PONSSE has unveiled its latest harvester head, designed to improve the versatility and productivity of its machines in the woods.

The upgraded Ponsse H8 harvester head boasts a powerful feed, firm grip and solid, yet agile frame, as well as Active Speed, a new feature which allows operating speed to be adjusted based on the tree species and stem diameter. Equipped with this new function, Ponsse says working with the H8 harvester head is smooth and productive, no matter what the tree diameter is. 

Janne Loponen, product manager for harvester heads, said: “We have developed our product range of harvester heads actively with our customers. Many of our customers work in challenging conditions, which is why their development ideas give us the best possible feedback for product development. With its completely new structure, the new H8 harvester head is ideal for processing large trees.”

Forestry Journal:

The new head can be mounted on Ponsse’s Ergo and Bear, the strongest harvesters in its product range. The saw box area is wider than before, making the harvester head a good choice for trees with a high butt diameter.

The head’s structure has been designed for easy maintenance, and the frame has been built to be even more durable. A powerful feed, combined with a geometry that firmly supports larger stems on feed rollers, is designed to guarantee high productivity and fuel economy. The automatic features of the Opti control system, developed and built by Ponsse, control the feed speed and saw movement, according to the tree diameter, and ensure fast and precise sawing.

In a live launch event, broadcast from the Ponsse factory in Vierema, Finland, Ponsse spoke to some of its customers who have been using the new head.

Operator Ville Karhila of Finnish firm Metsä-Multia Oy said: “I’ve been felling trees with this new H8 for six months now. At first, I was simply amazed. After all, I hadn’t used Active Speed before. However, I got used to it after a few months and it’s been exactly like promised. What’s good about the new saw box is that practically no snow is packed inside. I haven’t had to remove any ice from the saw box this winter. If I had to choose between the old and new one, I wouldn’t go back to the older H8.”

Sami Lamminen, sales training and support specialist, offered some more detail on the Active Speed function. He explained: “Active Speed is a feeding motor system where we have three different feeding, torque and speed settings. On larger diameters, the system uses the highest torque and the lowest feeding speed setting, and when the diameter gets smaller, the system uses the lower feeding torque and higher feeding speed setting.

"When the diameter gets even smaller, then it uses the lowest feeding torque and highest feeding speed. This is like having three different gears in a car. That makes the new H8 harvester head really versatile for our customers.”

Feedback was also provided from customers in France. Fabrice Lepain, president of SAS, said: “This new H8 head improves yield and there’s less servicing. There are no more hoses between the two cylinders. It’s all going inside. The sawing case has been completely reshaped to let us take on trees that are much wider at the base.

Forestry Journal:

"It’s brought an improvement in terms of my yield, especially for short timber, long timber, from the first thinning to the final cut. When we’re making long timber, we have these new feeder motors that are equipped with Active Speed. It’s used to move at a much higher speed in small timber, to go much faster.” 

French forestry firm Mecafor has been testing the new H8 for 18 months. Manager Eric Paillot said: “We have been working with Ponsse machines for several decades and we had come to realise that harvesting large Douglas firs was quite challenging due to the machines’ limited possibilities, particularly the harvester head. So we asked for the harvester heads be upgraded to make it easier for them to take the shape of the tree at the base. The tree is quite conical in shape and enlarged at the base next to the roots. 

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“The result is a real improvement compared to the previous head, especially regarding the opening at the base, which is larger. We can easily grip the tree and work downwards. What is important for us is that we will be able to get more noble wood, found at the base of the tree, whereas the previous heads left a very large stump.”