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Equipment Spotlight: Slope solutions

The newest machines for safely harvesting on challenging slopes

July 23, 2021  By Canadian Forest Industries Staff Report

Based on the LX870D series track carrier platform, the LSX870D shovel logger is designed for extreme duty steep slope logging. With the choice of attachments such as the new Tigercat BG13 grapple with live heel, SC08 shovel clam grapple, or the 5195 directional felling saw, the LSX870D is suited to felling, pre-bunching and shovel logging in challenging terrain. The LSX870D is a higher power, closed loop drive alternative to the LS855E. It allows for improved multifunctioning ability and higher travel speed, while maintaining the same lift capacity. The Tigercat FPT C87 engine supplies 330-hp. Tigercat’s leveling track machines use innovative technologies optimized for a range of steep slope applications. Tigercat’s patented leveling design uses two hydraulic cylinders and heavy steel sections for a solution that is robust and reliable. The Tigercat leveling system leans into the hill when leveling to the side, improving machine stability and operator comfort.


Pierce Pacific
Pierce steep slope booms are clearing the way to the extreme slopes of west coast forests. Mounted on leveling feller bunchers, these purpose-built booms are able to reach a greater segment of the terrain where traditional forestry equipment is only able to reach a portion of a steep jobsite. Pierce live heel configurations are available for directional felling as well as shovel logging. Two-piece booms are available for directional felling as well. Pierce boom configurations can operate in conjunction with a tethering system which allows operators to virtually eliminate dangerous and costly hand cutting.



New for the EX Track is the Extreme Cleat. These add-on cleats extend the traction bar from edge-to-edge, providing increased traction and stability when working on the steepest slopes. EX Tracks from Olofsfors are designed for the toughest conditions where traction is the primary requirement. The cross member is shaped in such a way that it provides extreme traction in deep snow, steep slopes and rocky terrain. When equipped with EX Tracks, machines can operate in slopes unassisted or tethered. EX Tracks provide superior grip and machine stability in any steep slope application.  


Ponsse Synchrowinch allows effective logging where previously only expensive and slow logging methods were used. The same machine can operate in flat and steep sites withour requiring additional equipment. Syncrowinch preserves soil from rutting and erosion, saves fuel and reduces stress in drive transmission components. The winch speed is automatically synchronized to machine speed. The winch can be operated from a remote-control unit. Automatic steep slope brake monitors machine speed and brakes when machine speed changes abnormally.


John Deere
The John Deere 959ML Shovel Logger is built for felling and log handling in difficult terrain. Available in two factory configurations, shovel logger or directional feller, all boom options have excellent downhill reach capability. When combined with the FL100 felling head, the 959ML is ideal for felling and maneuvering timber in steep slope applications. The 959ML features a leveling control system with sensor technology to maximize the forward tilt angle, while electronically preventing any possible mechanical interference when tilting to the side. Additionally, a roomy cab includes a large skylight and downward viewing window for increased visibility.


Woodland Equipment has partnered with Austria’s EcoForst to offer the TWinch traction winch assist series to western Canada. Worldwide experience with the TWinch 10.1 and 10.2, along with customer demands for a larger winch, led to the introduction of the TWinch 30.2. The design and technology in all the EcoForst products are purpose-built and self-contained for reliable, fuel-efficient, and true constant tension in all winch assist applications. The proprietary remote-control system allows the winch to be used with any equipment and does not require any hard wiring or “installation” in the winched machine. 


KMC Kootrac
The Kootrac 3600 is a new steep slope and wet ground harvesting solution. Designed with commercial thinning in mind, these machines are equipped with heavy-duty hydrostatic drive motors, giving them the maneuverability required to dance between fragile tree stands. They have been equipped with several HD cameras, so operators have the awareness needed to maneuver even the toughest sites. The cab has been moved forward for better balance and visibility and further sound suppressed, enabling safer communications and increasing operator comfort. 


Waratah’s large felling head, the FL100, increases durability and extends uptime for steep slope applications. The large directional felling head, designed for 30-plus-metric-ton carriers, improves productivity with its continuous rotation and dual rotate motors, which enable high rotation power requirements. The FL100’s forward placed saw unit allows for easier cutting of larger timber. For power in small or large capacity loads, the FL100 has one cylinder per arm plus a synchronizing link for maximum grapple holding force and control.


Integral Equipment
B.C.-based Integral Equipment supplies the Alpine Shovel Yarder and Alpine Grapple Carriage to North America. Although new to North America, the Alpine product line has been tested globally. The latest model is a two-drum interlock mounted on an excavator. This swinging yarder system can yard 450 metres with a ¾-inch superswage haulback and mainline, without needing guy lines. The Alpine winches’ drive system provides smooth lift, high speeds, and braking without producing excessive hydraulic heat and wear and tear. 


Island Pacific Equipment
Island Pacific is the exclusive distributor of the ROB system for North America. The company currently runs three ROB systems, which allow machines to work on slopes up to 45 degrees. The ROB system the company employs comprises a John Deere 909MH tracked harvester tethered to a Deere 850J dozer. Twin winches, each capable of supporting up to 21 tons, are mounted on each side at the rear of the dozer. Fairleads are mounted at each end of the dozer’s blade, giving the harvester a wide swath to work across. The dozer’s hydrostatic drive provides smooth remote control of the winches from the harvester cab. The winch works on the slope and maintains a constant tension in the cable. The system provides traction assistance to the harvester by helping keep the tracks flat on the ground. 


Technical Forest Solutions
Technical Forest Solutions, the North American distributor of the Tractionline winch assist system, is proud to announce new improvements to Tractionline. The new MK3 Tractionline has improvements to the drive train, hydraulic control and operator interface. It is faster, smoother, burns less fuel, is maintenance-friendly and has a new PC-based control panel. The MK3 control panel has more system information for the operator and cameras that monitor the winches and the bucket dig in. It can also display geo-reference maps, so multiple screens are not needed.  


Teleforest Inc.’s Sky Log is made of a self-propelled carriage module fixed to a cable, which is attached to two 15-metre-long masts kept in place by two excavators. The winch from each excavator automatically controls the maximum tension needed on the cable. This module can be used for a remote-controlled grapple or choker. It allows operators to operate on a 350-metre distance when hauling on flat terrain and on a 450-metre distance when hauling in mountainous areas. The gravitational force gives an advantage during the downhill hauling, thus reducing operational costs by 40 per cent. Production equals 25 loading cycles per hour on an average distance of 300 metres, resulting in an average of one cubic metre per concealment.


Weiler Forestry
Introducing the Weiler B458 reduced tail swing track feller buncher with extended track roller frames and cable-assist hitch. The B458 with extended track roller frames utilizes 11 rollers instead of the standard nine and offers an additional 29 inches of track length, while maximizing tractive effort. This provides increased stability, operator comfort, and performance. With the well-matched swing torque, 35 inches of unobstructed ground clearance and the ability to cable-assist the machine as needed, the B458 is well-suited for all steep slope applications. The B458 features excellent multi-function capability with dedicated pumps, a new cab that maximizes operator experience, field-proven components, and excellent serviceability. An optional 14 LED light package is available for improved productivity in night shift operations. 


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