Komatsu Forest harvesting heads working well….
KOMATSU FOREST has an extensive range of harvesting heads consisting of 13 models including three models for debarking. Five of this range are sold in Australia with those being; S132, S172, C144, C202E & C283 with weights from 1,400kgs to 2,900kgs.
Interestingly two of the heads sold in Australia being the C202E and C283 had much of their design concept, development, and testing carried out in Australia due to the local requirement for harvesting heads to handle heavier, tougher and rougher limbed trees. The forerunners to these two models were the 378E and 398 which have been very successful in Australia’s tough conditions. These two new model numbers now bring these into line with the other head products numbers.
New head for tough debarking
Komatsu Forest released the C202E in June 2014, as mentioned above, previously known as the 378E, this large, high-quality, and highly-productive head, can be adapted for the most demanding logging assignments. The E signifies debarking, making the head ideal for logging species such as eucalyptus.
The new head's greatest advantages are its quality and durability, which together ensure high uptime. The frame and the two saw units are sturdy, the hood and hose protection have been improved, and the hydraulics are very reliable. Servicing has also been made easier. All in all, this means a long service life with ease of maintenance.
The MaxiXplorer control system provides the operator with improved functionality by allowing different switch positions via the computer, it automatically takes care of everything from the ADC feed wheel traction control, knife pressures, to length and diameter measurements.
Ricky Leeson, General Manager of Leesons Logging and Cartage, knows full well the value of service and what it means to the operating bottom line.
"We currently operate in pine clearfall," he explained.
"We've got a 460XLT/398 which is working in mature pine clearfall, steep operations. It works behind at PC300-8FX/KF750 which falls and shovels depending on the terrain. It processes the wood either at roadside or CTL in the bush.
"We've also have a 450XLT/398 which works as a CTL in both thinned and unthinned clearfall. It can work between steep going and flat.
"Both these machines work in HVP Gippsland plantation where filed information is supplied daily using the Datapro system from Komatsu. Both heads are only 12 months old. The 450 was recently upgraded with a new 398 replacement head after we decided to trade one of our initial 398 heads.
"The 460 is a brand new machine replacing one of our older 450XLT/398. Initially we had some teething issues with the original 398 heads that were purchased approx four years ago, but we worked through these issues with Komatsu Forest and now these matters have been resolved.
"Since then we've had no real issues and if any trouble does arise we are able to have these sorted very quickly with the support of DMM based out of Warragul," Ricky said.
"We chose these units because of the back-up support and willingness to trade machines and heads back within reason. Both of the machines are very reliable and have allowed us to meet our contract obligations. I don’t see any reason to change unless the environment or task changes," he said.
In the hardwood Leesons are running a PC200-8/378E, a PC220-8/378E, a PC270-8/ C202E, and 430EXL/C202E.
"All of these machines are working in small blue gum of yield around 110 tonne a hectare. They are reliable and do the job well.
"It is also easier with parts having all the same heads and for operators changing machines. Not only these but also with the clearfall and the three 941’s we have in our thinnings job. This is not only with the operating but also computer side of things.
"Again, it’s the support from DMM as an agent for KF and from their head office which keeps us coming back to KF for equipment.
"We have just ordered 1 PC270-8/C202E and 1 PC270-8HW/C202E," Ricky adds.
"Komatsu Forest are a part of our business and want to add value to our business and it comes from Brett at the top through the sales team lead by Brenton with Nigel being our point of call. Paul Harrison is there for the back-up service along with their experienced parts team.
"We look forward to continuing to work together with Komatsu Forest," he said.
A powerful head for the larger trees
Komatsu Forest launched a new harvester head in 2016, the Komatsu C283, previously known as the 398, a sturdy head designed for heavier trees. This head is the largest in Komatsu's head line-up with a maximum opening of a full 800 mm.
The Komatsu C283 is a robust head suitable for larger thinnings and final logging, as well as processing pre felled trees. The head is intended primarily for the American and Australian markets and is designed for mounting on a forestry excavator, 27 tonnes or bigger, or a purpose-built tracked forest machine.
The head features a threewheel feed system, which means that the stem is both fed and lifted by the powerful feed rollers. The body of the head is fitted with an additional feed roller that helps reduce friction and contributes to even greater feed force and feed speed.
The head has a powerful saw and is equipped with cutting control, which ensures a well-controlled cutting process. The head can
also be equipped with a top saw.
The number of delimbing knives on the standard model is three, with two moving and one fixed front delimbing knife. It's also possible to choose to fit two additional delimbing knives, mounted in the rear section of the head, one of which is hydraulically controlled while the other is fixed to the chassis.
The length measuring wheel offers high precision and quality, sitting well protected in the body of the head. The measuring wheel is controlled by a unique hydraulic cylinder, designed to follow the stem as closely as possible. The result is highly accurate length measurement.
As with all Komatsu Forest heads, the Komatsu C283 is equipped with EcoOiler, which is a unique system that enables effective control of the amount of lubricant fed to the chain and bar.
In order to minimise leakage from hydraulic couplings, the Komatsu C283 is equipped with ORFS couplings. The head has several practical solutions that simplify service, such as a mount for the hose guard in the rotator designed to make hose replacement as quick and easy as possible.
The head is controlled by the MaxiXplorer control system, an intuitive system that makes it easy to keep an eye on head performance and status.
Tumut-based Rosin Developments have been using the 398 harvesting heads for five years now and have found the heads to be a good addition to their fleet .
"We are currently in the process of purchasing another unit to complement our current three units," said Paul Rosin, Director.
"The oldest unit has around 10000 hours on it and we have only had the normal issues with it such as knife edges and cylinder re-seals . We have had no major component failures or any computer issues -- e.g. the first unit has never had a head control unit failure," he added.
"Some key points that I think have been useful to our company are:
• Cylinders are high quality with sealed grease bushes
• All pins are taper lock to reduce wear of bosses in frame
• Quality Parker control valve
• Maxi control system with maxi fleet
"Last is the fact that we are dealing with a factory-backed supplier and not a dealer and that means the support we receive from Komatsu Forest is second to none with our harvesting heads and our other Komatsu machines," he said.
Another interesting new head entrant to the Australian market is the C144. It’s a new concept with 4 feed rollers and 4 hydraulically controlled knives and was released to the Nordic market at Elmia 2013 with resounding success.
Several units have been trialled in Australia over the last twelve months with great results both in delimbing quality and production. The C144 can be fitted to the Komatsu 931 or 951.
New head concept for demanding harvesting
Komatsu Forest's new Komatsu C144 head can handle the most demanding harvesting of heavy limbed trees, where the need for a powerful feed is great and measurement accuracy must be world class.
The Komatsu C144 has a rapid feed thanks to its four hydraulic motors and feed rollers. These provide more points of contact between the trunk and the head, which ensures a strong feed. This is most noticeable with broad diameter trees and when processing crowns that are difficult to delimb. Another factor that contributes to the faster feed start is the 40-degree tilt angle.
The Komatsu C144 length measurement system the advantage that the measuring wheel follows the trunk very closely. The system has few moving mechanical parts as the signal from the measuring wheel to the pulse sensor is transmitted via a magnetic field.
The head has a new saw unit, saw motor, and bar mount. The saw motor has an integrated saw and bar feed valve, which provides precise control over the saw's hydraulic needs and bar feed power. This means that the maximum chain speed never exceeds 130 feet per second (40 m/s) and that cutting is faster with reduced splitting.
The Komatsu C144 has four hydraulically-controlled delimbing knives. The two forward knives have a new design for improved processing of trees that are difficult to delimb. What's more, there's a fixed vertical knife and a knife on the lower section of the head for delimbing when engaging the trunk.
The new head is highly reliable and in order to make daily service faster, easier, and safer, all lubrication points have been centralized.
It’s equipped with an actively controlled back pressure valve. The advantage is that the back pressure can be adjusted to the hydraulic functions currently being used, which contributes to the head's energy efficiency whilst protecting the relevant hydraulic components.