In this series of articles, we will be sharing exclusive coverage from KWF Tagung 2024. 

TURNING heads on the ProSilva stand was the new J20 eight-wheeled forwarder, tilting at a sharp angle as though on the verge of falling over. But there was no cause for concern.

Norbert Schalx explained: “We call it a pendulum-arm forwarder. Every bogie has its own pendulum arm, which takes care of the longitudinal and lateral levelling of the complete machine.

"It has normal articulated steering, but it doesn’t have any oscillation at the articulation.

The new J20 eight-wheeled forwarder turned plenty of heads The new J20 eight-wheeled forwarder turned plenty of heads (Image: FJ/John McNee)

"The pendulum arms take care of the levelling. The idea is that when you drive with the forwarder through the stand, the machine continuously remains straight up.

"Normally a forwarder would be rocking a little bit from side to side, which in thinnings means a risk of damaging remaining trees. This technology would prevent that.

“This machine is 2.8 metres wide so we can keep the strip roads quite narrow and therefore leave more trees behind for additional growth. It can also follow the path of a harvester more accurately and doesn’t need more space.

“We have full hydrostatic drive, so every wheel has its own hydraulic motor so we control the speed and the force of every wheel individually. With that we can work in a way that’s very friendly towards the forest floor. We have no wheel slip and no rutting.

(Image: FJ/JM)

“The smallest ground clearance that we can get is 35 centimetres, but we can go up to 1 metre 20 and the idea is also that you then can traverse obstacles like stones and stumps of about 60 centimetres at full speed.”

Asked about the machine’s development, he said: “Three or four years ago we started looking at what had not been paid attention to with regards to the design of forwarders. Rocking was one thing, but there’s also operator comfort. Plus it needs to be fun to drive. 

“The response has been very positive.”

Head to our YouTube channel to watch a full version of this interview, which will be published in the coming weeks.