VIDEO: Hyundai R380LC-9 Harvester


Stopping to engage four-wheel drive, Porter Equipment’s Andy Hicks says his ute rides much smoother on forestry roads when all wheels are engaged. Plus, if he needs to avoid a logging truck in a hurry and ends up in a ditch, two-wheel drive won’t be much help – the last thing he wants to do is hold up production.

Right now, he is feeling pretty pleased with himself, and rightly so. On behalf of Porter Equipment, Andy Hicks has recently delivered the largest Hyundai high and wide harvester in the country to Gordon Flight of Flight Harvesting Ltd. The family name 'Flight' is well-known in logging circles in the central North Island, being responsible for the removal of massive tonnages of timber over the years, and it would be more than fair to say that the Flights know the market when it comes to forestry.

For those who are not familiar with these types of machines, a harvester is a machine (usually an excavator) that has a hydraulically-operated harvesting head attached. The head grips onto a standing tree which is then cut through with a retractable hydraulic chainsaw. Once the tree is felled, it is fed back through the head and de-limbed (branches cut off) in the process. The finishing touch comes courtesy of the chainsaw on the harvesting head, which cuts the log into specified lengths. These are stacked ready for removal to their destinations.

The head is also fitted with sensors, so that accurate cutting information can be fed and stored in the machine's computer.

In its pre-forest form, the Hyundai R380LC-9 originally weighed in at 38 tonnes, but like a weightlifter on a serious workout programme the new machine was sent for a major makeover to ensure its suitability for demanding forestry work. This included lifting it for 240mm more clearance under the subframe and widening the machine by 315mm; a purpose-built cab; underslinging of the dipper arm to protect it from falling branches; and a host of other modifications to ensure a strong, well-balanced end product. After all the work was carried out and the harvesting head attached, the forest-ready machine tipped the scales at around 48.5 tonnes.

To read the rest of this story, pick up a copy of the October issue of Deals on Wheels, on sale now.

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