife can be adjusted to split logs into 2-4-8 or 18 pieces, it quickly filled up the large trailer with logs.
BoomSpeed is also offered as standard – Double-piston cylinders for two movement speeds: the working speed is utilised for normal splitting of resistant wood, but for less resistance or the “free run” of the cylinder, its speed is increased. This way the splitting cycle can be shortened for up to 40% which also contributes to higher efficiency.
The compact design of the 53/40 also allows simple transport by tractor while the patented protective shield moves the circular saw into the cover and folds it to transport safely.
Two other Uniforest Titan’s were on display, the 43/20 and 40/20. Graham demonstrated the
40/20 with some large diameter gnarly hardwood lengths. This model can cut logs up to 40cm diameter and has the same length options as the other two processors. The splitting force is 20 tonne and there are splitting options from two pieces up to 12.
Robert Nelson has the older version and is over the moon with it. Like every machine it takes a little while to master the technique to get the best performance, but Robert easily manages six tonne per hour driven by the tractor PTO.
There was other smaller splitters and saws for firewood production as well as an immaculate Ford 400 tractor and a Timberjack 1470D. At the front of the building there was a selection of Uniforest three-point linkage winches, Lasco cone splitters, timber and brash grapples, Kindlet kindling machine, a Vreten 1000 10 tonne forwarding trailer with a 65/40 timber crane, and an FMS 575 stroke head. The 600kg head has a 64cm saw bar, an 800mm de-limbing stroke and the knives open to 450mm, which is ideal for first and second thinnings. The head is simple and robustly built and is designed to be efficient in both hard and softwood.
I had thoroughly enjoyed myself, there was lots to see, and it was great catching up with so many people I hadn’t seen in years.
Stephen and Graham put on a brilliant display and everyone I spoke to was delighted that they had decided to make the journey to attend.
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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