Featuring 300-plus exhibitors, £50m-worth of working machinery and a two thousand metre trail of demonstrations, the APF Exhibition is the UK’s largest forestry-based event. James Rickard checks out some of the machinery and technology on display. Pictures by Geoff Ashcroft.
Attracting approximately 22,000 visitors over its three days, the biennial APF Exhibition is the UK’s largest forestry, woodland, arboriculture, fencing and biomass show.
As well as forestry, woodland and tree care industries, it also has a strong focus on the farming industry with many machines and pieces of equipment designed for woodland and estate management. In addition, fencing and biomass sectors feature strongly.
To get a glimpse of what is on the market for such enterprises, and possibly spark some diversification ideas, we toured the extensive static and working plots of the event.
Judging by the sheer number of Valtra tractors scattered throughout the APF site, it is clear the Finish manufacturer is the tree fellers’ tractor of choice. Spawned form the harsh wintery Scandinavian environment, Valtra tractors have developed an enviable reputation when it comes to coping with tough, and particularly cold conditions. As such, they have become very popular throughout the forestry industry.
Showing off a wider utilisation of tractors, Valtra dealer Lister Wilder displayed a trio of its T Series machines. Modifications take place at Valtra’s own Unlimited studio, whereby all levels of customisation can be catered to, from a simple paint job to transforming a rigid tractor into an articulation machine. In this case, a Jake sub-frame, Kelsa crane, Twin Trac reverse drive controls, Sky View roof, and cab protection bars were all fitted. Despite this, access to the rear linkage and pickup hitch are not compromised, allowing the tractor to tow a logging trailer or chipper, for example.
And once logging duties are finished, the crane can be dropped off on its stand, allowing the tractor to get back to some farming, says the manufacturer. As shown, the converted tractors retail for approximately £150,000, and come with a full manufacturer’s warranty for all modifications carried out in the Unlimited studio.
Taking care of loading, cutting and splitting, Ryetec was demonstrating its CP1000Eco wood processing machine. Designed to be simple to use and maintain, the 1.2 tonne machine is carried on a tractor’s three-point linkage, is pto powered and requires a minimum of 60hp.
Cutting is taken care of via a one metre diameter saw blade, said to be faster than a chain saw type, producing less waste too. Splitting force is 13 tonnes, and a choice of axe heads can be used to split would two, four, six or eight ways. Up to 400mm diameter timber can be handled, with up to 500mm long logs produced.
Comfortable throughput of the machine is said to be 18 to 20 tonnes per day. Logs are discharged via a conveyor, while loading can be taken care of via an optional, hydraulically-operated loading cradle. The CP1000Eco retails at £18,000, with the smaller CP800Eco model also available.
Forestry and firewood machinery specialist Fuelwood sported an impressive array of German-made Heizohack wood chippers on its stand. Of potential interest for those who may be thinking of diversifying is the HM8-400KF; eight relating to the number of blades across the width of the chopping cylinder, 400 being the diameter of the cylinder in mm, F the type of chassis used, and K meaning it has been fitted with a crane.
As well as the chopping cylinder, all of the chipper’s hydraulic functions are also pto-powered. Minimum power requirement for the trailed chipper is 130hp. If chopping cylinder speed drops below a certain level, feed rotor drive is cut and momentarily reversed, until cylinder speed rises again.
Processing throughput is said to be about 12 to 15 tonnes per hour. In timber industry speak, G30 and G50 chip dimensions can be produced. Specified with feed-in table, crane and floatation tyres, the HM8-400KF retails for about £65,000.
Built by Scottish firm Jas P Wilson, its range of Botex forestry trailers extends from six to 15 tonne capacities, with this flagship GR15 Bigfoot certainly catching the eye.
Seen here fitted with a 570 timber loader with a 6.75m reach, this all in one machine is capable of handling 15 tonnes and features an extendable load bed up to 5.8m. The latter offers the ability to carry two bays of three metre timber – an increasingly important concern for those forwarding biomass lengths, says the manufacturer.
Sat on 600/50 R22.5 tyres, it also gets a hydraulically-steerable drawbar and four wheel hydraulic braking. The crane’s grab opens to 1.45m and can lift two tonnes close to the trailer. All hydraulics are pto-powered, with electronic control for all elements.
As specced here, the GR15 retails at £29,950.
Shown attached to one of its Menzie Muck M545 walking excavators, Kendal-based company Excavate presented a set of French-made Seve tree shears.
Said to be ideal for ‘knocking back’ overhanging trees along farm tracks and around field headlands, the hydraulically-operated shear is guaranteed to cut 400mm at 260 bar of hydraulic pressure, says the manufacturer.
The 790kg attachment comprises two grabs, offering a secure hold of the tree or branch. It can be used with just about any machine from a 360 excavator to a telehandler, says the manufacturer, featuring two mounting points allowing it to be used either horizontally or vertically, depending on job. It retails at £19,000.
Part of a range of mulchers offered by Spaldings, farmers and contractors may find this TFK 225 model ideal for clearing pathways or areas of land from tree stumps and brash.
Suitable for tractors up to 180hp, this Spanish-made machine has a working width of 2.25 meters and can cope with just about any wood-based material you can throw at it, says the manufacturer.
Its 450mm diameter rotor is driven by 10 belts, and can be fitted with a choice of tips depending on job.
Weighing in at 1.9 tonnes, the machine comes as standard with a hydraulically-operated rake and two-position skids. A hydraulically-operated hood controls material flow and level of mulching. As shown, the mulcher retails for just under £35,000.
Rather than just relying on brute force and ignorance, perhaps a purpose-built tree winch might be a safer and more productive option. There were plenty to choose from at the event, but Marshall Logging showed a particularly impressive line-up with machine line pull capacities ranging from 3.5 to 10 tonnes.
Built in Slovenia, the pto-powered Krpan range comprises two versions of each model; EH which gets remote control and manual E models. Depending on model, double or single drum machines can be specified. As can a hydraulically operated butt plate, to hold the machine in position. For a 10 tonne capacity model, a 180hp tractor is recommended, more for its weight, rather than its power.
Prices for the E-spec machines start from £1,800, rising to £17,000 for a top-spec double winch machine.
Famous for its range of agricultural attachments, Cherry Products is also no stranger when it comes to handling wood. Its stand featured a pair of log grabs representing a line-up which ranges from 1.2m to 2.4m (four to eight feet) in width.
The largest model (pictured), features two hydraulically-operated claws for grabbing logs/branches. Though the claws are on the same hydraulic circuit, oil is free to flow between the two, allowing the claws to grab hold of uneven sized loads.
Suitable for telehandlers and loading shovels, the grab also gets a row of ‘floating’ tines, allowing tines to track over obstacles when raking up branches, for example. This model will handle 1.2m diameter loads and retails at £4,140 plus VAT.
Designed to offer more control over tree felling, Molson Green showed a new attachment it is distributing.
Suited to most excavators, the Vosch tree felling attachments use a chain saw rather than shears, offering a cleaner cut, says the manufacturer. In addition, the speed of the saw is geared low for high torque cutting. This, it says, allows the saw to be better matched to the hydraulics of most excavators, and provides a safer cut, particularly when multiple branches are to be cut at once. A visual indicator on the attachment shows the position of the saw.
For improved tree handling, the grab’s 360 degree pivot point uses four slew motors instead of worm drives, offering four tonnes of rotation force.
The smallest model in the range, suited to 13 tonne machines, can handle up to 450mm diameter trees, while the largest can cope with trees up to 1.3m in diameter. Prices start from £35,000.
Adding to the convenience of its line-up of tilt rotators, Steelwrist has developed a version which will also automatically couple all electric and hydraulic functions. As the name suggests, tilt rotators add extra articulation to excavators, offering 360 degree swiveling of attachments along with the ability to tilt them from side to side.
The new SQ Auto Connection tilt rotators range features models suitable for excavators up to 32 tonnes, and compatible with the popular use of OilQuick couplings. Rather than reinventing the wheel, the new couplers are based around the use of a symmetrical wedge-based locking mechanism – already widely accepted in many industries.
Features include dust protection for the connectors, via a simple mechanical flap, and front pin locking as standard, preventing any accidental attachment releases.
No tree management operations are complete without a chainsaw, and Stihl’s latest creation uses computer controlled fuel delivery, making its new MS462 easier to operate.
Replacing the MS461, the chainsaw’s ‘M-Tronic’ electronics offer automatic control over the carburettor and ignition timing, constantly adapting to changes in working conditions such as air temperature, altitude and fuel quality. In many cases, this is said to prevent the over use of fuel, making the chainsaw more efficient.
Retaining its 70cc engine, the new 6kg model is lighter, receives improved saw dust flow, and features captive nuts on the chain sprocket – the latter avoiding frustrating nut losses. Aimed at the volume market, the MS462 can be specified with up to a 635mm bar, and retails at £970 plus vat.
Next year will see full fuel injection technology introduced to its MS500i chainsaw.