When you spend your workday in a machine on a steep slope, it’s hard to beat a self-leveling cab. Take it from Adrian Crawford, owner of Crawford’s Logging, who spends his days harvesting trees in a Komatsu Forest 931XC Harvester.
“The self-leveling cab makes things so much more comfortable for the operator. It’s pretty phenomenal. We’ve worked on 35- to 40-degree slopes with no issues, and I’ve heard of people using it on even steeper slopes,” he said. “The 931 is a super stable machine and very agile.”
Crawford purchased the 931XC and a Komatsu Forest 875 Forwarder from Columbus Equipment Company in the spring. Previously he used Ponsse equipment, but he decided to switch brands for better service and dealer proximity.
Crawford’s company cuts plantation timber for Glatfelter in Chillicothe, harvesting from 900 to 1,200 tons of timber a week. He fells the trees, then delimbs and cuts them to length—usually in 20-foot sections—all within 8-10 seconds. He then uses the forwarder to stack the timber for easy pickup.
The cab has other impressive features beyond being self-leveling. It turns 360 degrees and keeps the operator facing the crane at all times. “It’s a unique feature and it lets you pinpoint your accuracy as far as tree felling,” Crawford said. The cab’s interior is quiet, comfortable, and offers excellent visibility.
The 931’s three-pump system provides the market’s largest total hydraulic capacity, allowing you to perform several crane and head functions at the same time. Crawford’s Ponsse also had a three-pump system, “but the engine ran at a higher rpm so it used more fuel. The 931 fuel system is much more fuel efficient,” he noted. “It uses 20 to 25 percent less fuel than the old machine. Production speed is similar, and there’s far less down time.”
Crawford chose a Komatsu Forest C144 Harvester Head and “it seems to be bulletproof,” he added. “It’s super quick, it gets around crooked wood and it’s good for heavy delimbing. The feed speed is very fast.” Crawford finds the computer interface on this machine is easy to use, making it simple to change setting lengths.
The 875 Forwarder has also surpassed his expectations. “The traction and ability on steep slopes is amazing, and it has a very good load capacity. It is an allaround good machine in terms of the loads it will hold.”
Daily maintenance on the equipment is simple, with all the service points at ground level. “It’s super easy to grease and clean debris,” Crawford said.
These machines were Crawford’s first purchase from Columbus Equipment Company, although he was aware of the company’s reputation for exceptional customer service. He has already experienced that service, when he had a problem with the drive transmission in the forwarder. “Columbus Equipment got right on it. They worked through a thunderstorm and had us up and going. They went out of their way to be sure we were going the very next day. That’s treatment I didn’t get before with other people.”
Crawford says his cut-to-length operation is unique in Ohio, where he owns the only cut-to-length harvester and one of only two forwarders in use in the state. Once he approached Columbus Equipment Company about the kind of equipment he was looking for, “they moved pretty quickly,” he said. “Props to Columbus Equipment and Komatsu Forest for staying ahead of the equipment curve.”