From timber harvesting to timber transport with an EPSILON M12Z
Forestry work - from timber harvesting to timber transport - is extremely demanding. Peter Pretterhofer knows this only too well as a successful forestry entrepreneur. The Styrian took over the family business in 1998. He is now the third generation to run Pretterhofer Holzernte-Holzhandel GmbH in Pernegg, which has 32 employees. The successful family business specializes in timber harvesting and forest maintenance, timber trading and transporting logs. “Especially here in the Alps, we are dependent on the weather. Our employees often have to load tree trunks all day long, regardless of wind, rain, snow or ice. Thank goodness we can rely on our EPSILON cranes from PALFINGER. In addition to comfort and safety during forestry work, the immediate proximity to our service partner, Kuhn, is also important to us,” explains Pretterhofer.
NEXT EPSOLUTION M SERIES
The company now has three EPSILON M series cranes in use almost every day. In addition to employee comfort and the service support aspect, cost-effectiveness and reliability are crucial for the forestry contractor: “We spend many hours in the cab every day. A comfortable seat that allows an ergonomic posture, as well as heating and air conditioning are essential criteria for us. In addition, it is important to me to have safe and modern equipment that makes work both easier and enjoyable. When deciding on a new investment, it’s not just the purchase price that counts for me. The crane is in use for an average of six to seven years and naturally has to prove itself over that period.”
And that’s what the EPSILON M12Z does every day when the Styrian forestry company sets to work. Thanks to its hydraulic pilot control, it provides optimum support for the crane operator in confined and restricted areas, where long, precise and careful work is particularly important. But also during loading and transferring, where speed and the long range of the double telescope offer a great advantage. Another highlight is the internal hose routing. Many hoses and lines are routed inside and so are protected. This means less operator fatigue during loading activities in the forest, where you have to pay attention to the surroundings.
A PASSION FOR CRANES
The experienced truck driver and crane specialist Michael Baierl, who has been working for the forestry company for over 16 years, has been in charge of this project from the very beginning. Michael skilfully steers the heavy Scania log truck with trailer and truck-mounted EPSILON M12Z with cab through the rough terrain up the mountainside. On very narrow sections of the switchback road, it is sometimes a matter of millimeters. “Especially after the snow melts, the loaded trailer can easily slide if the surface is wet. That makes it all the more important for me that loading is then relatively quick and easy. With the EPSILON M12Z I am perfectly equipped for this,” says Michael.
Arriving at the job site, Michael is met by a cable crane working on the steep slope above the road. It’s a combination of tipping mast and processor mounted on a truck. Two lumberjacks are at the lower end, and one operator is running the cable crane system and processor. From the cabin of the cable crane, the operator grabs the long tree trunks for further processing. Debarked and prepared in suitable lengths of about four to five meters, they are then deposited on the forest road, ready for Michael to take them away.
The special feature of this site is that it’s a narrow area in the middle of the forest where there is not much room to maneuver, and conserving the forest has top priority. The storage space for the wood is limited, and there is also no opportunity to sort the wood by type in advance. The logs must then be collected and transported away promptly. “The workflow here is different from working with a harvester or forwarder, which can simply unload the wood next to the forest road or transport it on its own. The cable crane is secured with four ropes, is always located in the same place and can only deposit the timber in one place,” says Michael.
ALL IN A DAY’S WORK
Michael parks his truck with the mounted EPSILON M12Z with cabin in the direction of travel due to the limited road space in the middle of the forest. “Actually, this is a typical job today. And this is where the M12Z really helps me, especially here. There are trees to the left and right, and I have to pay extra attention when loading. In addition, the sap is flowing at the moment. “That means the bark comes off easily, and the logs can slip. I’m very glad that I have a crane that allows me to work precisely even under these circumstances thanks to the hydraulic pilot control,” explains Michael.
Michael reaches for the two joysticks in his driver’s cab and unloads the wood quickly and carefully onto the loading bay of his truck. Because of the inclined position of the truck and the slippery tree trunks, the crane operator’s precision and many years of experience, as well as the right working equipment, are all the more necessary. “The M12Z gives me a lot of support. Especially when I have to focus for such a long time like today; the control system works so easily and predictably,” says Michael.
With the truck fully loaded, Michael steers back downhill to the forestry commission’s storage area. Here, the logs are sorted according to wood type and then delivered to the sawmill, mainly by semi-trailer. “Usually it has to happen quickly, and the semi is right next to my truck. That’s where the speed of the crane is important. Also the long range with the double telescope of about 10.5 meters is perfect for me to manage high-speed transfer and loading. In the forest, the single telescope is usually sufficient for me,” says Michael, who always feels comfortable in the EPSCAB of his EPSILON M12Z crane.
Compact and quickly folded up again for the road, Michael then sets straight off again on the next forestry mission up the mountain.
Watch the video: PALFINGER EPSILON M12Z