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Meeting Extreme expectations
Carroll Enterprises of New Brunswick--no stranger to LogMax heads--is working with the first 7000 Extreme head to be sold in North America, a unit that has met all their performance and production expectations.
By George Fullerton
After they had clocked some 16,000 hours on their LogMax 7000B harvester head, Carroll Enterprises decided it was time to consider replacing the aging piece. And having reviewed what was on offer in harvesting heads, they came home with a new LogMax model--in fact, the first 7000 Extreme head to be sold in North America.
After operating the head in the woods of central New Brunswick, Keith Carroll said the choice of the new 7000XT model was the correct one, pointing out that the unit has met all their performance and production expectations.
"The new 7000 Extreme head has more power and it helps make our operation quite a bit more productive," says Keith Carroll. "We were also very happy with the support that LogMax Forestry in Moncton provided us, both with getting the options we wanted and getting their support to get the head working."
Eddie Carroll began Carroll Enterprises as a cable logging operation, contracting for regional mills in the 1960s and 1970s. The business advanced to mechanized harvesting and eventually became established as a major contractor for Bowater, operating on their freehold and Crown land operations. Carroll Enterprises began working for Irving Woodlands' Doaktown District in 2006, after Irving purchased Bowater's freehold lands and sawmill at Baker Lake.
Eddie continues to live at Carroll Crossing, near the Village of Doaktown in the geographic centre of New Brunswick. He raises and shows Percheron draft horses, and keeps a close eye on the business side of Carroll Enterprises, while his sons Keith and Donnie supervise the operations.
The Carrolls have an extensive track record with LogMax, starting out in 1993 with the purchase of the first 650 model sold in eastern Canada. Over the years, the Carrolls have purchased seven more LogMax heads, including 750's, 7000A's and 7000B's.
"The 7000XT head is delivering the performance we were looking for," said Keith. "It's a major advance over the 7000B model that we replaced."
Carroll Enterprises' equipment inventory includes two harvesters, a LogMax 7000 Extreme and a 7000B, onTigercat 845 carriers, two Tigercat 860s operating Hornet processors, and two bunchers: a Tigercat 822 and a John Deere 608.
The forwarding team is made up of a 16 tonne Rottne 8wd, a 14 tonne Timber King 6wd, and two 14 tonne Fabteks. The Carrolls operate three log trucks and a 320 Cat loader, as well as a dedicated truck for float service. All the equipment and trucks are operated on a double 12 hour shift basis, starting work Sunday night, and wrapping things up Friday night.
The Carrolls operate with four full time mechanics. Keith and his brother Donnie also fill in as mechanics when required. Carroll Enterprises directly employs around thirty people.
Keith explained that the installation of the 7000XT was more or less a bolt-on exercise since it replaced the 7000B head.
"We bolted it on, hooked up the hydraulics and plugged it into the Minmat computer we had for the 7000B, and it went right to work. As far as operating the head was concerned, the operator had the same controls for a familiar looking head, but with a lot more power.
"We have our harvesters in a variety of stand types, and inevitably they will deal with large limby hardwoods and softwoods with large limb collars every shift," he added. "The 7000 Extreme is better able to handle those tough trees."
Rob Moran, with LogMax Forestry, explained that the 7000XT features more metal and bigger power and was designed specifically for tracked forestry carrier applications.
"The Extreme has a stronger and newly designed link, a beefier rotator, bigger stronger delimbing knives and the frame wear plates are heavier," he says. "The XT gained 400 kilograms over the 7000B." The Carrolls opted for fixed displacement drive motors which have higher torque than the variable displacement motors, he added.
The redesign work that went into the Extreme was specifically aimed at developing a head that can take full advantage of the power and oil flow capacities of purpose built tracked forestry machines like the Tigercat 845, Moran says.
The new Extreme head features more than fifty updates over the 7000B. The saw bar has grown to 86 cm and is powered by a 30 cc motor which gives 60 per cent more torque. The top knife is redesigned and the delimbing arms are 40 per cent thicker. The Carrolls opted for the 1259 cc fixed displacement feed wheel motors, over the variable displacement offering. Log Max contends that the new K 170 hydraulic manifold will provide higher flow and results in lower pressure drops on the feed rollers. The newly designed Toplink is cast in one piece and provides 133 degree tilting angle which provides greater operational flexibility in steep terrain.
Moran explained that contractors like the Carrolls have provided a lot of input to LogMax over the years, which has been incorporated in the design of the 7000XT.
"People like the Carrolls have helped to build this head. As long term LogMax head users, they have participated in service meetings and had direct input to LogMax development personnel on performance of the products--and improvements to the LogMax products that have made them more productive and reliable."
LogMax has made a determined effort to dialogue with contractors and together they have built a very tough and powerful head that really performs. "There is very seldom a stem that presents a real problem for the 7000XT. This head will set a new performance standard for big timber processing in different forest types, right across North America," added Moran.
Moran began supervising skidder crews out of forestry school in1986. In the early 1990s he trained and worked as a harvester operator for several years before he landed a job with Rocan, where he worked as a trainer and service rep, and later as salesman.
"When processors were first imported into North America, the European manufacturers could not comprehend the demands of contractors for stronger frames and components, better guarding and hose routing," said Moran. "They simply did not understand the challenges that our type of forests presented. The Europeans have a much cleaner understory and there are fewer problems with environmental hazards than we have hiding in the understory in our forest."
North America also has a greater diversity of species and lots of hardwoods. "Very different than European forests and a lot more challenges for the equipment."
"LogMax, in my experience, was one of the best when it came to listening to the customer, in order to make improvements to the product. That customer-manufacturer relationship that LogMax incubated has resulted in a constantly improving product that sits in the top tier of processing technology" said Moran.
Keith Carroll underlined Moran's point. "When we started out with the first 650, there was almost no guarding on it," he said. "We have very poor visibility at the stump level in most of our stand types because of the natural regeneration and other natural growth. Sometimes you might think you are pushing fir bushes out of the way and you are surprised when a hidden stem ends up breaking a hose."
Jeremy Lyons has been operating the 7000XT since it started on Carroll operations. "There is no comparison, this head is miles ahead of the old head," stated Lyons.
"This new head has a lot more limbing power than the 7000B, and the Tigercat has a lot of lifting and swing power--they make an awesome team. The 7000XT is very well matched to the Tigercat." There is a marked performance improvement over the 7000 and it is cutting a lot more wood, he added.
Lyons explained that he usually operates the head on automatic, and he seldom has to make a second delimbing pass on a stem. The feed wheels are equipped with thumbnail dogs that will provide traction for feeding in either direction when necessary.
Anyone interested in having an operator's view of the LogMax 7000XT in action can access a video Jeremy has posted on You Tube. Simply, search 'LogMax 7000XT on Tigercat'.
The service Carroll Enterprises receives from LogMax complements the performance of the heads, says Keith Carroll.
"LogMax service has always supported us well over the years and we've never lost more than a few hours per year due to breakdowns. When we need technical support or parts, they respond right away and have us going in no time. That service helps sell us on the LogMax product and we certainly appreciate it."
It's amazing what the people at LogMax have accomplished over the years in technical development and added performance of their product, he said. And it's clear that performance impresses equipment operators. "Our operators are key to our business success, so their feedback is crucial when making decisions on what equipment to purchase. We are confident that our choice to get the 7000XT was the correct one."
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