KOMATSU'S new eight-wheeled harvester builds on the manufacturer's "decades of innovation" to offer one of the most stable machines on the market, a senior official has said. 

The 951XC, which was revealed earlier this year and shown off at June's Swedish Forestry Expo, is said to be ideal for working in denser stands. More compact than its predecessors, the 951 and 931XC, it has lower ground pressure, too, so is gentler on the environment, yet suitable for large timber harvesting and final use in demanding terrain. 

READ MORE: Komatsu's new eight-wheeled harvester is 'machine you can trust', says operator

“We now have a complete range of eight-wheeled machines specially designed for demanding conditions,” said Joakim Johansson, product manager harvesters at Komatsu Forest. “What’s special about the 951XC is that it combines the strength of a 951 with an extremely compact design. It actually has about the same dimensions as a 931XC and so can even be used in denser stands." 

With "great stability and excellent manoeuvrability", the harvester features a significantly shorter distance from the centre of the crane to the front wheels (than the 951) and new working hydraulics to better utilise the diesel engine.

And while it has been optimised for use with the Komatsu C164 – a harvester head specially designed for logging large trees – it also works with the firm's C144 head.

Joakim added: "This makes it a versatile machine with the capacity to harvest extremely large trees." 

The Komatsu 951XC has a number of features that make it one of the most stable harvesters on the market, the firm says. In addition to the tried-and-tested Komatsu concept, the eight-wheeled XC series harvesters have a bogie on the rear frame with two suspension systems – comprised of the swinging rear axle and a bogie – giving the machines completely unique handling characteristics.

Forestry Journal: The 951XC is a behemoth

Joakim said: “Our bogie with twin suspension systems is an innovation of which we’re extremely proud. As well as increasing stability by lowering the machine’s centre of gravity, the machine follows irregularities in the terrain in a forgiving manner while delivering excellent manoeuvrability in challenging terrain conditions." 

“There are many good examples of innovations that have stood the test of time," he added. "My favourite probably remains the Komatsu concept, a feature that came about back in 1984 and means that even today we still have some of the most stable machines on the market.”