Today’s harvesters are all very capable machines and all do a great job of harvesting the timber that this country needs. All manufacturers think that their equipment is better than their competitors, but in truth some machines are more suited to certain types of conditions than others.
This feature isn’t about comparing one make against the other, the intention was for honest and open feedback from operators.
Anthony Carr interviewed a random selection of UK operators who have used their harvesters for a considerable length of time and are in a position to offer their opinions.
Today we take a look at the Logset 6H GTE which is operated by Colin Forder of GNF Forestry.
This 21,000 kg Logset harvester is available in six or eight wheel drive and uses a six cylinder AGCO Stage V 258 hp engine and the hydraulic system offering 285 l/min at 1500rpm.
The 6H stands between 2640 and 2930 mm depending on tyres and weighs approximately 21,000 depending on harvesting head. This model is supplied with a Mesera 221H crane and has three reach options; 8.3, 10 and 11m and can be fitted with a choice of three Logset harvesting heads – TH45, TH55 and TH65.
Logset have developed a base machine control system, the TOC 2. This control system has been designed so that it is user friendly and straightforward to navigate. Recently updated, the settings for the TOC 2 control system are divided into two parts: basic settings and advanced settings. Anyone can simply change the basic settings of the program, for example, drivers can save their own crane settings in the program. Access to the advanced settings on the harvester can be restricted to qualified technicians. Logset has developed a new measuring instrument system for their harvesters: Total Operation and Measuring Device 2 (TOC-MD 2), TOC-MD 2 which is a Linux-based system.
The TOC-MD 2 is able to connect to the TOC 2 control system directly which eliminates the need for a separate PC. TOC2 and TOC-MD 2 control systems are the result of 10 years of development, the TOC control system has been used in Logset forest machines since 2007. The TOC-MD was introduced in Logset machines in 2010. TOC-MD 2 navigation has been recently updated with the latest navigational software.
Colin Forder spent the first years of his career working as a mechanic on timber drags which he described as AEC Matador Lorries with an A frame on the back which was used for skidding timber. At the age of 21 he started work as a chainsaw operator for the Forestry Commission based in Thetford forest. In 1991 Colin teamed up with Nigel Greenacre, who had also worked for the forestry commission, and formed the company GNF Forestry. Together they worked cleaning up windblow following the 1987 storm. This is the company they are still running today with Colin operating the harvester and Nigel operating one of their two forwarders.
Colin and his son C J were double shifting the 6 H on a flat site in Suffolk, with Colin describing the crop as “mediocre”. They are producing an average of 26 m³ per hour with a tree size of 0.3m³ and fuel usage of 18 litres per hour.
“Overall reliability of the machine, over the 10,200 hours, has been excellent” said Colin. “The only problem that hasn’t been run of the mill was a broken wire under the cab. RJ Fukes fixed the problem in two hours by replacing the wiring harness”.
“GNF Forestry has been loyal to the Logset brand since 1997. Starting with excavator based harvesters before going onto purpose built machines. The machines have gradually improved over the years with each model being better than the previous one. The 6H has been very productive and reliable. The majority of our work is carried out in Norfolk, Suffolk area where the sites are relatively flat with good ground conditions. With the 6H never running tracks and it being fully ballasted to aid stability, it is reasonable on soft ground with extra care being needed to get the most out of the TRS tyres”.
“The frame brake on the Logset works via a ram on either side of the machine chassis and it does an excellent job on the work that we carry out. Access for refuelling and replacing hydraulic oil are on a side compartment towards the rear of the machine and is accessed by a lift up hatch with both connections easy to get to.
A common theme among those I have interviewed is lack of storage. Colin commented he could always do with more. There is storage under the front of the cab for chains, with 2 drop down hatches at the rear of the machine for bars etc. There is also storage in the refuelling compartment for the toolbox.
“The computer on the 6H is very user friendly. The right joystick of the machine is all that is needed to navigate the computer.
Comfort in the cab is excellent and larger than I expected, there is ample room. There are side pockets on either side of the seat with further storage in the door pocket and room behind the seat for the spill kit. With the cab following the crane I find the vision excellent. The only downside with the crane is that it is in front of the cab. I have operated Logset’s for years so it doesn’t bother me that much. Levelling on the cab is very good but it is rarely stretched due to the majority of our jobs being relatively flat. The lights on the outside of the cab are all LED’s giving a good spread for working, and inside the cab there are 4 lights including 2 reading lights. Greasing points for the cab are all easily accessible”.
“The Crane could do with a little more power on bigger trees. But, as the majority or our work is predominately thinning and smaller clear fells, the crane is more than adequate for our needs. The ten metre reach comes into its own in the thinning’s. The hose layout on the crane overall is very good but if I could make one change it would be a guard either side of the main boom to stop branches getting under the metal pipes. This isn’t an issue in clear fell but as we do a lot of first thinning’s this can be a problem.
Lubrication is via one easy to access greasing point which services the whole of the crane and the crane lighting is via 2 LED lights either side of the link above the kingpost”.
“With the saw running an uprated saw motor and a 14 tooth sprocket it gives excellent performance, good bar wear and minimal chain failures. The head is great for felling and the sturdy well positioned saw box keeps the stumps low. The TH65 gives excellent results even in rougher stems and the feeding is very good. Due to being the owner of the machine as well as the operator I tend to leave the rougher trees to the hand cutter to save on breakages”.
Colin also uses the manual crosscutting option as it is what he’s used to. “Measuring of length and diameter is accurate. I do the Calibration manually to keep things in check when needed.
The hose layout on the current TH65 head is an improvement over the previous model, the main improvement being the feed roller hoses which have been rerouted forward then up, rather than straight up. The only failures we have had was due to catching the hoses in tight first thinning’s, none have occurred on clear fell sites. The head is easily maintained with all greasing points being readily accessible”.
Chain oil usage
10 litres a day.
Straightforward and easy.
“Just the normal run of the mill problems, with the machine having done 10,200 hours, nothing stands out as having been a major problem.
The morning I spoke to Colin, he had a saw valve fail and before replacing it from the spares out of the service van, he rang RJ Fukes to order a new one which would arrive at his house in the post the following morning.
“I can’t rate them highly enough” is how he described the back up from RJ Fukes. “Somebody is always at the end of the phone, and a service van readily available if needed”.
One other thing Colin commented on was that Logset are always willing to listen to feedback from operators to help improve their products.
More From The Operators
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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