Westquay Trading Company Limited
Westquay Trading Company Limited

Prime movers with purpose


Source: Westquay Trading Company Limited

PrimeTech’s new PT-300 prime mover fills the gap for its clients, fitting perfectly between the smaller PT-200 and the larger PT-400

The French Canadian logging and farming hamlet of Plamondon in North Eastern Alberta has barely 350 residents but can boast an active community. It’s just a dozen or so kilometers off Highway 63, the main route between the province’s industrial heartland and Canada’s world-class oil sands deposits. The sands are booming again and when that busy highway needed widening, one of the contractors they called upon to mulch the right-of-way was local forester Nik Kuznetsov.

Kuznetsov is owner and president of SAN Forestry and the first machines he thought of for the job were PrimeTech. He knows the region’s mixed-wood boreal forest: SAN is one of the main loggers for pulp giant Alberta Pacific (Al-Pac) which operates North America’s largest single-line bleached kraft pulp mill nearby. SAN also undertakes oilfield and lease clearing as well as clearing pipeline rights of way. In addition to their mulchers they have 44 larger pieces of logging equipment and a helicopter.

So Kuznetsov knows what’s important in forestry equipment. He already owns four PT-400s and lately also purchased his first PT-300 — the latest PrimeTech on the market. “We used both the PT-400s and the PT-300 on the Highway 63 job,” he says. All of SAN’s machines use the mulcher head; other applications of it are to reclaim the forest industry’s woodlots, “where they’re planting hybrid trees right now.” he says. Mulching and management of woody debris in Alberta is highly regulated by the province’s Sustainable Resource Development branch. Left at optimum thicknesses, mulch can encourage diverse re-growth in logged areas.

Because much of the ground in Alberta’s north is soft muskeg, a big advantage in a prime mover is low ground pressure. And that’s where the PrimeTech excels says Kuznetsov. “What I like about the PT-300 is it goes in first because it’s lighter,” he says. “When the swamps are not quite frozen, the bigger machines are too heavy so we bring out the smaller ones first. The PT-300 has the horsepower to look OK out there; it can still manage bigger trees.”

Winter is the main season for SAN’s mulching operations says Kuznetsov. “Winter is the best time for mulching; you don’t sink your machine into the swamp.” Mulching frozen ground isn’t a problem. And if he's into rocks, he knows there's a new type of rock-tooth available from Prime-Tech.

A big advantage for Alberta’s sub-zero winters is PT’s dial-up hydraulic control. “Other machines just have a switch—it’s on or off and just starts going. With the PTs you have a dial-up,” says Kuznetsov. “You turn it on and you can dial in when it’s cold, you can warm it up with the dial. So as it gets warmer you go faster. That’s a real plus in cold winters.”

“It’s the most operator friendly machine,” he says. “It’s modern, it’s refined compared to other mulchers. Then when we tried it, it would go through the swamps way better than the competition.” He adds that the PT-300 works perfectly between the smaller and the higher horsepower machines. “It’s a good average machine,” he says.

Which was precisely the reason why Italian manufacturer PrimeTech introduced the PT-300. “Some years ago the market was more into bigger-horsepower machines, like 400-plus horsepower,” says Andreas Lambacher, CEO of PrimeTech Shredding Equipment Ltd. (distributor for PrimeTech equipment in Canada and a 100% branch office of the Italian head office). Also worldwide sales director for PrimeTech, Lambacher says the market has changed and customers now like more of the smaller units. “They’re easier to truck around and have a lower price, but still pretty productive.”

“The PT-300 complements our product range,” says Lambacher. “It’s a pretty powerful unit with excellent productivity, but not as big as the PT-400.” Its 275 horsepower fit between PrimeTech’s smaller PT-200 with 180 horsepower and the PT-400 with 415. Lambacher fully understands Kuznetsov’s enthusiasm for the machine’s advantages. “It has a ground pressure of 3.10 psi, including the head,” he says. That’s accomplished by using 32-inch (813mm) track pads and a relatively long undercarriage, says Lambacher, which make sure the tracks cover a big surface area. As well, PrimeTech uses an oscillating undercarriage so tracks and undercarriage can adjust to the terrain independently, which helps to better distribute the machine’s masses.

In addition to the mulching head with its unique rotor design that takes less power, other heads are offered, says Lambacher—a subsoiler and a rock crusher head. “This allows the customer to use the machine for other applications,” he says. “Especially in western Canada where a lot of the jobs are oil-related and therefore winter jobs, the machines sit during the summer. So with a little investment in another attachment you can keep the machine busy.”

The new PT-300 features:

  • Industry-leading low ground pressure of 3.10 psi
  • 275-hp John Deere 413 cc 6068HF turbocharged&after-cooled 6-cylinder engine with Tier 3 emission standards—places it between the PT-400 with 415 hp and the PT-200 with 180 hp
  • Sauer Danfoss hydraulic pumps and motors for high tractive force, maneuverability and high torque for range of attachments
  • Oscillating undercarriage adapts perfectly to uneven surfaces
  • Option of two types of shoes in 26 inch (662mm) or 32 inch (813mm) widths
  • Two available attachments: the FAE 200U mulching head which can be equipped with STCL rock teeth, regular C-type teeth or VIPER planner style teeth; and the FAE 200S subsoiler head for high working depths of up to 18 inches (457mm) such as milling stumps and roots in road construction, land conversion or pipelines.

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