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A Roadside System

In northwest BC, contractor Dave Zielke averages 27 loads a day with a mixed fleet that includes some interesting new iron from Hitachi, Madill, Cat, Pierce and Gilbert-Tech.  By Jim Stirling
Copyright 1998. Contact publisher for permission to use. 

Neat. The word is more than a trendy exclamation for some- thing unusual or pleasurable. It also means orderly and Effective, and in that context the word "neat" accurately describes Adina Timber's summertime roadside logging show. 

Adina Timber Ltd. is based in Houston, BC. But the claim the company harvests for Northwood Pulp & Timber's Houston divi- sion is a nine-hour, one-trip-a-day haul cycle away in rolling country near Ootsa Lake in west-central British Columbia. 

The area is isolated, but familiar territory for Adina's Dave Zielke; he's been working in it more than 20 years. 

November images Zielke is not afraid to try something new. And he's assembled an interesting smorgasbord of log harvesting equipment in his planned approach to delivering the high-quality processed timber required by Northwood. 

The operation's goal was an average production of 27 highway loads a day with 43 M3 a load. The summer's target was for about 60,000 M3. One of the workhorses helping achieve that production was a Hitachi EX 20OLL tracked carrier with a Pierce boom and HTH-20 harvester manufactured jointly by Pierce Pacific and Waratah Manufacturing of New Zealand. The Pierce rotator main frame that supports the head and hose assembly contribute significantly to the machine's efficiency and versatility. 

"The geometry of the boom is different," points out Zielke. "It provides a closer working envelope. It was designed for processing and it's not an excavator boom used for logging." The dangling- type harvester head is designed to process 20"-diameter trees and has a Pierce topping saw to complement the tail knife. "The bucking quality requirements of the mill are high. This is right on the money, within an inch. We process wood down to four- inch tops," says Zielke. 

Operator Danny Penner of Vanderhoof, BC concurs with Zielke's appraisal of the machine's performance. "It's very operator-friendly," he says. The harvester can cut off broken tops on the fly, and other defects are cut off with the tail knife saw, he adds. "The straighter Pierce boom gives more lift which means you can deck higher, which is very handy, and it helps keep decks leveled." 

November images Zielke has a lot to say about the Madill line of equipment. "It is a British Columbia company and their people take the time to listen to contractors and operators," he explains. He uses a Madill 3800 butt n' top log loader and two feller bunchers equipped with 22" Koehring rotating disc sawheads. 

Adina operators are pleased with the production performance of the updated Madill 3200B model. "It's a far superior Madill," endorses Houston-area operator Len 'Bubba' Madore. "It's got more hydraulics and faster hydraulics." 

The machine incorporates a multi-function hydraulic system and has a dedicated pump for the saw. It kicks out more hors power from the Cummins 6CTA power unit than the earlier  3200A - 260 hp compared to 230 hp. Madore says the machine has improved lifting power from the boom. The tracked buncher can operate in a 12' level sw 

Adina Timber has field-tested a Gilbe felling head and has been impressed with i manufacturer's 1255 model has a 180' latera capability. It controls torsion hydraulically, he ing protect the feller buncher's boom. "It's very versatile with that 1800 turn." savs Madore. He says it's a little faster I some other cutting heads, and too replacement is easy with its thinker saw design. 

Madore recalls working with the Gilbert-Tech head in stands averaging 0.45 M3 a tree. "You can collect the first tree, then the next, and then accumulate a third with the grab arms opening automatically." The ability to accumulate a can increase production by 30 per cent in type of wood Madore put about 220 hours on the Gilbert head and reports no significant downtime, not even oil leaks. Adina has plans to match a Gilbert-Tech head with the Madill 3200B buncher. 

The other processor on the show keeping up the production schedule was a Cat 322L track machine, paired with a Denharco 550B processing/harvesting head. Servicing it was another innovation: one of the first of the new generation Cat 527 skidders seen in the region. 

The 527 has a raised sprocket drive system and extended track roller frame. The machine's centre of gravity is lower than a D5H, giving superior balance on its D6R undercarriage; and the footprint is compa- rable. Adina operators feel the machine will be a good fit with winter logging conditions and steep slopes. Power's a-plenty with 150 horses, which, with the machine's torque converter drivetrain, generates 66,700 lbs. of drawbar pull. 

Adina's 527 is fitted with an Esco grapple and in good terrain and smaller timber types was averaging about eight trees a turn. That translates into about 72 M3/day. The 527 quickly fell into productive rhythm and functioned excellently, report its operators. 

Some skids to roadside on the well laid-out show reached 350 in. The Madill 3800 sent loaded logging trucks off on their long journey to the Houston sawmill. The trek requires a barge ride on east Ootsa lake. Northwood operates it, two loaded trucks at a time. 


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