BTB 38: Bluewood Industries Purchases 250th Tigercat Down Under

Tigercat sold its first unit into Australia (also the first Tigercat machine sold outside of North America) to Kevin Morgan back in early 2000.

— Glen Marley, sales representative for Australasia and Southeast Asia

Kevin also purchased the 50th and 100th units to be sold into Australia. Kevin Morgan Group of Companies currently owns 24 Tigercat machines and continues to be a great supporter.

The 860C with the new 5300 bunching saw has an edge over the shear in coppiced plantations.

The 860C with the new 5300 bunching saw has an edge over the shear in coppiced plantations.

In early July, 2014 Tigercat sold its 250th machine in Australia – an 860C feller buncher fitted with the new 5300 bunching saw.

Clint and Sharon Rayner purchased the machine. They own Bluewood Industries Pty Ltd (formally known as Albany Timber Services) based in Albany, Western Australia. Clint and Sharon’s company is somewhat typical of a young family-owned logging venture. The couple started off in a completely different industry (earthmoving) and learned very early on that flexibility and resistance to adversity would be the keys to success. As Clint recalls, “Albany Timber Services was registered in late 2004 and commenced harvesting operations in January 2005, initially contracting to Great Southern Plantations within the Albany region for an annual production of 80 000 tonnes of Eucalyptus Globulus, more commonly known as blue gum.”

Albany Timber Services provided a full stem skid-to-roadside harvesting methodology for Great Southern Plantations. Over the next three years of operation, the company’s secured tonnage increased, resulting in the start-up of a second crew in 2008 for combined annual production of 240 000 tonnes. Albany Timber Services contracted exclusively to Great Southern Plantations until January 2010, when that company went into receivership.

Clint and Sharon Rayner celebrate the purchase of their new 860C, the 250th Tigercat machine in Australia.

Clint and Sharon Rayner celebrate the purchase of their new 860C, the 250th Tigercat machine in Australia.

A solid reputation for quality and reliability allowed Clint and Sharon to negotiate some short term commitments with other companies. “Between March, 2010 and January, 2011 we completed various short term log production projects for Australian Plantation Export Company. This varied between 220 and 550 tonnes per day. We also assisted them in gathering data whilst undertaking harvesting of unmanaged second rotation coppice plantations,” says Clint.

In mid-2010, Gunn’s Ltd became the new responsible entity for Great Southern Plantation Managed Investment Scheme. The problem was that Gunn’s was looking for in-fi eld chipping and Albany Timber Services was set up to supply debarked six metre logs. “We commenced a small logging operation for Gunn’s in October, 2010,” says Clint. “However, shortly after we converted our logging systems into two in-fi eld chipping systems with a minimum production of 220 000 tonnes per annum.”

One system utilized roadside processors to stockpile and feed a stand-alone chipper. The other system used a fl ail and chipper supported by a feller buncher and skidders. Although Clint and Sharon experienced a second setback when Gunn’s entered into Voluntary Administration during September, 2012, the company had commenced skid-to-roadside log harvesting services with Australian Bluegum Plantations in January, 2011 and has continued to provide numerous methodologies in both logging and chipping formats. Current production requirements are in the range of 1 200 to 2 000 tonnes per day.

Bluewood Industries runs a pair of 630D skidders.

Bluewood Industries runs a pair of 630D skidders.

“We worked closely with Australian Bluegum Plantations to improve operational efficiencies and quality,” explains Clint. “One recent development is chemical spray bar technology during harvesting to eradicate the need for stump spraying after the event. Not only does this allow a more timely process, but to date this has shown a significant increase in the effectiveness of the kill rate of the stumps.”

It was during this time that Clint and Sharon purchased their first Tigercat 630D skidder in August, 2012. They were looking for additional reliability, production and flexibility along with reduced logging costs. Once Clint saw the impressive results that the Tigercat skidder had delivered to his operations, he purchased his first Tigercat feller buncher, an 855C fitted with the 2000 series bunching shear and a 340 degree wrist.

After looking at his options and visiting the Tigercat factory earlier this year, Clint decided to pull the trigger on the new 5300 bunching saw fi tted to the 250th machine, an 860C feller buncher. This purchase is allowing him to fully compare the two machines. Clint suggests that both machines are extremely good at what they do and both have their strong points. The disc saw has a distinct advantage in the coppiced blue gum plantations that the company will be cutting around the Boyup Brook region for the next few years. The 860C was quickly followed by a second 630D skidder and Clint continues to be impressed with the machines and the service back-up from Onetrak, Tigercat’s Australian dealer.

The 855C equipped with the 2000 bunching shear. The shear has low maintenance costs and is extremely productive in single stem plantations.

The 855C equipped with the 2000 bunching shear. The shear has low maintenance costs and is extremely productive in single stem plantations.

Albany Timber Services recently changed its name to Bluewood Industries Pty Ltd as the company moves to in-field chipping services outside of the Albany region. Bluewood started a completely new chipping operation in June, 2014, contracting to Western Australian Plantation Resources (WAPRES) and operating around the Bunbury region of Western Australia.

With this expansion, Bluewood purchased an existing chipping operation from WAPRES. In the process, Clint and Sharon acquired two eight-year-old Tigercat machines, a 14,000 hour 630C skidder and a 724D drive-to-tree buncher with the rather unique ability to run either a 2000 series bunching shear for single stem plantations or a 5600 bunching saw for use in coppiced plantations.

Clint reflects that chip specifications have been continually evolving over time, due to changing mill technology and differing customer requirements. “It is important not to dwell on the change, but the fact that it is another string in our bow. We are able to provide alternate specifications, thereby, increasing the potential range in our market. Contractors and harvesting companies must be innovative and proactive in developing processes which improve their overall position in the market.”

Bluewood Industries prides itself in providing outstanding service to its customers by creating stable working relationships. “Quality, productivity, environmental consideration and providing a safe and neutral working environment to employees are just a few of the commitments we make,” says Clint. Tigercat and Onetrak are pleased to be involved with such a professional and progressive company.

Kevin Morgan, Gary Olsen (factory sales representative, international) and Glen Marley (sales representative for Australasia and Southeast Asia) in 2013 in front of the original machine in Australia, an 845B, purchased by Kevin in 2000.

Kevin Morgan, Gary Olsen (factory sales representative, international) and Glen Marley (sales representative for Australasia and Southeast Asia) in 2013 in front of the original machine in Australia, an 845B, purchased by Kevin in 2000.