Ko­matsu’s “giant” is big, nim­ble, and doesn’t have much thirst

Australian Forests and Timber - - FORWARDERS -

THE KO­MATSU 895 For­warder con­tin­ues the pop­u­lar legacy (mar­ket leader) of its pre­de­ces­sor the Ko­matsu 890.1, 890.2, and 890.3. There were over 200 units sold in Aus­tralia over a 12 year pe­riod and that’s not count­ing the old “Black 890” se­ries.

The “new” gen­tle giant is not just Ko­matsu’s big­gest-ever For­warder but it also rep­re­sents an en­tirely new class when it comes to max­imis­ing ev­ery­thing from pro­duc­tiv­ity and op­er­a­tional econ­omy to er­gonomic ben­e­fits.

The 895 was re­leased in Aus­tralian back in April 2013 and since then it has been widely ac­cepted by Aus­tralia con­trac­tors with 55 units be­ing de­liv­ered into the Aus­tralian mar­ket. Over this pe­riod it has been tested and tes­ti­mo­ni­alised right across Aus­tralia. In fact, just to en­sure this ar­ti­cle cov­ered all bases, we took the quest for views to ev­ery State we could and were able to in­ter­rupt some ex­tremely busy con­trac­tors for their views.

The gen­eral con­sen­sus was For­warder is a first class ma­chine.

The 895’s crane is one of the For­warder’s most es­sen­tial com­po­nents and is cru­cial for pro­duc­tiv­ity. The new 165F, one of the mar­ket’s most pow­er­ful cranes, has a high gross lift­ing and turn­ing torque, and a weight-op­ti­mised link­age sys­tem that de­liv­ers high gross lift­ing force. The car­ry­ing ca­pac­ity is mas­sive.

The new pow­er­ful en­gine min­imises emis­sions and op­ti­mises fuel econ­omy.

The new 20-ton wheels with their 28.5- inch rims, pro­vide higher ground clear­ance and a lower ground pres­sure.

On the op­er­a­tor side there’s a no­tice­ably larger cab – higher and wider with more legroom, more stor­age space and a quiet work­ing en­vi­ron­ment. The large glass sur­faces mean bet­ter vis­i­bil­ity up­wards and to the sides, which makes the crane op­er­a­tion eas­ier and more re­laxed. The new op­er­a­tor’s seat pro­vides ex­cel­lent com­fort and work space, and of­fers many per­sonal ad­just­ments and set­tings. The new hand con­trols are er­gonom­i­cally de­signed and well equipped.

Michael Man­gan (Man­gan Log­ging, NSW) re­cent fleet of for­warders is made up of seven 890.3’s and now five 895’s. These units mainly work in un­thinned and ma­tured clear-fell Ra­di­ata pine. Michael was quick to add that one of the big­gest im­prove­ments was vis­i­bil­ity, “Our op­er­a­tors are very happy with the im­proved vis­i­bil­ity,” and the noise lev­els in the cabin are well down, re­duc­ing op­er­a­tor fa­tigue at the end of the day.

The load ca­pac­ity is sec­ond to none, the bunk widener sys­tem is a big pos­i­tive, gain­ing a much bet­ter pay­load, ac­tu­ally one of the best pay­loads in this class ma­chine mak­ing it a very pro­duc­tive ma­chine, and the crane ge­om­e­try and lift power is again class-lead­ing.”

So far main­te­nance costs have been lower than the 890.3 giv­ing more ma­chine up­time.

On its ro­bust­ness his re­ply was ... “So far so good.”

Michael says fuel econ­omy was an­other strong point “achiev­ing much bet­ter econ­omy than the pre­vi­ous model”. Man­gan Log­ging’s grow­ing fleet of 895’s is ex­pected to grow.

Matt Leov (To­tal Har­vest­ing, West Aus­tralia) op­er­ates three 895s, one 890.2 and one 890.3 in clear-fall Ra­di­ata and blue gum clear-fall which is used for ex­port chips. that the 895

Matt bought the first of the 895s to hit Aus­tralia back in 2013 and is quick to add a strong list of pos­i­tives cov­er­ing the 895. “The vis­i­bil­ity is great, it has a great load ca­pac­ity of 20 plus tonne.

“It’s got a strong/fast crane; easy to ad­just the crane func­tions, the Maxi Xplorer con­trol sys­tem is very user-friendly.

“It’s has a big ca­pac­ity grap­ple, too,” he says. Matt said the 895 has a smooth ride due to its large tyres, and great trac­tion.

He has also been im­pressed with the fuel econ­omy ... “low fuel us­age per ton”.

“They’re very pro­duc­tive and the op­er­a­tors love driv­ing them,” Matt says.

If there were any points he saw as pos­si­ble neg­a­tives he said “sched­uled” main­te­nance was time con­sum­ing to complete (chang­ing oil and fil­ters, ad­just­ing tap­pets etc;) but other main­te­nance is zero, and that the travel speed could be faster.

“Oth­er­wise, they are the best For­warders on the mar­ket.”

Anthony Brown (Mech­a­nised Log­ging, Tas­ma­nia) has an 895 op­er­at­ing in clear-fell Ra­di­ata and, over­all, he gives the 895 the thumbs up.

“We had a bit of a soft­ware prob­lem early on but it’s work­ing pretty well now.

“The load ca­pac­ity is prob­a­bly fea­ture,” he says.

“Op­er­a­tor vis­i­bil­ity and com­fort is ex­cel­lent, and the bunk sys­tem over­all is pretty good.” its best

On the econ­omy side, Anthony said fuel-wise costs per tonne would be down but couldn’t quan­tify it at this stage.

Anthony has the 895 op­er­at­ing along­side an 890.3 on the same clear-fell job.

“There’s a fair im­prove­ment in the load ca­pac­ity be­tween the 890.3 and the 895,” he says.

“Ba­si­cally, you could say it’s a bet­ter ma­chine over­all. How­ever, we have some prob­lems when it’s wet. It doesn’t seem to have the trac­tion like the 890.3, prob­a­bly be­cause of the big­ger wheels, you may be able to put it down to the lower ground pres­sure, we have worked around this prob­lem a lit­tle by in­stalling TRS tyres on the front, gen­er­ally the 895 is a bet­ter ma­chine over­all. “

There are ob­vi­ously a lot of pos­i­tives about the 895 as Anthony is await­ing de­liv­ery of an­other 895 to work in eu­ca­lypt plan­ta­tions clear-fell job.

Alan Hoff­man (Hoff­man Bros, Vic­to­ria) is an­other with ex­pe­ri­ence with both the 890 and the 895 and he main­tains the 895 is a “def­i­nite im­prove­ment” ... not to say that the 890 is not a good ma­chine ei­ther!

“There’s a big im­prove­ment in the fuel burn,” he says, “and the vi­sion and the er­gonomics and over­all com­fort for the op­er­a­tor are great.”

Alan has two 895s work­ing along­side an 890.1 in the Green Tri­an­gle (blue gum clear-fall for chip ex­port) plus an­other cou­ple of Tim­ber­pro 840s to cover the work.

He says the crane op­er­a­tion is a lot more pre­cise and smoother, and the bet­ter ground clear­ance is a plus.

Again, over­all, Alan says the 895 is a def­i­nite im­prove­ment on the 890.

■ Ko­matsu 895 clear­fall.

■ 890... and the 895.

■ Blue Gum.

■ Ko­matsu 895 full load eu­ca­lypt.

■ Pine clear­fall.

■ Pine thin­nings.

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