Shaws Iron Test

It’s ten years since Steve Yeoman and his Volcanic Plateau Logging crew arrived in Kaingaroa Forest, so what better way to celebrate this significant anniversary than with an outsize present...such as the largest processor now working in New Zealand.

 

That’ll be the all-new Tigercat 890 swing machine, complete with a Waratah 626 Bigwood on the end of the boom and stick.

 

It’s the first to arrive in this country and after experiencing this big beast at work in our most productive forest, we won’t be surprised to see a whole heap more hitting the dirt here in the coming years, particularly where crews have to deal with big wood.

 

Size – and power – really does matter when it comes to handling trees that can weigh up to 5 tonnes – there’s no substitute for brute force.

 

And what a brute this Tigercat 890 is.

 

It not only stands head and shoulders above its existing competitors in terms of sheer size, the new 890 also lords it over the previous big boy in the Tigercat stable, the 880. Plus, it’s gone up in the power stakes, too.

 

For Steve Yeoman, it was this combination of the additional size (especially the reach) and the upgraded engine that swung it for him.

 

 

“I’ve been looking for a replacement machine (for his Sumitomo SH330) for nearly two years,” he says.

What took him so long? Put it down to a list of strict requirements that included a big machine with good reach, a rear-entry cab (for safety and training) and an engine that didn’t overheat from the heavy workload. It needed to be a big step up from what the crew was already using.

 

The old Sumi was purchased as a stock-standard excavator and then guarded for the forest, originally to carry out felling. Then it became Volcanic’s first processor, as the crew moved to become fully mechanised more than five years ago when the new Tigercat 855 leveller arrived. Fitted with a Waratah 625 it has done a good job, but Steve says it was struggling at times with the larger trees and he felt the need to go purpose-built for its replacement.

 

“I was close to buying an 880 and then I heard about the 890 when we were visiting the factory, so I decided to delay the decision,” he adds.

 

“I’ve got other Tigercat equipment, the self-leveller 855 and 635 skidder, so I was pretty familiar with their gear and I’ve also got a good relationship with AB Equipment.”

 

Steve has been slowly upgrading his machinery since transitioning into a fully mechanised operation to better suit the crew’s role, and the new 890 is one of the final pieces of the jigsaw. Another piece is sitting just a few hundred metres away – a winch-assist bulldozer from Performance Mechanical Engineering in Taupo, where Steve lives, which arrived a couple of years ago to tether the levelling Tigercat 855 harvester on steeper slopes.

 

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