Forestry Services Ltd of Machynlleth, Powys has purchased a Volvo EC240C excavator and converted it to a bespoke, highly specified timber harvester for its thinning and clear fell contracts deep in the heart of the Cambrian mountains.
The new Volvo EC240C takes over as primary harvester for director Callum Campbell, and was chosen after a close evaluation of the market. “We needed a machine that had plenty of hydraulic horsepower to power our harvesting head coupled to a strong, rugged superstructure and undercarriage,” said Callum. “When we looked at what was available on the market we considered the Volvo product to be the most suitable carrier for our needs.”
Before the machine was to venture into the steeply graded woods and plantations surrounding Machynlleth however, a major customisation of the chassis, superstructure and hydraulic system was required and for this Mr Campbell turned to local fabrication experts T.A. Rees & Sons of Llanwrda. The additional modifications to the basic EC240C machine include heavy duty bottom skid plates to support the tracks’ running gear; additional cleats fitted to every third grouser to aid grip and traction; full cab and superstructure guarding featuring bolted sections which can easily be replaced if severely damaged; heavy duty 6mm thick belly plates and full side impact protection; reversible fan; two pump flow for the harvesting head and mesh screen guards. At the business end a purpose made nose cone fitted to the dipper arm supports a new Ponsse H7 harvesting head and all the hydraulic pipe work and connections are suitably protected against damage from falling trees and branches. In all it took two full months to convert the machine into a highly specified harvesting machine.
At the heart of the machine a 7 litre Tier III engine developing 170 nett hp operates in conjunction with an advanced mode control system ensuring the maximum possible hydraulic horsepower available is delivered at a constant engine speed under varying load conditions. There is plenty of power to provide a full, two pump flow for the needs of the Ponsse head and for tracking the machine in difficult undulating terrain. Each track is powered by an automatic two speed shift travel motor providing a maximum drawbar pull of 209kN on gradients up to 35º. The new recruit will be put to work on thinning and clear fell duties primarily on major contracting duties on behalf of the Forestry Commission Wales in the Cambrian Mountains in west Powys.