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Equipment spotlight: Feller bunchers

September 5, 2017 - CFI takes a look at the latest feller bunchers ready to work for contractors in Canada’s forests.

September 5, 2017  By Canadian Forest Industries Staff

Pierce’s family of steep slope feller buncher booms are clearing the way to the extreme slopes of West Coast forests. Pierce boom configurations operate in conjunction with a tethering system that allows you to virtually eliminate dangerous and costly hand cutting. The Pierce family of steep slope feller buncher booms are currently available in live heel for steep slope directional felling, live heel for levelling shovel logging, and a two-piece configuration, also for directional felling. All three can shovel/hoe chuck logs directly to the landing, where the Pierce GP (grapple processor) processes and loads, completing the job with one efficient landing machine.

Tigercat X870D and LX870D track feller bunchers excel in tough terrain, high-cycle felling, oversized timber and extreme temperature applications. The X870D and LX870D both use the Tigercat FPT C87 Tier 4f engine delivering 245 kW (330 hp) at 1,900 rpm. The D-series model has an enhanced cab with expanded sight lines to both the right and left sides. The cab interior finish is refined and instrumentation has been thoughtfully placed to optimize ergonomics. Maintenance access is outstanding with a clamshell style retracting roof enclosure providing clear and easy access to the engine, valves and cooling system components with a side platform for daily service access. The LX870D uses Tigercat’s patented super-duty leveling base featuring large pins and cylinders, tapered roller bearings and thick steel plate. The new R7-163L track frames are 330 mm (13 in) longer for increased stability on steep slopes.


The Komatsu XT460L-3 Feller Buncher boasts a modern forestry cab that features a state-of-the-art control system and superior ergonomics. Combined with a powerful 300-hp engine, high lift capacity, powerful swing torque, and a robust Komatsu undercarriage, the XT460L-3 provides high levels of operator comfort, ease of operation, productivity, reliability and durability. The spacious cab features large windows, which provide the operator with a commanding widescreen working view. An all LED lighting system provides excellent visibility in low light conditions. The advanced IQAN-MD4 control system utilizes highly intuitive Komatsu programming, which makes the system very easy to use.

Engineered from the ground up to deliver results day in and day out, Barko tracked feller bunchers are purpose built using extensive input from experienced forestry professionals who know and live the job. Equipped with smooth, responsive electrohydraulic controls, Barko feller bunchers operate with exceptional efficiency and deliver more raw power when needed. Driven by a 225-hp Tier 4 Cummins QSB6.7 diesel engine, the machine provides superior power and optimal fuel efficiency. The power-to-weight ratio is evident when observing its agility. The tractive effort of over 65,000 foot-pounds, along with superior drawbar pull also handles steep hills with ease.  

Caterpillar Forest Products track feller bunchers boost production, and their low operating costs coupled with purpose-built durability increase profitability. The Cat 521 and 522 B Series machines are near-zero tail swing machines, which help reduce damage to the residual stand in select cut and thinning applications. The 522B features levelling capability. The Cat 541 Series 2 and the Cat 552 Series 2 are full tail swing machines designed for high-production clear-cutting or final felling in rough terrain. The 552 Series 2 is a levelling machine, and recent updates enhance operation on steep slopes.

John Deere
Available in seven models, from the 803M to the 959M, the John Deere M-Series tracked feller bunchers offer numerous improvements over previous models. A 25 per cent increase in horsepower and longer and wider undercarriage offers maximum power and stability no matter the terrain. Optional tilt and leveling cabs maximize operator comfort and productivity – particularly on steep slopes. The 909M/959M models feature a patented levelling control system using sensor technology to maximize the forward tilt angle (26 degrees forward), while electronically preventing any possible mechanical interference when also tilting to the side. Additionally, the M-Series machines provide up to 45 per cent more tractive effort, allowing the machines to navigate difficult terrain.

The new TimberPro TL765C feller buncher is a tail swing design that is offered with two different boom configurations to optimize its performance in either a feller buncher, processing or controlled felling application. Pulling the 765C ahead of the pack is its Cummins QSL9 delivering 342HP, two large swing drives for massive amounts of swing torque for demanding uphill shoveling, a dedicated hydrostatic track drive system putting out 108,745 ft/lb of torque combines multifunctioning performance with extreme climbing power. Now add the comfort of the heated and cooled air ride seat, Bluetooth stereo system, rear view camera, high output LED lighting package and you can see why the new TL765C is the pinnacle of performance.

Eltec feller bunchers are within the most powerful and versatile on the market and are available in three models: 310 series, 279 series and 220 series. The machines feature a very powerful and smooth swing drive, good fuel economy, and good production capability, D7 extreme service undercarriage with nine rollers for greater stability, strong and powerful traction effort, and maximum flow to each function with accessories dedicated pump. The right-hand side of the machines have a full console and full customable joysticks, and walkways are there for easy access and maintenance. The cab is spacious and ergonomic, and fully equipped.

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