Bracke Forest promises lightning-fast roadside clearing, but behind that slogan lies new technology that makes stand thinning and clearing more efficient, which in turn can increase the availability of biofuel.
The new silviculture and biomass head was exhibited at the World Bioenergy trade fair in Jönköping and is a hybrid between a traditional harvester head and a giant brush cutter.
Bracke Forest says that both standard cutting chains with a guide bar and cutters have problems when it comes to saplings and brushwood.
“A cutting chain can jump over the guide bar when it’s being used in sapling stands,” says Sören Andersson of Bracke Forest. “A cutter pulls some of the saplings up by their roots and brings along gravel and earth, which then causes problems in the chain.”
Bracke’s alternative looks like a harvester head but has a circular, rotating saw blade instead of a guide bar. On the blade sites a ¾ inch chain of the type used industrially in stack cutters and similar equipment. The chain is held in place by a cam disc so it is self-tensioning.
The head can process stems up to 25 cm thick and can also be used to clear bushes in power line corridors. It has accumulating grapple arms and can gather a number of stems in one go, which increases productivity considerably.
“The head has been well received by the market, especially in Germany,” Andersson says.
From a contractor’s viewpoint, the advantages of the new head include less hassle and a lower cost per cleared square- or cubic meter. In turn, this means that clearing is less expensive than with manual methods, which is the alternative when other heads fail to function.
The Bracke C16.a weighs 540 kg and requires a good-sized crane or boom. A suitable base machine would be a good-sized harvester, forwarder or excavator.