Shaws Iron Test
It's Kiwi Special
Don’t you just love a New Zealand good news story. Here’ one with a twist, because it doesn’t involve anyone conjuring up a revolutionary concept using Number 8 wire and selling it off to the world.
It’s about a persistent Kiwi who badgered a big corporate equipment manufacturer into building a harvester/processor specially to suit loggers in our little corner of the world. Oh, and the Canadians, too. Got to give the Canucks credit, because if they hadn’t jumped on the bandwagon, we wouldn’t be doing this Iron Test on Mike Harris’ Volvo EC380DL in a corporate forest not far from Lake Taupo.
The story goes back four or five years ago, a little while after Volvo decided to ditch its earlier purpose-built forestry carriers, leaving New Zealand loggers and the local distributor, TransDiesel, scratching their heads.
They’d been good machines. Produced as both log loaders and processors, they garnered an excellent reputation for doing an exceptional job, but at much lower fuel use than comparable machines. Blame the GFC (Global Financial Collapse) for their demise, when big companies hunkered down and concentrated on core business and core products.
That meant if a contractor wanted a Volvo for forestry work, they’d have to wait while a standard excavator was beefed up with local guarding, a forestry cab and high and wide undercarriage before it could go to work. Not ideal.But we don’t like giving up on a good thing.
So, along comes ex-logger, Ewen Satherley, who vacated his cab to start selling Volvo equipment in 2008 and gets into the Swedes about resurrecting the forest carrier range.
Like a dog with a bone, he didn’t let the subject go until they wilted under pressure and we saw the first of the new forestry range arrive three years ago, in the shape of the EC250DL and EC300DL models. They land here as purpose-built machines, with heavy-duty undercarriages and boom/arm, a forestry cab and guarding. All that’s needed is the implement on the end.
We tested the first EC250DL to arrive, which went to work for the Brolly crew in the Wairarapa and it was jolly good.
Job done? Absolutely not.
“It took us a while to get those machines built for our market and they’ve been good for us – but they are more suited to having a grapple or smaller head on the stick,” says Ewen Satherley, who has recently been promoted to the position of Timber & Material Handling National Product Manager at TransDiesel.
“When the Volvo guys came out after we got the Brolly machine working, as an off-the-cuff comment I said ‘when we’re done you’re going to build me a 380 version’. They all had a chuckle and laugh and said ‘yeah, whatever’.”
Or whatever they say in Swedish.
Ewen continues: “The reason we wanted a machine like that was for harvesting and processing.
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