Hybrid

RJ Fukes Forestry Services are the UK and Irish distributors for the full range of Logset equipment and have recently been offering the 12H GTE Hybrid harvester with a TH 75 harvesting head on demo to forestry contractors.

Since 2016 Logset have been the sole forestry manufacturer to introduce Hybrid technology into timber harvesters, with the range expanding to include the smaller 8H GTE Hybrid harvester.

Hybrid technology is the perfect solution when it comes to harvesting timber due to the fluctuation in demand of power requirements.  There is a huge demand in power when the saw motor is in operation, when driving on steep ground, or when handling and processing large trees. The hybrid system eliminates the power peaks required from the engine, thus saving fuel and prolonging the life of the engine.

The Logset Hybrid’s engine note never changes and this is due to the super capacitor (rather than the batteries) storing sufficient electrical power to increase the power of the harvester from 290hp to 510hp. The super capacitor – charged by a second generator – will store sufficient energy for nine seconds worth of boost. This is plenty to cope with any power demand surges and it then reverts back to charging the capacitor, which takes just ten seconds. After this, the extra power is ready to deploy once again.

Using hybrid technology ensures that there is an enormous amount of power on tap without horrendous fuel costs. It can achieve up to a 30% increase in working efficiency with a 25% fuel saving, as well as reducing Co² emissions by between 15% and 30%. We were not able to gather accurate fuel consumption figures during our trials as the operators were not familiar with operating the Hybrid ; however, Dennis Olsson, a Swedish forestry contractor, has operated his for over 2,200 hours and achieves around 70m³ using 16 litres of diesel per hour.

Hugh Gordon is a contractor in Southern Australia who purchased his Logset Hybrid/ TH85 in 2017 and is delighted with the reliability and performance. His work involves a variety of timber sizes, and when working in stands averaging 2m³ he was achieving 105m³ and consuming 24 litres per hour. Over the year he has averaged just over 19 litres per hour, which is in some cases was up to 50% less than other harvesters he has operated.

Dr Michael Kutscher is the director of the Bavarian State Forest Enterprise (BaySF), an organisation responsible for harvesting around five million m³ each year and had this to say about their Logset 12H GTE Hybrid:

“I believe this is certainly the best solution available today for tackling the environmental issues without compromising high productivity.

I would definitely buy another Logset Hybrid harvester especially if they come out with a hybrid smaller than the 12H. With a slightly smaller machine, we could handle the majority of our jobs and make the most of the performance that Logset’s Hybrid solution offers.”

12H GTE Arriving in Southern Scotland

FIRST TRIAL

The Logset first arrived in Scotland on the 9th of March, and I met the Midwest Plant low loader driver Emyr Richards at the Lockerbie truck stop to escort him to the harvesting site near Moffat. Peter Williamson Jnr was going to be operating it on a 20,000m³ Sitka Spruce clear fell site being harvested by Timber Tech Harvesting Ltd for James Jones and Sons. Given the striking black and silver colour scheme of both the lorry and the Logset, the unit was a real head turner as it made its way through the town of Moffat.

Once on site, John Fukes and his engineer Brian Hastings arrived and there were some final tweaks to be carried out and the Clark Tracks to be fitted before the 12H GTE was ready for trial.

We decided to come back the following week so that Peter had a chance to familiarise himself with the Logset before expressing any opinions.

Before we move on to the operator’s feedback, I must point out that the Harvester had been sent over with the incorrect seat specification. Any Logset machine that John supplies has the highest spec seat fitted, but in this case there had been a misunderstanding at the factory and the wrong seat was fitted. This wasn’t discovered until the trials had begun, during which a reoccurring comment was that the seat lacked comfort during extended periods of use.

We started with the TH75 harvesting head, which is the third largest in the TH range. It has a maximum felling cut of 31”, weighs 1,300kg, and will feed stems at speeds of up to 5.6m/sec. While the head in question had arrived with an 82cm guide bar fitted, a 90cm bar is also available. Peter’s feedback was as follows:

“It is a good, well-built and strong head with easy access to all the components that you will need access to. The hydraulic hose layout is very good with everything out of harm’s way and easy to get to when components need tightening or replacing. All the greasing points are easily accessible – from an operator’s point of view it is a well-designed and well thought out harvesting head. The feeding speed is impressive with powerful torque, which comes into its own on heavier branched edge trees. When in neutral the rollers lock in position, which I found good for pulling out windblown trees which can be tangled together and when harvesting big heavy trees. The de-limbing knives removed the branches cleanly and flush with the stem. The measuring was accurate in length and diameter, which is important as the sawmill we supply is very strict on this. I did find it a bit awkward when felling to begin with as the saw box on the Logset TH75 is the opposite side to the John Deere H415, but once I got used to this it was easy to use.”

TH 75 Harvesting Head

We were clearly off to a good start, so I wanted to find out about the performance of the 285H Mesera 10m reach parallel crane:

“The crane was impressive and easy to control. It had great lifting ability and the slewing power was immense. Overall it was smooth to use with a good, quick dipper extension. Furthermore, the tilting kingpost wasn’t cumbersome and the narrow kingpost gave good, unobstructed vision during felling and harvesting.

The hydraulic hose/pipe layout was good and well separated and it looked relatively easy to get access to them.”

The next issue for consideration was the base:

“It is well guarded to protect the body panels from any mishaps, while access for servicing and repairs is excellent with the automatic bonnet lifting up and out of the way and all the other panels opening out. There are also good, sturdy built-in steps for accessing high and awkward areas. Refuelling points are easy to get to but a refuelling pump for Add Blue would have been a handy addition.

I am not a fan of the bogie rams fitted on this harvester as a traction aid; the hydraulic hoses looked like they could be vulnerable and on the steep conditions I work on I think balanced bogies will provide much better traction.

The lights are the best I have ever seen on a harvester. Fuelling up and greasing in the dark was like doing it in daylight, and when harvesting at night the vision was incredible. I found that the steps into the cabin were a little awkward and could have done with being angled a bit more for more secure footing.

The vision is excellent during harvesting and driving as you are able to see everywhere that you need to without any obstructions. Visibility is excellent when reversing and if you turn the rotating cabin you get a pretty good view to the rear of the harvester. The cabin levelling works well and when rotating it is smooth and precise.

The TOC-MD2 (Total Operation and Control

Measuring Device 2) control system is simple to navigate and very easy to use.

Unfortunately, my site was closed down due to Covid-19 just as I was starting to get the hang of operating it; up to that point, however, I had harvested 700m³ in around 30 hours. The Logset 12H GTE Hybrid is a powerful, stable and highly productive harvester and with some tweaks it is a machine I would be happy to use professionally.”

SECOND TRIAL

Unfortunately, the next few months were quiet due to travel restrictions being imposed; nonetheless, in September we eventually managed to catch up with the demo harvester and this time it was in Kielder Forest being operated by Robbie Robertson on a Walton Logging site. Walton Logging is owned and managed by Robbie’s father Colin, and both father and son were John Deere engineers and have an extensive working knowledge of the machines. They have four harvesting squads and run three 1270 harvesters alongside one 1470 version, with three 1510 forwarders and a Ponsse Buffalo. They also have a skyline mounted on a Komatsu 890 forwarder and a Doosan excavator. All their operators are highly skilled professionals who are productive and extremely safety conscious during their work.

Although the terrain for this particular site was not too challenging, it was a second generation crop which hadn’t been planted in straight lines so it was difficult to avoid driving over stumps.

Robbie Robertson at the controls in Kielder

The Sitka had grown well and wasn’t too heavily branched, with good straight stems yielding a high percentage of saw log material. The total harvesting capacity for the site was 20,000m³.

Robbie had been using the Logset for a few days and I was surprised at how competent he had become considering his normal ride is a John Deere 1270G. Robbie explained that he had previously operated a Komatsu 951 and he liked the control levers – the Logset has the same lever setup so he was quite familiar with them.

Here are Robbie’s conclusions:

“The Mesera crane has incredible power and lift but I did think that an extra metre in reach would have been handy. It reaches 10m fully extended.

Vision is superb; I liked the long side windows which extend almost the full length of the door, providing a great view down onto the tracks. The hydraulic hoses running up the kingpost are tidy and well laid out and the narrow kingpost offers excellent vision.

I was surprised at just how good the cabin was due to its good noise suppression and feeling of space. The only suggestion I had regarding the cabin was that there was a lot of room in front of the seat – repositioning it in a more forward position would provide better storage behind the seat. The steps fold up well out of harm’s way when driving and the power assisted door is a brilliant feature which works really well even in strong winds. The cabin levelling system is fantastic and gives operators a comfortable ride; the computer screen has good, clear, and easy to read information and the TOC-MD2  computer system is very easy to navigate and programme.

I am not a big fan of the bogie rams. I would definitely opt for balanced bogies as standard as these are better suited to the conditions that we work in.

I liked the TH75 harvesting head as it is extremely easy to work on. The low saw box means you can cut the stumps lower to the ground and it is a very good head for felling trees with flared buttresses. It de-limbed the trees cleanly and was effective in heavily branched and pappy trees. In all conditions, measuring was precise.

Ground clearance is another strong point – the frame brake hydraulic cylinders work well and keep the machine locked. Personally, I would reverse the wheels so that it was a bit wider for extra stability when reaching out to the side.

It was nice to have JIC fittings on the hydraulics instead of the dreaded ORFS type that many manufacturers seem to be favouring.

It is a strong, well-built productive harvester with plenty of external storage for spares and bits and pieces. There is also plenty of power on tap and no matter what you are doing the engine note never changes. The mechanical and electrical system is well laid out and as an engineer it looks straightforward and relatively easy to work on. There are points to clip on access steps so that engineers/operators are safe and secure when carrying out servicing, maintenance, and repairs on higher areas.

Overall, I was impressed by the Logset; every harvester has good and bad points and any highlighted here are my personal findings.

I would like to thank RJ Fukes Forestry Service for the opportunity to try out the Logset 12H GTE Hybrid.”

Once again Covid-19 restrictions have halted travel and prevented us following the Logset to it’s next demo location in Somerset.

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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