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HARVESTING

Going Going Gone! 

The new Timberjack 1110 forwarder goes just about anywhere for contractor L & E MacGrath Brothers Enterprises in Nova Scotia. 

By Stephen Bornais 

Operator Gerard MacPherson is hauling 11 tonnes of pulp and saw logs behind him and the steep rise up ahead has him concerned. MacPherson is driving a Timberjack 1110 forwarder with its 4.9 metre bunk fully loaded. The trail he's on is thick with snow. Spruce and fir branches have been laid down to provide extra traction. But MacPherson-while anxious-is also confident this machine won't let him down. And it doesn't. With a deep growl, the 1110 powers its way up the rise and out to the landing where MacPherson unloads the wood. 

Operator Gerard MacPherson (top) likes the speed and dexterity of the Timberjack 1110. Ellis MacGrath (bottom) appreciates the reduced ground disturbance of the unit.

He has become quite a fan of the 1110 in the year he has operated it on behalf of L& E MacGrath Brothers Enterprises, a small logging operation combined with a trucking business located in Aspen, Guysborough County, on Nova Scotia's eastern shore. As the man who spends the most time in the 1110, MacPherson likes the creature comforts it affords. He finds the fully enclosed allseason cab warm and relatively quiet with noise levels below 72 decibels at full operation. There's plenty of visibility and he's able to pick up the wood a lot easier, compared to the older units, MacPherson says. 

The 1110 is smaller than other Timberjack forwarders and is priced accordingly, which explains in part why many Maritime contractors are looking at it so favourably. The machine is manufactured in Woodstock, Ontario and is similar but not identical to earlier models that have been available in Europe for several years. The heart of the 1110 is a Cummins 6BTA5.9 six-cylinder turbo that produces 167 horsepower to the eight-wheel drive that carries the machine's 15-tonne mass. It's that power that MacPherson calls on to drive up those rises. Carl Holman is sales representative for Lounsbury Industrial in Truro, Nova Scotia, the equipment dealer with distribution rights for Timberjack in the three Maritime Provinces. 

Since the machine was first introduced into the region in early 2000, Holman has sold five units in Nova Scotia and another five in neighbouring New Brunswick. Holman says the 1110 was introduced in response to market demand for a machine with an 11-tonne capacity and a forwarder that could help loggers meet new ISO requirements that call for minimal ground disturbance during harvesting. 

As the person with the main responsibility for selling the 1110, Holman says he's been most impressed with its durability and robustness, critical features in keeping what is still an expensive piece of machinery on the job and producing. The eight-wheeled 1110 is far kinder to the forest floor than its four-wheel competitors, Holman says, and has created a strong demand in the marketplace. "It's been great so far," he says. "The machine is a real producer." The North American model has a more rugged build than its European counterparts, which tend to be used more for plantation-type harvesting operations, Holman says. 

On this side of the Atlantic, loggers are working mainly in natural stands in harsher terrain. "It's built North American-tough," Holman says. The 1110 units in the woods today come pretty much as is from the factory, with only minor modifications-usually improved fire suppression systems-added on. The 1110 has opened up an entirely new market for Lounsbury since it doesn't compete in the same niche as the larger forwarders the company also sells. And in Nova Scotia, at least, there are a lot more smaller producers than bigger ones. "There are far more potential homes for the 1110," Holman says. 

He sees a strong future for the 1110 units in the Maritimes where it could likely replace many of the older four-wheeled forwarders still working in the region's woodlands. And with its 11-tonne capacity and greater speed, Holman says it can often replace two of the older machines, saving money on labour costs, fuel and maintenance. "It allows producers to do more processing in the field," he says. Unlike the 1410 and the 1710-more popular with larger contractors -the 1110 features Timberjack's Loader Control System (LCS), a load-sensing hydraulic system which controls hydraulic flow to all loader functions. The LCS on the 1110 is a simpler version of the more highly-sophisticated TMC. The main advantage of the LCS is its cost. For loggers looking to save a few dollars, it is a more affordable, but still capable, control system. Margins for operators are constantly being squeezed, Holman says, "so they look for affordability where they can." The 1110 has worked well, at least so far. "I like it great but right now it's not quite a year old yet," said Ellis MacGrath earlier this year. 

In a visit by Logging and Sawmilling Journal to the MacGrath Brothers operation earlier this year, the 1110 was proving its stuff in steep and snowy ground. Ellis MacGrath says the unit really drives through the snow, with a lot less chatter than his old machines.

He co-owns L & E along with his brother Lloyd. Ellis notes that it's long-term performance that counts with logging equipment, however. "Ask me in five years about the machine, and I'll be able to tell you a lot more." MacGrath runs the forwarder one 12- to 15-hour shift a day. As of earlier this year, it had piled up more than 1,800 hours with no major downtime. L & E is one of the smaller operations targeted by Lounsbury as 1110 buyers. The 15-year old company, which also runs four logging trucks, operates mostly in the mixed-wood forests of Antigonish and Guysborough counties. The MacGraths harvest about 10,000 cords a year from lands on which they purchase the timber and do contract hauling of another 5,000 cords. The bulk of the pulpwood cut goes to the nearby StoraEnso supercalendar mill while sawlogs are trucked west to the MacTara saw mill in Musquodoboit, about an hour away. 

MacGrath also takes hardwood for firewood as well as some for a chipping plant in Sheet Harbour, which then exports the product to the Far East. Earlier this year, MacGrath was working near Tracadie, Guysborough County, located about 20 minutes from the Canso Causeway. MacGrath said Lounsbury knew he was looking for a new machine to replace his Timberjack 230 forwarder and the company suggested he test out the 1110. He and a friend, who was also looking for a new forwarder, tried out the 1110 and one offered by another manufacturer. 

The friend took the other machine and MacGrath opted for the Timberjack. The two still rib each other about who came out best. "I got a better machine than he did, I'm sure of that now," MacGrath says. "He won't tell me, but I've heard he's not completely satisfied since he got a machine that's a little too light for his needs." MacGrath says the 1110 was a better fit for his needs, which called for a more capable machine. "You can load faster, you can come out faster and you can see better," he says. 

This is the sixth forwarder MacGrath has bought from Lounsbury, although several of them were second-hand machines. MacGrath, like Holman, appreciates the reduced ground disturbance from the 1110 compared to his previous unit, a 230 machine. "There's less damage and they will go where a four-wheel drive won't go," he says. "Traction-wise, it really surprised me." That go-anywhere feature has been especially welcomed by MacGrath this past year as the province endured its worst winter in a decade. 

That meant waist-deep snow and frigid temperatures. MacGrath says the 1110 really drives through the snow, with a lot less chatter than his older machines. L& E has chains for the front tires but so far, they haven't been needed. "The 1110 puts the snow down ahead of the wheels," MacGrath says. The forwarder is run together with a two-year-old Komatsu harvester armed with a Logmax head. 

MacGrath said the two machines are a good fit, although the forwarder can move more wood than the harvester can cut. Both MacGrath and MacPherson are impressed by the strength and agility of the telescopic boom and grapple. Working in the mixed-wood forest of northern Nova Scotia means plenty of sorting and MacGrath says they have often sorted as many as 10 different grades of wood, a time-consuming, therefore expensive, process. "The machine is pretty slick for that because you can move and pick up a couple of sticks without even turning around in the seat," MacGrath says. 

MacPherson is impressed with the speed but also the dexterity of the unit, demonstrated when he picked a small branch out of the loaded bunk and tossed it over the side. "If you see a log falling off, you can catch it with this before it comes off," MacPherson says. The equipment package includes a Hultdins SG260 grapple that can take up to 3.5 tonnes, a load limit often tested by MacPherson. "It will pick up three huge logs and throw them up there like nothing," he says.

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