Blog about Logging Equipment and Forestry Canada

Forwarder: history, overview, characteristics

Forwarder is a skidder tractor equipped with a cargo compartment and a manipulator. Designed for collecting, pre-sorting and transporting timber, it usually works in tandem with a harvester (logging harvester).

Forwarder history

Experimental models of forwarders based on wheeled tractors were built in the early 1960s in Sweden under the leadership of engineer Lars Bruun. Since 1964, these machines began to be mass produced with the participation of American companies.

Forwarder general structure

Forwarder is a two-modular machine, consisting of the power module (tractor) and the technological module (load carriage, cargo compartment), built on articulated half-frames. The power module is equipped with a power unit, transmission, cab with controls and auxiliary systems. The technological module is equipped with a hydraulic manipulator with a gripper and a platform for log stacking. In the front part, the platform is enclosed by a grid, stanchions are installed along the sides, and the rear part is open (a grid can be used when working on a slope). The stanchions can be installed rigidly or hinged to change the width of the compartment.

Forwarder Classification

Forwarders are classified according to the following features:

  • Type of chassis – wheeled, wheeled with the possibility of installing rubber tracks, wheeled-tracked;
  • Axle arrangement – 4×4 (one axle per module), 6×6 (one axle on the power module and two on the technological module), 8×8 (two axles per module);
  • The design of the cargo area: fixed width or transformable (sliding).

Also, machines are divided into three groups by carrying capacity: light (up to 10 tons), medium (10 – 15 tons) and heavy (more than 15 tons).

Main characteristics of forwarders

Forwarders have the following specifications:

  • Carrying capacity;
  • Volume of transported assortment;
  • The length of the cargo compartment;
  • Manipulator characteristics – boom outreach, swing angle, carrying capacity, etc;
  • The power of the power unit.

The machines have a loading capacity of 5 to 15-20 tons, can carry up to 25 cubic meters. meters of wood, are equipped with manipulator with a steering angle of more than 360 degrees and the boom reach up to 10 meters, have a cargo area length of 4 to 5.6 m. Power of the machines can reach 200-300 hp and more.

Forwarder manufacturers

The main producers of forwarders are Ponsse, Komatsu, JCB, John Deere, Caterpillar, Logset, Rottne and others.

Interesting facts about forwarders

One of the most powerful series-produced forwarders in the world is the Komatsu 895: this four-axle machine is equipped with a boom reach up to 8.5 meters, has a transformable cargo area to transport up to 20 tons of wood, and is equipped with an engine rated at 262 hp.