New harvester completes Komatsu’s eight-wheeled range

Komatsu harvester 951XC at work in a forest

The new powerful, yet compact, 951XC harvester excels in difficult terrain 

Komatsu Forest has developed a new final logging harvester that combines power with agility and improved climbing ability. 

The Komatsu 951XC is the third addition to Komatsu Forest’s range of eight-wheeled harvesters specially designed for demanding conditions.

The new harvester was developed to tackle final logging in steep terrain and on soft ground. 

The eight-wheel design, combined with the stable Komatsu concept, ensures a machine that delivers stability, manoeuvrability and low ground pressure. 

The  951XC is also optimized for use with the Komatsu C164 – a harvester head specially designed for logging large trees.

The harvester is part of Komatsu Forest’s product series of machines specially designed for challenging conditions.

“Now we have a complete range of eight-wheeled machines, specially designed for demanding conditions,” said Joakim Johansson, Product Manager of Harvesters at Komatsu Forest.

Compact design

The machine design is similar to the Komatsu 951, although there are some differences. As well, the 951XC has the same wheel size as the 931XC, giving the machine a more compact design and giving the 951XC a total machine length that is shorter than the 951.

The harvester has 242 kN of underlying tractive force and unique interaction between engine, control system and power transmission. The hydrostatic transmission enables engine power to be fully utilized, providing considerable advantages in difficult terrain as well as excellent climbing ability. This is due to the machine’s large hydrostatic pump, which can maintain higher speeds at high tractive forces.

“What is special about the 951XC is that it combines the strength of a 951 with an extremely compact design,” Joakim said. “Since it has about the same dimensions as the 931XC it can be used in denser stands.”

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The harvester is also equipped with hub reductions that provide an advantage when working in challenging conditions, such as steep, snowy or wet terrain, as they increase the life of the bogie and machine reliability.

As well, new working hydraulics better utilize the diesel engine, and provide faster feeding from start to maximum speed, while allowing the saw motor to work more efficiently.

“The new working hydraulics contribute to a feeling of an even stronger engine according to the test operators that have been working with the 951XC,” Joakim said.

Although the working hydraulics are new, in all other respects the Komatsu 951XC shares the same proven design as other Komatsu harvesters.

“This enables several crane and head functions to be used simultaneously with retained maximum hydraulic power, all thanks to the machine’s hydraulic power coordination,” Joakim said.

Parallel crane

All Komatsu harvesters are equipped with parallel cranes. With the Komatsu Forest design concept, the lifting booms and outer booms are linked, which eliminates an entire aspect of crane control. This concept simplifies crane operation by ensuring the head is always in level regardless of crane cycle stage. The parallel crane is also designed to be fast in its outward movements, when the head is unloaded and powerful in its return movements, when the head is heavily loaded.

Compared to the 951, the Komatsu 951XC has a significantly shorter distance from the centre of the crane to the front wheels. This creates a larger working area in front of the machine that enables the operator to work at shorter reaches.

“The new larger working area in front of the machine means more powerful crane movements. And for those who equips their machines with Smart Crane they get an even more easily manoeuvred crane with excellent precision,” Joakim said.

Operator comfort

Thanks to the machine’s stability and cab, the operator is always seated level without the need to stretch and strain to maintain a good seating position. The 951XC is based on the tried-and-tested Komatsu concept that offers favourable weight distribution and has a low centre of gravity. 

In addition, the eight-wheeled XC series harvesters have a double oscillating bogie on the rear frame giving the machines completely unique handling characteristics.

“Our double oscillating bogie on the rear frame is an innovation of which we’re very proud,” Joakim said. 

“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.”

Harvester R&D

The work to develop a new machine is a massive team effort. Before a new machine model is launched, prototypes are thoroughly tested first with Komatsu’s own test operators and then by contractors working in environments suitable for the specific machine model. 

“The 951XC is a good machine, stable and comfortable to operate. It is a machine you can trust, and you feel secure working at a long reach. This is definitely a machine I would like to continue to work with,” said Henrik Lysebäck, one of the contractors recruited to test the harvester. 

Carbon neutral

Recently, Komatsu Forest’s production facility in Sweden became completely carbon neutral. Komatsu Group has a vision of being carbon neutral by 2050, applying to both the production and use of Komatsu machines.

As of June 26, all vehicles in production, including the forest machines that the company manufactures, will be fuelled with HVO100, a biodiesel made from renewable raw materials in the form of waste and residual products. 

The introduction of HVO100 is an initiative the Komatsu Group is implementing at its European factories this year.

“We are extremely proud that we are now achieving carbon-neutral production of our forest machines. The final and important piece of the puzzle is the introduction of HVO100. But that in no way means that we are finished”, said Jens Bengtsson, CEO of Komatsu Forest.

To achieve a carbon-neutral footprint, Komatsu is now continuing to work on the development of future sustainable forest machines. 

“It is a combination of new innovations and good collaborations with partners and suppliers that will lead us to the goal,” Bengtsson said. “There is a lot to do, electrification of our machines is already on the agenda, and we are also following the development of fossil-free steel with great interest. For us, it is important that our business contributes to society and our way of doing that is to take the sustainability issue very seriously and work purposefully and persistently – together.”