Ko­matsu For­est har­vest­ing heads work­ing well….

Australian Forests and Timber - - Head-Lines -

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.

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