As the Swedish National Day draws to a close and with the stand preparations for Elmia Wood completed, all that remains is to get some shut-eye before the onslaught of four days on adrenalin that begins in a few short hours.
On reflection, it is a bit of an anniversary, bang on two decades since my first Elmia Wood experience in 1997. Since then much has happened though three reoccurring themes spring to mind; lighter footprint, residue extraction and combination machines.
The most spectacular machine in 1997 was the Plustech/Timberjack (now John Deere) walking harvester – it had six legs each with a saucer-like foot instead of wheels and looked a bit like a green beetle, whatever happened to it I wonder?
Back on track – In 1997, both Bell and Caterpillar had tracked skidders for tree-length – now it seems tracked carriers are back in vogue for forwarders, harvesters as well as chippers and grinders.
Incidentally in 1997 Caterpillar had just entered the cut-to-length (CTL) market by acquiring Skogsjan from Swedish innovator Jan Eriksson, best known for the “Spindeln” (Spider) four-wheeled harvester whereby each wheel could be individually manoeuvred. Jan Eriksson started TimBear in 2008 that produced “Lightlogg” compact tracked machines launched at Elmia Wood 2009 though the company went bust 2014.
Bala Press (now Flexus Balasystem) had an agri-style residue baler whereas both Valmet (now Komatsu Forest) and Timberjack (now John Deere) had bundlers, the idea being to produce logs or cigars of residue that fit into the existing logistics system ie forwarders and timber trucks.
The latter was sold just earlier this year to Dutch Dragon that has been spotted on site earlier today. Founded in 2003, Fixteri Oy has since taken small wood harvesting and residue bundling to a new level in Finland whereas Flexus work with stationary systems for the waste and recycling industry.
The Pinomäki “harwarder”, a combined harvester/forwarder developed by the late Sakari Pinomäki, the Finnish innovator widely credited with being the first to develop the CTL two machine system when he introduced the PIKA model 75 in 1974 and called it a harvester. The novelty then being a purpose built machine that felled, delimbed and CTL.
The “harwarder” or combination concept launched by Pinomäki in 1997 has since been developed by others including Komatsu Forest with its X19 “Drivaren” but also more recently by companies like Malwa Forest.
Undoubtedly there are plenty of other developments – heli-logging for instance. Not a big thing in this part of the world, though in 1997 Elmia Wood had a civilian helicopter turn-up. This edition has a drone zone instead.
Why not drop by stand 196 and share your forest and biomass news and views. And check out the nano biomass-fired combined heat and power plant that will keep the coffee water hot, the phone charged and the clothes dry if the heavens should open.