Chipper is a ‘pretty versatile bit of gear’

“THIS LITTLE chipper punches well above its weight. We’ve put some fairly good size wood through it and its munched it up no sweat. It’s a pretty versatile bit of gear,” says Jamie Law, of the Ribbonwood Victoria operations.

He was talking about his Bruks 805.2 drum chipper combined with an EcoLog 594C forwarder.

Jamie explained that the machine had been trialled with HVP for about a year then after losing a clearfell contract he made the approach to HVP and Johan Jaktman (principle Scandinavian Forestry and Engineering) to take the chipping on.

“It hadn’t been worked by a contractor so we wanted to make it work like a logging operation as opposed as a trial so we wanted to put it into full on production,” he said.

“We got it about November working in chipping outrows and T2s, chipping all the wind blow and leftover stuff from the harvesting. That was up near Benalla.

“Then we did a little piece in the same area and we used our 20 tonne excavator to cut down the smaller regen pine that was growing among the clearfell blocks and we chipped all that stuff as well and we’ve had it in an unthinned clearfell block just chipping residue leftover and the cutover from that.

“At the moment we’re at Stanley and we’re chipping fire salvage from the Black Saturday bushfires, and that’s whole tree lengths.

“Because of the way the Bruks is we pick it up with then forwarder grapple and poke it into it. We don’t actually bring any residue to roadside. We have tried that but the versatility of this machine is really good and the product we’re targeting really suits this machine because we can go into the cutover and pick it up put it into the chipper,, chip it and then bring out the chip and then load it into the trailers. It does three jobs in one … chipper, extraction and loading all in one machine with one guy,” he said.

Jamie explained that he was constantly thinking about other ways to do the work but it all added up to needing another machine and another wage.

He said the Bruks/EcoLog was ideal for the product he was targeting.

“It’s pretty good quality chip for a drum chipper. They take it to D.R. Henderson, the really good stuff they’ll use it in connection with their sawmill chip to make their MDF board. We send in three loads a day to them that they mix in. We also send a load to CHH in Myrtleford and that is used for boiler fuel,” Jamie said.

When asked how the chipper handled the burnt timber, Jamie said … “No sweat. The stuff at the moment has only got charcoal on it so it’s coming out really clean. It’s as dry as. The mills really like it because it’s exactly what they’re after.”

The Bruks 805.2 (twin knife drum chipper) has a. 450hp Scania motor running the chipper and that runs all the chipping, the chip accelerator, dumping yokes, all the hydraulics pretty much to do with the chipper and the forwarder is just the crane and the drive on an EcoLog 594C.

“This little chipper punches well above its weight. We’ve put some fairly good size wood through it and its munched it up no sweat. It’s a pretty versatile bit of gear,” he said.

“Johan put on the high dumping yokes so we can position the trailers wherever we like and pull the machine up beside them and dump into them. Huge benefits there because you don’t have to build any landings to cater for it. We run three semi walking floor trailers with it. Greenfreight does the haulage.

“I’m pretty impressed with the forwarder as far as it operates. I was quite surprised. I didn’t think it was going to be much chop but it’s actually a very good forwarder,” he said.

The chipping contract is virtually the start of something new for Jamie. “This is something very different to what I’ve been used to as it’s my first time chipping. I’ve been doing it (forestry work) for a fair few years now, the harvesting and this was something that interested me because it meant diversification and getting into the renewable energies.

“Every piece of wood we’ve dealt with was either going to be burnt or rotted. They want to get away from heaping and burning and the chipper is something that’s going to eliminate that.

“This practice is well known overseas but not so much here and to get a chance to have a go at this is something that gets me excited again about it all,” says Jamie.