Komatsu’s new harvester takes over manual work

Forest machines are now also doing felling work in steep terrain that was previously done manually. That’s one of the reasons why Komatsu developed its new 901XC harvester, which had its world premiere at Elmia Wood.

The new Komatsu 901XC harvester had its world premiere at Elmia Wood.

The machine is an eight-wheeled harvester for doing thinning and final felling in sparser stands. This number of wheels is becoming the standard on harvesters, which is not only due to forest owners’ demands for lower ground pressure, as Tobias Ettemo explains:

“It’s also the result of the EU Water Framework Directive,which requires that machines do not leave deep ruts in the forest.”

Komatsu has chosen an unusual solution to how the eight wheels are arranged. The basic machine with six wheels has swing arms on the single wheel pair. The swing arms are in the same place but the machine now has yet another bogie. The combination of the swing arms and the extra bogie results in a very stable machine, which is needed when felling on steep slopes and with a very extended boom.

“The whole machine has a more sturdy construction so it can handle more demanding tasks. Many solutions come from the larger 931XC,” Ettemo says.

At Elmia Wood Komatsu also launched two more world firsts. Both are options for forwarders. The first is called SmartFlow and is an innovation for crane control. The heart of the design is an intelligent hydraulic valve that senses the load and compensates for changes. The result is that oscillations in the hydraulic pressure are dampened and the entire crane feels more stable and easier to control.

“The difference is greater in reality than can be described with words and technical data,” explains Per Annemalm of Komatsu. “That’s why visitors to the fair got to try out the solution in practice. They’ve really pushed the boundaries and the response has been very positive.”

Up to 70 percent of the work of a forwarder consists of operating the crane. The result is that SmartFlow, as well as making the operator’s job easier, also saves four percent in fuel consumption during an operating cycle. The function is an option on Komatsu’s forwarders.

The other innovation is called SpeedShift. The powertrain has two motors with the hydrostatic drive so the operator does not have to use a mechanical gearbox. SpeedShift works a bit like an automatic gearbox that enables the engine to run on optimal revs from crawling along to top speed.

“In practice, operators rarely stop to change gears using the manual gearbox. This solution does so automatically, and the result is smoother driving, a higher average speed and lower fuel consumption,” Annemalm concludes.

Published
6/8/2017
Images
Tobias Ettemo of Komatsu shows one of the swing arms, which combined with a bogie and eight wheels makes the new Komatsu 901XC more stable and versatile.
Tobias Ettemo of Komatsu shows one of the swing arms, which combined with a bogie and eight wheels makes the new Komatsu 901XC more stable and versatile.
The new Komatsu 901XC harvester had its world premiere at Elmia Wood.
The new Komatsu 901XC harvester had its world premiere at Elmia Wood.
Forwarders from Komatsu can now be equipped with something that resembles an automatic gearbox and replaces the previous mechanical gearbox that accompanied the hydrostatic drive.
Forwarders from Komatsu can now be equipped with something that resembles an automatic gearbox and replaces the previous mechanical gearbox that accompanied the hydrostatic drive.
At Elmia Wood contractors got to try out Komatsu’s new SmartFlow crane control. It dampens oscillations in the hydraulic pressure and saves four percent in fuel during an entire operating cycle.
At Elmia Wood contractors got to try out Komatsu’s new SmartFlow crane control. It dampens oscillations in the hydraulic pressure and saves four percent in fuel during an entire operating cycle.