Measuring wheel trial with John Deere harvester

Peter Williamson Jnr has been trialling the Z30 SC measuring wheel from Balmec Forestfor the last four months with positive feed- back. The wheel has performed exceptionally well in the twisted Larch and he has cut over 14,000m³ with no visible wear or lack of performance. Peter decided to trial the second of three measuring wheels that Balmec sent, the Z30 S wheel which has a more aggressive profile than the Z30 SC.

He fitted the wheel in early March to Timber Tech Harvesting Ltd’s John Deere 1470G with the H415 harvesting head, as he had 3,500m³ of Larch and Spruce which was .4m³ average with about 200m³ of hardwood mixed through it to finish off before moving to his next site.

I know from handling this wheel when I first unpacked it that fitting it without thick gloves would end up leaving your fingers like perforated tea bags. The points on the teeth are very sharp and the double tooth offset design meant they were quite narrow as well. The wheel required careful handling when it was being fitted.

“The Z30 S measuring wheel was extremely accurate in harvesting the Spruce and Larch; again I am very pleased with the performance. said Peter.

Good straight quality and accurately measured saw logs are vital to the sawmill we supply. If the logs are too short they might be cut down to a smaller size log or possibly rejected, if too long, the mill ends up paying for wood they cannot use. Having precise measuring keeps everyone happy and our forest manager off our backs as he is the one taking the first barrage of flack when things go wrong.

It measured the hardwood well considering how twisty it was and the staggered double spiked aggressive wheel kept in good contact with the stem. There were the odd lengths that measured long but only when the wood was really twisty.

Measuring wheel from Balmec Forest

My only negative finding with this wheel is the same as what I found with the Z30 SC, if it was 2mm smaller it would be much easier to get into the greasing point. I have stressed before that this might only apply to the John Deere H415 head due to the design; I can’t speak for any other heads. The Z30 W measuring wheel with the single tooth will not have this problem as the grease hose will fit through the grooves on the teeth for good access.

After 3,500 m³ there is no sign of wear whatsoever and the teeth are still extremely sharp, I would think that this wheel will perform well for a long time.

I caught up with Peter again as he was starting a new job site which is mainly Sitka Spruce averaging .7m³ with a scattering of larch mixed through it. The total volume is 22,000m³ and it should be a productive harvesting site

Our trials so far have given us very positive feedback on Balmec’s measuring wheels which have fared favourably compared to John Deere’s standard ones.

We are looking forward to working with Balmec in the coming months testing more of the harvesting equipment they manufacture.

The next installment of the trial with the Z30 S measuring wheel will continue in the next issue

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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