A raft of new products was unveiled at the recent Stihl PRO press event, all designed to make the modern forester’s life more convenient.

A SUNNY but chilly day in late February saw the Environmental Training Centre in Stafford play host to around a dozen journalists, gathering for the Stihl PRO press event.

The day afforded members of the UK’s trade media the chance to learn all about the company’s slate of new tools for foresters – and even test a few out.

Undoubted star of the show was the new MSA 300, Stihl’s most powerful cordless chainsaw. Suitable for felling, cross-cutting, snedding and processing, the MSA 300 is designed to offer forestry professionals plenty of power for taking on larger cutting tasks. 

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Powered by the new AP 500 S battery, the MSA 300 is recommended with a 16” Light 04 guide bar and .325” RS Pro chain for fast cutting. The recommended cutting attachments are identical to the popular MS 261 C-M, with a maximum recommended guide bar length of 18”.

Compact and well balanced, the MSA 300 features Stihl’s anti-vibration system for comfortable working over long durations. Other features include a captive nut on the sprocket cover, an adjustable oil pump, durable die-cast magnesium components and an air filter to aid effective air cooling.  

Also featured in this model is an LED digital display for active user notifications, showing the operating mode in use, the status of the chain brake position, the on/off status and even temperature warnings to prevent overheating. 

Three operating modes limit the maximum chain speed, helping to match the performance to the task at hand and extend the battery runtime. Eco mode limits the chain speed to 24 m/s and is suited to cutting smaller logs, while the highest performing mode features a 30 m/s chain speed ideal for felling cuts and fast working.

Stihl’s sales retail trainer Reuben Wilson said: “In terms of power, we’re happy to compare it to something between a 241 and a 261, which are very popular forestry chainsaws. 

“The battery life offers between 20 and 45 minutes, depending on what you’re doing, so for use in forestry, you have to make sure the battery situation is taken care of. Otherwise, it can be used to do all the jobs that a 261 is capable of.

“The powerhouse behind the MSA 300 is the new AP 500 S battery. And this is the first dual battery to feature flat-laminated cells. The benefit of the AP 500 S is that it can deliver 3 kW of power, which is a 40 per cent jump compared to the AP 300 S which was previously the most powerful battery.”

Forestry Journal: The MSA 300 is said to compare favourably to a 261.The MSA 300 is said to compare favourably to a 261.

Though it garnered a lot of attention, the MSA 300 wasn’t the only new product of interest to be showcased on the day.

RAPID HEXA CUTTING SYSTEM 

Rapid Hexa is a new cutting system consisting of a patented hexagonal file and a full chisel chain with an innovative V-shaped side plate, resulting in a chain that cuts up to 10 per cent faster than standard RS chain, is easier to sharpen, and stays sharper for longer. 

Faster cutting performance has been achieved with a narrow kerf top plate, and a 25° sharpening angle makes the Hexa chain better suited to diagonal felling cuts in a wide variety of wood types. The 60° side plate angle formed by the Hexa file, as well as other improvements to the tooth’s geometry, improve the stability of the cutting edge, resulting in a chain that stays sharper for longer. 

Forestry Journal: The new MSA 300 is Stihl’s most powerful cordless chainsaw.The new MSA 300 is Stihl’s most powerful cordless chainsaw.

The specially designed Hexa file fits snugly in the cutting tooth’s profile, allowing for fast and smooth sharpening at the optimum angle every time, without the need for sharpening aids. With Rapid Hexa, it’s easy to achieve a high-quality result that keeps the cutting performance for longer, reducing downtime and prolonging the service life of the saw chain. 

The Rapid Hexa is not only available in 3/8” pitch, but also a 1.6 mm drive link gauge, ensuring compatibility with professional petrol chainsaw models ranging from the MS 362 through to the MS 661. Hexa files and chains will be available separately or together in an upgrade kit.

MS 881

The world’s most powerful series-produced chainsaw, with 121.6 cc of displacement and 8.6 hp/6.4 kW output, the MS 881 is not only 19 per cent more powerful than the heavy-duty MS 661, but also the only saw in the Stihl line-up to drive a 0.404 pitch chain. With standard bar lengths up to 41” and able to accept guide bars up to 59”, the new saw is designed to tackle even the most demanding forestry jobs. 

At the heart of the MS 881 is the Stihl 2-MIX engine, which ensures the machine is the only chainsaw in its performance class that meets the strict requirements of the European Euro-5 (EU5) exhaust emission standard.

Forestry Journal: The Smart Connector 2 A is an enhancement to digital fleet management solution Stihl Connected.The Smart Connector 2 A is an enhancement to digital fleet management solution Stihl Connected.

In addition to EU5 compliance, the MS 881 has been engineered with an impressive weight-to-power ratio of 1.55 kg/kW, whilst maintaining robustness and durability.

It features a one-touch stop button, ensuring the MS 881 is ready to start at any time, whenever it is warm. Other design features include captive nuts on the optimised chain sprocket cover to offer additional convenience when changing the chain, as well as a new oil pump that regulates oil flow rate according to demand, guaranteeing optimum oil flow at all times.

ADVANCE PROCOM HEADSET

Stihl’s new Advance ProCOM headset is designed to offer forestry professionals clear and high-quality communication in noisy environments, with a high level of ear protection. Using intercom mesh technology, up to 16 headsets can link automatically, allowing users to listen and communicate effectively as a team. 

The headset has a high attenuation value of 31 for extremely high noise protection, and is available as a headset or as an accessory for the Advance X-Climb helmet. Advance ProCOM may also be fitted to other 3M-compatible helmets.  

While it has a range of up to 600 m, depending on the terrain, each headset acts as an amplifier to extend the range even further if more than two are in use. Multiple channels are available for teams working in close proximity, and users may choose the open mic setting for frequent communication, or alternatively, the push-to-talk button can be used instead to minimise background noise.

@forestryjournal 🔥🔥🔥#stihl #stihlchainsaw #stihltimbersports #chainsaw #forestrylife #forestry #arb ♬ original sound - Forestry Journal

The intelligent ambient mode feature allows the user to clearly hear their surroundings and react quickly to potential dangers such as traffic or passers-by. Ambient mode de-activates automatically when a loud noise is detected, maintaining a high level of protection when it’s most needed.

SMART CONNECTOR 2 A

Stihl has also enhanced its digital fleet management solution, Stihl Connected, with the introduction of Smart Connector 2 A, which is able to transmit increased levels of useful machine data to a user’s smartphone via Bluetooth. The information relayed includes operating time, working speeds, the status of individual electronic components, ambient temperature and also messages about the status of the machine, to name but a few, giving users universal transparency of the machine and its performance. 

Forestry Journal: The Advance ProCOM headset. ABOVE: The MS 881, Stihl’s most powerful series-produced chainsaw.The Advance ProCOM headset. ABOVE: The MS 881, Stihl’s most powerful series-produced chainsaw.

The Smart Connector 2 A also features a real-time clock, meaning the data is collected accurately regardless of how often the connector syncs with a smartphone, so operators can see when and for how long a machine was used. In addition, pressing the button on the Smart Connector 2 A gives a quick indication of the status of the machine via an LED light, and will display green if the machine’s maintenance is up-to-date, yellow if there’s an outstanding job, or red if a machine fault has been detected. 

Compatible Stihl machines for the Smart Connector 2 A include all 135 models (HLA, FSA, KMA, HTA), RGA 140 and the latest HSA 94 R, and HSA 94 T versions, with more professional machines coming in 2022. 

For more from the Stihl PRO Media Day, check out this month’s issue of essentialARB.