A true world first is en route to the forests south of Jönköping, Sweden. John Deere is presenting the world’s first forwarder with crane tip control at Elmia Wood 5-8 June 2013. The high-tech Intelligent Boom Control (IBC) system with Crane Tip Control is a major breakthrough on the market and is expected to attract huge interest and attention.
John Deere first with crane tip control on forest machines
“People have been talking about this for a very long time and a lot of research has been done into crane tip control,” explains Anders Strömgren, head of the Swedish sales company John Deere Forestry AB.
A very long time is actually almost 30 years. Ever since the 1980s the forest industry has been talking about computerised crane tip control. The system involves letting a computer calculate and control which hydraulic valves and cylinders need to be operated and by how much, instead of the operator doing the planning and then using manual controls to move the grapple from one position to another.
Many tests have been done in laboratory settings and many manufacturers have tried to introduce the system onto their machines but with no success until now. For six months two forwarders equipped with the Intelligent Boom Control system have been doing trials in Sweden 100 kilometres apart from each other and without their operators knowing about the other machine. The tests have been very successful and the IBC system with its crane tip control system is now predicted to become a very important work tool in forestry operations.
“The operator can process more cubic metres per hour and the haulage cost out to the roadside is reduced,” Strömgren says. “Productivity goes up and costs go down.”
The most important and biggest gain comes from how easily and quickly the operator’s capacity can be improved via crane tip control. A forwarder operator’s workday consists largely of crane work – lifting logs from the ground and up onto the load bed and then unloading them at the roadside. It takes a long time to become a skilled operator and be able to operate the controls in the most efficient way. But many forwarder operators then move on to operating harvesters, where the demands are even higher, and so then new forwarder operators have to be trained up.
“Crane tip control will help forwarder operators perform significantly better than they are currently doing,” Strömgren says. “They can learn this system faster and start to use it sooner.”
Elmia Wood was the obvious choice for the new system’s unveiling.
“It’s a chance for us to present our innovations to people from all over the world,” Strömgren says. “Elmia Wood attracts a very broad and professional visitor base that includes many existing and potential customers for us, both Swedish and international.”
Visitors to the trade fair will be treated to a special showing of the new IBC system and will even get the chance to test drive an IBC-equipped forwarder at the John Deere monitor.
Elmia Wood visitors were actually involved in developing the system. John Deere brought a first prototype in a simulator to Elmia Wood 2009, which members of the public got to try out.
“They then gave their opinions to staff from our development department who were there,” explains Dieter Reinisch, information manager at John Deere Forestry AB. “So in one way Elmia Wood visitors were involved in our product development by giving us very valuable feedback, for which we are very grateful. Now they can have the opportunity to see the end result.”