Where would we be without forwarders? From the big to the small, they are an essential part of the forestry world.

If you’re thinking of investing in a new one, our round-up of the latest on offer from the major manufacturers (over nine tonnes) is a good place to start. 

Part I of our feature shines a light on the likes of John Deere and Komatsu. Part II, which will include Rottne, will be published tomorrow (May 17). 



Forestry Journal:

STRONG and productive; compact yet powerful; versatile and stable; fast yet gentl – all buzzwords used to describe Komatsu’s extensive forwarder lineup, and it’s easy to see why. 

From the relatively nimble 825TX and 835 to the larger, sturdier 855, 875 and 895 models, the Swedish firm offers the right tool for any job, with each machine Stage V emission compliant and featuring the latest tech.

In a major development, many of its models can now be fitted with the firm’s new Smart Crane, which is said to reduce the physical toll on the operator when performing crane movements.

The crane is designed to react to the operator’s slightest movements, translating them into smooth and efficient crane operation.

Forestry Journal:

Smart Crane is described as offering advantages that include a reduced physical burden on the operator, enabling them to maintain high production throughout the day. This is made possible by the crane’s precision and smooth movement patterns, which with less sway and vibration remove stress from the operator.

Smart Crane also simplifies crane control. With just three joystick movements, the operator can easily control the grapple with great precision.

Meanwhile, Komatsu’s offering is also set to get even bigger this year, with the launch of two new forwarders. Designed to navigate dense stands while maintaining high production, the 835T and 825TX both feature an upgraded look and the latest engine installation and control system. 

The former, a reimagining of the original 835, is an agile forwarder with high ground clearance and good tracking characteristics, while the latter is a 9-tonne forwarder aimed at those in the market for the smallest machines. 

Forestry Journal:

For those who believe bigger is most certainly better, fear not; Komatsu’s range still features the 895, optimised to carry 20 tonnes, and the 875. 

Finally, a 2021 update on the 845, one of the middle-of-the-range models, brings with it a host of changes. Now fully in line with the larger forwarders, in a more compact format, a new chassis, engine and steering system ensure the 845 remains at the top of its game. 


Forestry Journal:

ALL HSM forestry machinery is built on the principle of narrow design, wide tyres. This, the manufacturer says, has proven to be particularly effective in the development of its crane forwarders, and is reflected in the high load capabilities and the very high level of ground protection.

Whether it’s the 208F or 904F, all of HSM’s models stand for “inventive engineering”, with state-of-the-art drive technology, efficiency and customer-orientated design. Above all, the 208F steep slope-version remains a “market leader”.

With a focus on comfort, ergonomic design and functionality, the cabins of HSM’s forwarders lend themselves to “achieving maximum work output and productivity even with long working hours”. 

The long-lasting, high-fuel-economy engines from Iveco offer the perfect combination of top performance, very low fuel consumption and remarkably smooth running with optimal exhaust emission values. 


Forestry Journal:

FROM the easily manoeuvrable Wisent to the Elephant King behemoth, Ponsse’s forwarder range has always catered for each and every task. Now a new feature makes them more efficient than ever before. 

Launched on all of its models in 2020, the Finnish firm’s Active Crane offers an updated way of controlling the loader, allowing the operator to effect the grapple movement instead of individual functions. 

Active Crane is easily controlled using two levers, one of which controls the grapple height from the ground and the other the direction of movement. What is essential is that the operator does not need to control all the functions simultaneously. Once the appropriate grapple location has been given to the machine, it will perform the lift and use the boom and extension automatically. 

READ MORE: Still reigning supreme? Ponsse shows off Elephant King's abilities

The operator can easily switch between Active Crane and conventional loader control with a push of a button. Active Crane is based on Ponsse’s unique Sensor Module technology, which is used in the Ponsse Scorpion levelling system and the Ponsse Active Frame suspension system. This provides the Active Crane with easy maintenance and reliability.

Another innovation from Ponsse in recent years has been the introduction of firefighting equipment, which can be installed in the load spaces of forwarders to extinguish wildfires.

Available for the Buffalo and Elephant models, the 10 m³ water tank can be filled with its own pump from a natural water source or the tank of a fire truck. The water cannon has a range of 47 metres and a turning radius of 360 degrees. The minimum loader requirement for the equipment is Ponsse K90+.

Forestry Journal:

The system is described by Ponsse as being carefully thought-out and economical, with the forwarder able to be engaged in productive forest operations when the firefighting equipment is not needed.

“Forest machines are the most natural and effective way to access a forest fire area. Operations in difficult terrain come as second nature to them, and they have more than enough capacity in their hydraulic system for demanding conditions,” said Juha Haverinen, Ponsse’s product manager of forwarders.

Forestry Journal:

“When the rescue authorities asked us if we were willing to develop this product together, we were ready right from the beginning, because rescue professionals and our customers had a clear demand for firefighting equipment.”


Forestry Journal:

TIGERCAT’S forwarders range in capacity from 14 to 25 tonnes. The 1085C is the largest model on offer and was specially designed to excel in steep-terrain applications. Stable and powerful with extreme-duty bogie axles, the 25-tonne forwarder comes complete with Tigercat’s ‘market-leading’ innovations. 

These include the low-wide bunk system, angled to reduce the overall gate height and to eliminate the need for a vertical gate. Offering a clear sightline to the top of the load, it gives operators better log placement and decreased cycle times. 

Elsewhere Tigercat’s WideRange, its ‘infinitely variable transmission’, allows operators to remain productive at high speeds, no matter the terrain. 

Completing the American brand’s lineup are the Tigercat 1055C – designed to excel for the long term in tough selective-felling and final-felling harvesting – and the middle-of-the-road 1075C. Ideal for high-production jobs, around-the-clock operation and tough terrain, the latter is also an excellent base carrier for scarifier attachments. 

One Tigercat innovation to keep an eye on; the firm recently unveiled its new simulator, which gives would-be operators the chance to enjoy some time in the cabin from the comfort of the classroom. 

Forestry Journal:

Developed in partnership with CM Labs Simulations, it replicates the functionality and behaviour of Tigercat’s machines. While for now it only offers harvester simulations, in time forwarders will be added to the list.

READ MORE: Tigercat's forestry simulator gives newbies the chance to experience it all

Tigercat VP, cut-to-length systems, Jon Cooper said: “The introduction of the Tigercat simulator provides dealers with a valuable training tool that can save machine owners significant start-up costs.” 


Forestry Journal:

WITH Intelligent Boom Control (IBC), TimberMatic Maps and a heritage stretching back nearly 200 years, John Deere Forestry forwarders remain some of the very best on offer.

From the firm’s 1910G – capable of moving 19 tonnes with ease – to the 9-tonne 910G, each machine comes with all you’d expect from a household name, and they can be picked up from a whole host of suppliers across the UK. 

IBC, introduced in 2013, and TimberMatic Maps are, of course, among John Deere’s stand-out features. The former dampens cylinder end movements softly and stops strong blow-like loads, making driving smooth, while the latter gives operators a real-time production view to the logging site. 

And in a recent development, John Deere Forestry launched redesigned jib boom options equipped with a hidden hose extension for forwarders with CF5, CF7 and CF7S booms.

Available from spring 2021, they brought clear improvement in usability, durability and serviceability to the 910G, 1010G, 1110G, 1210G and 1510G models. Said to be more robust, the routing of the hoses had also been redesigned, taking better account of both the durability and changeability of the hoses, as well as the usability of the boom.

Forestry Journal:

The revamped routing of the hoses between the lifting and jib booms and inside the extension packs protects the hoses from damage. The improved geometry and the more balanced ratio between the lifting and jib booms makes the whole boom’s trajectories and operation smoother, thereby improving productivity. With the new XI hidden hose extensions, the reach of the boom is 9.8 m.

Part II of the feature will be published tomorrow