Grapple processors set to become more popular, says Southstar
AS LANDINGS AND SKID SITES BECOME smaller, processors will need to become multi-taskers, able to load and shovel as well as produce logs.
What if you could combine the versatillity of a grapple and the fuctionality of a processor into one effective machine?
To meet the future demand, South-Star has decided to offer grapple options on all its processing heads, from the small QS505 right up to the QS635.
“It’s very suited to steep slope sites where access is an issue, and the ability to have one machine that can process logs and load is a strong advantage,” says Jeremy Disher, Director of Southstar Equipment.
A grapple processing head would not only be suited to steep slope tower operations but also ideal for smaller operations, particularly those in woodlots, he points out.
The short hanging bracket has been designed specifically to allow this machine to sort and load without the need for an aditional heel attachement (something a coventional hanging bracket can’t do).
Likewise, the optional grapple de-limb arms are designed to sit at the top of the head, where they won’t interfere with the normal roller action and can be called into operation when loading multiple stems is required, maximising the efficiency of the head. When not in use, the unique drive arm design enables them to be folded away.
With a processor that can also carry out loading, it reduces the amount of equipment and capital outlay for a contractor, as well as reducing fuel, maintenance, transport and labour costs.
This processor-plus-grapple ability has been popular in parts of North America, particularly western Canada where multitasking equipment is a must, due to long distances involved in moving machines around.
The Canadians have seen the advantages of a multi-purpose head on the skid site and the compact QS605, which features both a short hanging bracket and grapple arms has already chalked up 60 sales.
There is an opportunity for this head to do well here, says SouthStar, and it’s now actively marketing the compact QS605 processor in New Zealand.
The height of the QS605 is just 2,018mm, including the rotator and top link, which is one metre less than a traditional long hanging bracket processor.
The shorter hanging bracket also has other advantages, according to Mr Disher: “This head performs very well as a high production processor with less swinging action when picking from a stack, resulting in decreased cycle times. A lot of our North American operators are now prefering this head over a conventional style processor.”
The SouthStar QS605 grapple 4x4 processor can sort, shovel and load like a grapple and process, measure and cut with all the advantages of a standard processor. It’s designed for medium-to-large size wood with an optimum operating size of 22-26” in diameter for 25-to-30-tonne machines.
Features include a powerful tilt lock system activated with twin cylinders to allow it to operate without a heel attached.
It also has innovative tilt levelling software to control logs when loading from the back of a trailer or handling wood off centre.
For processing, the QS605 uses its powerful dual rotate motor drive so the operator can rotate logs up steep slopes and when loading trucks on uneven ground.
It also has the innovative Side Stepping drive feature, allowing for independent control of two stems at the same time, which proves very handy when loading.
The QS605 is controlled by the proven DASA computer system with full optimisation combined with SouthStar’s unique Startrax Satellite Communication system (SCS).
Mr Disher says SouthStar already has contractors in New Zealand interested in using the QS605 here.
• Another innovation that Southstar is currently developing is an Intermittent disk saw felling head. The idea combines the reliability of a hot saw system with the versatility of a dangle head. The FD2900, as it has been named, is currently in the concept stage with trials to be conducted in the northern hemiesphere.
SouthStar is now marketing the QS605 grapple processing head in New Zealand.