Tue June 13, 2023
A final logging harvester that combines power and productivity with agility and excellent climbing ability. And a harvester that is also a perfect match for the C164 head. This is one way of describing the new eight-wheeled harvester from Komatsu Forest, the third addition to its range of eight-wheeled harvesters specially designed for demanding conditions.
The Komatsu 951XC is a new harvester for final logging in steep terrain and on soft ground. The eight-wheel design, combined with the stable Komatsu concept, ensures a machine with great stability, excellent maneuverability and low ground pressure, according to the manufacturer. The Komatsu 951XC also is optimized for use with the Komatsu C164 — a harvester head specially designed for logging large trees — although it works just as well with a range of other heads.
For Demanding Conditions
The Komatsu 951XC is part of Komatsu Forest's product series of machines specially designed for challenging conditions.
"Now we have a complete range of eight-wheeled machines, specially designed for demanding conditions," Joakim Johansson, product manager harvesters at Komatsu Forest, said.
Compact Yet Strong
The machine design is much like that of the Komatsu 951, although there are some differences. The Komatsu 951XC has the same wheel size as the 931XC, lending the machine a more compact design and giving the 951XC a total machine length that is shorter than that of the Komatsu 951.
The Komatsu 951XC has 242 kN of underlying tractive force and unique interaction between engine, control system and power transmission. The hydrostatic transmission enables engine power to be fully utilized, providing considerable advantages in difficult terrain as well as excellent climbing ability. This is much due to the machine's large hydrostatic pump, which can maintain higher speeds at high tractive forces.
"What is special about the 951XC is that it combines the strength of a 951 with an extremely compact design. Since it has about the same dimensions as the 931XC it can be used in denser stands," Johansson said.
The 951XC also the equipped with hub reductions. They provide an advantage when working in challenging conditions, such as steep, snowy, or wet terrain, as they increase the life of the bogie and thereby machine reliability, the manufacturer said.
The Komatsu 951XC has new working hydraulics to better utilize the diesel engine. The new hydraulics also provide faster feeding from start to maximum speed and allow the saw motor to work even more efficiently.
"The new working hydraulics contribute to a feeling of an even stronger engine according to the test operators that have been working with 951XC," Johansson said.
Although the working hydraulics are new, in all other respects the Komatsu 951XC shares the same design as other Komatsu harvesters, meaning 3PS.
"This enables several crane and head functions to be used simultaneously with retained maximum hydraulic power, all thanks to the machine's hydraulic power coordination," Johansson said.
All Komatsu harvesters are equipped with parallel cranes, this has been the case since 1999. With the Komatsu Forest design concept, the lifting booms and outer booms are linked, thereby eliminating an entire aspect of crane control. This concept simplifies crane operation by ensuring that the head is always in level regardless of crane cycle stage. The parallel crane also is designed to be fast in its outward movements, when the head is unloaded, and powerful in its return movements, when the head is heavily loaded.
Compared to the 951, the Komatsu 951XC has a significantly shorter distance from the center of the crane to the front wheels. This creates a larger working area in front of the machine, that enables the operator to work at shorter reaches.
"The new larger working area in front of the machine means more powerful crane movements. And for those who equipes their machines with Smart Crane they get an even more easily maneuvered crane with excellent precision," Johansson said.
The Komatsu 951XC, just like all other Komatsu harvesters, features a high-performance operator environment. Examples of the many advantages include the spacious cab, good visibility and comfortable cab climate.
Due to the machine's stability and levelling cab, the operator is always seated level without the need to stretch and strain to maintain a good seating position. The 951XC is, as all Komatsu harvesters, based on the tried-and-tested Komatsu concept that offers favorable weight distribution and has a low center of gravity. In addition, the eight-wheeled XC series harvesters have a double oscillating bogie on the rear frame giving the machines completely unique handling characteristics.
"Our double oscillating bogie on the rear frame is an innovation of which we're very proud. As well as increasing stability by lowering the machine's center of gravity, the machine follows irregularities in the terrain in a forgiving manner while delivering excellent maneuverability in challenging terrain conditions," Johansson said.
The work to develop a new machine is a massive team effort. Before a new machine model is launched prototypes are thoroughly tested first with Komatsu's own test operators and then by contractors working in environments suitable for the specific machine model.
One of the contractors, Henrik Lysebäck at Lysebäcks Skogsentreprenad, tested a prototype of the 951XC in the fall of 2022 and concluded the test saying "The 951XC is a good machine, stable and comfortable to operate. It is a machine you can trust, and you feel secure working at a long reach. This is definitely a machine I would like to continue to work with."