LOGGING-ON: FEBRUARY 2018

Logging-on’s first issue of February brings news of the acquisition of Quadco and Southstar by Komatsu. This will allow them to offer their customers a full range of forestry attachments. Quadco and Southstar will continue to operate as independent companies. We examine interesting research that examined the costs and efficiency of logging contractors operating in plantations in certain South American countries. Rotochopper provides invaluable advice on how best to maintain your grinder during very cold winter conditions. UD Trucks has launched their Quester and Croner models in certain Latin American markets. Finally, Bandit has announced two major building addition projects for 2018 to improve spare parts management and increase production capacity.

Now to the newsletter!

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Komatsu to acquire Quadco and Southstar operations

Both Quadco and Southstar will continue to operate as independent companies.

Komatsu Ltd. has signed an agreement to acquire from Prenbec Equipment Inc., a company based in Quebec, Canada, the Quadco and Southstar forestry attachment operations, excluding the forestry equipment businesses of Tanguay and Forespro delimbers. The acquisition will be made through a wholly owned subsidiary of Komatsu in the United States and is expected to close in February 2018, subject to completion of the closing conditions.

In April 2016, Komatsu launched a plan for growth. In line with this plan, Komatsu decided to make this acquisition and expand its forestry attachment business. Forestry attachments are classified into two categories: the Cut to Length (CTL) method, which involves the use of a harvester and forwarder and is popular in Europe, and the Full Tree Length (FTL) logging method, which involves the use of a felling head attached to a base-machine and a skidder, which is popular in North America. The global market for forestry machines, including forestry attachments, is continuing to grow at a rapid rate. It is anticipated that there will be good growth in the North American market, where FTL is the dominant method.

By adding the Quadco felling heads and Southstar large harvester heads to the existing lines of Log Max and Komatsu small and medium-sized harvester heads, Komatsu will become an industry leader in forestry attachments. This will allow Komatsu to offer its customers a full range of forestry attachments. Quadco and Southstar will continue to operate as independent companies within the Komatsu group following the completion of the acquisition and will maintain their existing sales networks. In order to offer improved value to customers, a forestry attachment division within Komatsu Forest AB will be formed, which will manage the Quadco, Southstar, and Log Max brands. Source 

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Harvesting contractor production and costs in South America

Researchers investigated costs in the plantations of Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay.

Timber production from forest plantations has increased substantially in many countries, but most noticeably in South America in the last few decades. Logging contractors carry out most of the work. Researchers developed production and cost functions for logging contractors working in plantations in Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. The information was obtained by surveying 67 logging contractors. 22 contractors were surveyed in Argentina, 35 in Brazil and 10 in Uruguay between 2008 and 2012. 21% of contracting firms in specific regions of the countries were sampled. These contractors have an annual production of 17.7 million cubic meters.

In all three countries, the greatest roundwood demand came from pulp and paper companies. Large pulp and paper companies lead the forest economy and logging contracts in each of these countries. These companies usually drive the technological change and increase mechanization and other changes in logging firms. The contractors were characterised into large companies (> 100,000 tons/month), medium (20,000 to 100,000 tons/month) and small (< 20,000 tons/month). The largest logging firm production levels were in Brazil. In Argentina, no company produced more than 50,000 tons per month, while in Brazil four of 35 companies evaluated exceeded 50,000 tons, and Uruguay only one out of 10.

The felling methods differed across the three countries with feller bunchers being most common in Argentina, roadside processors (excavators with harvester heads) being most common in Brazil, and harvesters in Uruguay. In Uruguay, the harvester-forwarder system has been widely adopted, mostly for clearfelling eucalypts. This system is similar to that used in Scandinavia, where the parent companies of the forest owners in Uruguay are located.

The contractors considered species, operations, contractors and mechanization in their analysis. Total costs per firm were higher in Uruguay than Argentina and Brazil. The average cost per ton was also higher in Uruguay. Factors such as species, type of harvesting operation, and mechanization did not produce significant differences for total cost or cost per ton. Mechanized logging firms did not show cost differences compared with half mechanized, but had significantly larger production outputs. Uruguay had better logging contract prices, but lower profits due to the higher costs. Firms in Uruguay had much less business experience, which results in lower efficiency. The larger logging companies (those which are mechanized or working for pulp and paper companies), are more efficient between 50,000 and 100,000 tons by month. Decreasing costs were encountered with increasing production, being related to the economies of scale, where larger companies spread out their fixed costs more than smaller companies. Small logging contractors who wanted to increase production from 5000 to 10,000 tons per month would have doubled its total monthly cost. Therefore, this is the most difficult stage of growth for logging companies, especially if it is difficult to access capital.

The machine population in Uruguay is much newer than in the other regions due to more recent mechanization, so its capital costs were higher. All the major logging cost components were more expensive in Uruguay, including equipment depreciation, wages, fuel, and administration. Rates would have to increase in Uruguay or high contractor failure could occur. Uruguay also might shift more to grapple-skidder feller-buncher systems if they prove to be cheaper there than the harvester-forwarder systems.

The research was published in the International Journal of Forest Engineering, volume 28 (3) of 2017. The authors are P Mac Donagh, G Botta, T Schlichter and F Cubbage. Source

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Tips for managing your grinder in winter

Rotochopper gives is information to keep grinder uptime high in very cold weather.

The following tips will help you get through winter productively:

  • Install the correct lubricants and condition hydraulic hoses. Reference your manual ensuring fluid levels and grade are correct. The outer wrapper of hydraulic hoses can crack when flexed in colder temperatures. For best results, apply an arctic hydraulic oil for colder months, and normal machine use will condition the hydraulic hoses.
  • Store equipment in enclosed storage facilities and keep fluids at room temperature. Keep your machine out of the elements when not in use for an easier start and less time spent brushing off accumulated snow.
  • Use block heaters. This increases the temperatures of the engine and hydraulic fluid. To help speed the warm-up process, block the radiator to restrict cold air from the fan.
  • Keep batteries fully charged and warm. It takes nearly twice as many cranking amps to turn over your battery in cold weather, so keep it charged and warm for easy starting. If you’re working in sub-zero temperatures, keeping the battery indoors at room temperature when not in use may help.
  • Run the engine until it reaches operating temperature. Prevent the intake and exhaust valves from sticking by running your engine until it reaches operating temperature before you begin each day’s work.
  • Ensure your tires are properly inflated. Check your tires at the beginning of every work day to make sure they’re filled to the proper amounts.
  • Conduct a visual inspection. Check for cracks, cuts and worn spots on all hydraulic hoses, belts and tires each day before starting operations. Remove any snow, dirt and debris from machine.
  • Store Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) properly. DEF freezes after prolonged exposure to temperatures of 12F (-11C) or lower. Make sure the area you store it is well-insulated. DEF does thaw out, so store the fluid in an appropriate container to avoid bursting during expansion.
  • Fill the fuel tank at the end of a shift. Avoid a frozen fuel tank in the morning by filling up at the end of each day.

Source

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UD Trucks launches its Quester and Croner models in four Latin American markets

The trucks are designed for the harsh operating conditions of developing countries.

UD Trucks has been active in Latin America for approximately 50 years. UD Trucks rolled out sales of its heavy-duty Quester and its new medium-duty Croner model in the four Latin American markets of Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and Trinidad and Tobago. The Quester and Croner offer a greater range of variants and options than existing models. The range is specifically built to endure the harsh environment of high altitude and many unsurfaced roads. The company’s heavy-duty models are widely deployed in road construction, infrastructure and other public projects, and occupy a large share of the market for mixers and tippers used in transporting natural resources. The Quester users a new rivetless frame and high-durability hub reduction, meeting the needs of local customers who demand high operational and economic performance.

Another addition to UD Trucks’ line-up is the GKE Tractor, which meets the needs of medium, long haul and inter-city transport of natural resources. The range of Gross Vehicle Weight options, previously 11 tons and 17 tons, has been expanded with the new Croner adding 13-ton LKE and 15-ton PKE versions. It also offers a wider choice of engine sizes and other options.

UD Trucks subjected Quester and Croner to rigorous high-altitude performance testing before introducing them to the market, including road testing for endurance at an altitude of 5,000 meters in Peru. Accordingly, all models are available in both right and left-hand drive.

In Bolivia the launch announcement was held simultaneously with the inauguration ceremony of a training center at the Santa Cruz-based company NIBOL Ltda. The facility is the first authorized training center of UD Trucks to be established inside an overseas distributor. It will start training drivers from 2018 and will also serve as a training hub for the neighbouring markets. Source

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Bandit Industries has announced two major building additions

This will expand production capacity and add a new parts and service facility,

Bandit will invest $ 1.4 million in the two expansions. Both are expected to come online in 2018. This is the second round of expansion in two years. Bandit expanded manufacturing space 18 months ago and revamped their assembly lines in anticipation of increased demand. Bandit added 38 people in 2017 and plan to add another 50 employees in 2018.

The new parts facility will also house a central receiving and distribution area, improving the flow of parts and materials to the six major manufacturing facilities. This will free up extra manufacturing space to further increase Bandit’s production capacity. Bandit has added more than a dozen dealers with over 30 total locations in the past two years.

Bandit indicated that as their dealer network expands, the need for parts expands along with it. The new facility will allow Bandit to respond rapidly to their dealers’ and customers’ parts requests, limiting their downtime. The parts and service expansion is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2018. As soon as that facility is completed, the second expansion will start that will add production space for new products Bandit intends to introduce in the third quarter of 2018. Source 

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Newsflash – What’s happening in Forest Engineering?

Morbark recognizes the achievements of eight of its top equipment dealers

The dealers are awarded Gold Tier status for 2018, based on their performance during the previous year. The industrial products dealers are Columbus Equipment, James River Equipment, C. Whitford Equipment and Tidewater Equipment. The tree care products dealers are Alexander Equipment, Bobcat of Buffalo, Schmidt Equipment and Stevens Products (New Zealand). Morbark dealers are reviewed and scored annually on their customer service, business plan, equipment and parts sales, service and warranty process, marketing efforts, and much more. Source

The Husqvarna Group presents positive results for 2017

Net sales increased to SEK 39,394m (2016: SEK 35,982), corresponding to a currency adjusted growth of 7%. Operating income rose to SEK 3,790m (2016: SEK 3,218) and the corresponding margin increased to 9.6% (8.9). Operating working capital as a percentage of net sales improved to 25.5% (26.6). Earnings per share after dilution increased 26% to SEK 4.62 (3.66). The Board has proposed an increase of the dividend to SEK 2.25 per share (1.95). Source

Fecon announces an extended warranty

Fecon can now provide an extended warranty on most of their products that include 2 year (3000 hour) and 3 year (5000 hour) packages. The products can be bundled at the time of purchase to make buying extended warranty for Fecon products easier. Fecon has chosen to partner with Glynn General for their industry experience believe that these tailored warranty products offer the best value for their customers. Source

John Deere release their 204L and 304L compact wheel loaders

The L-series models are built for tasks that require high productivity in small spaces and over rough terrain. They are equipped with features to minimize maintenance. Hydraulically released, self-adjusting park and service brakes, ground-level maintenance points accessibility and excellent cooler access provide safer and easier means of machine upkeep. The new models also offer extended service intervals for engine oil/filter, final drives oil and hydraulic oil. Owners have the option of selecting an enclosed cab or open station. Source

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Conferences and Exhibitions

To see the full list of conferences and exhibitions, please click on "Events" in the menu at the top of the page.

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Andrew McEwan & Michal Brink


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