Researchers examined trends in the development and sales of forwarders over time.
Forwarders have gone through substantial development during the more than 50 years they have been used in forestry. Researchers examined the technical parameters of forwarders sold in the Swedish market from 1962 to 2012, together with sales figures from 1975 to 2017. Data were collected from the original specifications from manufacturers, advertisements in old forestry magazines, Internet forums and from the literature. 51 forwarder manufacturing companies were identified, all located in Sweden or Finland, which during this time represented 361 models in total.
In Sweden, 12,602 forwarders were sold from 1975 to 2012. The trend for annual sales decreased until 1993 but since 2005 has increased to between 300 and 400 forwarders per year. Since 1995 annual sales in Sweden have been between four and six forwarders per million m3 of harvested industrial wood. Corresponding values for the years 1975 to 1984 were double that.
The results showed that the weight and load capacity of forwarders has increased over time, as well as engine power and torque per tonne total weight. Load index has decreased over time. The boom lifting capacity has increased over time, indicating larger and heavier booms. Ground pressure decreased from 1962 to 1985, but then remained stable. The data on maximum load show that the old definition of forwarder size-classes ( i.e. < 10 t, 10–12 t, and > 12 t), doesn’t correspond very well with the current range of forwarders on the market. About 60% of the forwarders in the present study that have been introduced into the Swedish market since 2000 fall into the largest size class according to this definition.
Technical developments in the area of automation and semi-automation will be important in improving the safety and productivity of harvesters and forwarders. The cooperation between harvester and forwarder work can also be further improved when the work is auto mated or semi-automated. The majority of wood extraction everywhere in the world, from flat or moderately steep terrain, will still be executed with ground-based machines, at least in the near future, because of a combination of economy and energy consumption. Damage to soils has been identified as one of the most important factors affecting the sustainability of future forestry. It is therefore easy to forecast that soil damage and machines for wood extraction will be even more important issues in the future.
The research was titled “The technical development of forwarders in Sweden between 1962 and 2012 and of sales between 1975 and 2017” and was published in the International Journal of Forest Engineering, Vol 30(1), 2019. The authors were T Nordfjell, E Öhman, O Lindroos and B Ager. Source