The variable Active Load Space (ALS) has been exclusive to John Deere since it was launched at Elmia Wood in 2001. The solution has two key functions: first, the bunks can be widened, the load space lengthened, and the load stakes can be raised, and second, the load space rests on hydraulic springs that also measure the load weight and bearing pressure in real time.
“Independent tests show that John Deere’s ALS-equipped forwarder is the world’s most efficient round timber forwarder,” says Hultdins’ CEO Johan Ridderstråle.
Other manufacturers have their own solutions but now John Deere’s ten-year exclusive right on the ALS has expired and the system is available for everyone. In theory it can be retrofitted to existing forwarders.
“But it may not be economically justifiable to do that to older machines,” Johan warns.
Hultdins is now releasing three sizes of the ALS system to be available to all manufacturers.
In addition, the company has launched a new biofuel insert for the two largest versions that allows the load space to be expanded from 28 to 75 cubic metres. The built-in weighing function is especially important when loading slash, in order to optimise hauling.
But the major innovation is an active load space for thinning forwarders of 10 to 15 tonnes. This load space has several new functions to optimise loading in stands and hauling. The load space can be widened less than on the bigger machines, by 1 metre instead of 1.6. The two-part load stakes have also become three-part and can be both lowered and raised more, from just over 1 metre to 2.4.
“True, no one builds such a high load, but in their highest position the load stakes provide a reference point when the grapple is releasing its logs into the load space,” Johan says.
The innovation that attracted most attention at SkogsElmia was that the load space for thinnings can be tilted by ±12.5 degrees. The larger models can be tilted by 8 degrees. This function simplifies work when the machine is operating at an angle, and can be used to reposition the centre of gravity sideways on soft ground.
Finally, the load space is now equipped with a new grille. This can be lowered to give the operator a free line of sight, and the protective flat metal strips have also been replaced with cables to provide better visibility when the grille is raised.