BTB 41: ON THE ROCKS IN SCANDINAVIA

BTB took a trip over the Atlantic to Scandinavia to visit Tigercat customer Mats Danielsson, owner of MD Skog AB, in Borlänge Sweden.

– Samantha Paul, Tigercat marketing

Mats Danielsson is based in Borlänge, an industrial city heavily divided by rails and logging roads. It is home to the iron mill of Domnarvet (SSAB) and the paper mill of Kvarnsveden (Stora Enso) and lies 200 km (125 mi) northwest of Stockholm.

1075B forwarder fully loaded. “The only parts that have broken on this machine are the parts that Tigercat does not build,” says operator Ola Andrén.

1075B forwarder fully loaded. “The only parts that have broken on this machine are the parts that Tigercat does not build,” says operator Ola Andrén.

Mats got a taste of what hard work is all about at a young age, growing up farming with his family. With very little experience or infl uence from the forestry sector, one would wonder why Mats decided to start his own logging company. While working on the farm, Mats would see log trucks driving by and sometimes caught a glimpse of a cut-to-length forestry machine working in the woods. He was immediately drawn to the equipment, fascinated by the machines and wanted to understand how each part worked. Mats took his passion to practice and started MD Skog in 1995.

“If I am not working in the woods, I am with my drag bike,” explains Mats.

“If I am not working in the woods, I am with my drag bike,” explains Mats.

When Mats isn’t working in the woods, he is working on his Tigercat branded drag bike. The bike is a Nitromethane injected 1500 cc Suzuki, with a Hilborn fuel injection, Mallory magneto ignition, a MTC slider clutch and a three-speed Weismann gearbox. So far it has taken three years of nearly all the free time he has. He has performed some test runs this year and hopes to have the bike in racing condition by 2016.

Operations

Mats is working towards being all yellow with only Tigercat machines on his job site. Currently he has a 170 kW (228 hp) 1055B forwarder with 3,000 operating hours, equipped with 710×26.5 tires. Accompanying the 1055B with forwarding duties is the 20 tonne 205 kW (275 hp) 1075B with 750×26.5 tires purchased brand new in 2010 with 12,000 hours. He is anxious for Tigercat to come out with a harvester that is big enough for his operations.

MD Skog owner, Mats Danielsson and Tigercat district manager, Sven-Ake in front of 1055B forwarder.

MD Skog owner, Mats Danielsson and Tigercat district manager, Sven-Ake in front of 1055B forwarder.

Mats bought his first Tigercat machine, the 1075B forwarder, after seeing an advertisement for it in the Swedish forestry publication, Direkt Contact. After Mats saw the advertisement he called Tigercat AB district manager, Sven-Ake Stenberg to set up a time to go see the machine working in the fi eld. When Mats saw the 1075B, he knew right away that it was the machine he needed. It wasn’t even time for Mats to trade in his other forwarder – as he usually trades his machines in after five years – but he made an exception.

Mats has a close relationship with Sven-Ake. They have known each other for many years and Mats knows he can always count on him for any after sales support he may need. “The machines are amazing but the people at Tigercat are amazing too, so that always makes the decision very easy,” asserts Mats.

MD Skog has a crew of four operators. Mats operates the newest machine, the 1055B forwarder. Christian Nilsson and Ola Andrén double shift the 1075B.

When Ola was asked how he felt about running the 1075B he stated, “The only parts that have broke on my machine are the parts that Tigercat does not build. That is why I can’t wait for the 1085C with the Tigercat boom, axles and engine.”

The best crew in the world; Ola Andrén, Mats Bergström, Christian Nilsson, Mats Danielsson and Bo Norman.

The best crew in the world; Ola Andrén, Mats Bergström, Christian Nilsson, Mats Danielsson and Bo Norman.

MD Skog runs two shifts, one morning shift from 6:00 am to 2:00 pm and one night shift from 2:00 pm to 10:00 pm. The high latitude of Borlänge makes daylight vary greatly throughout the calendar year with the sun hardly setting for part of each summer and making a brief appearance in the dead of winter. Therefore, proper LED lighting is incredibly important on the jobsite in the winter. Another feature Ola is looking forward to on the 1085C.

“I like to see what I get for my money. There is nothing that compares. Tigercat is absolutely the top of the line”, explains Mats. “The Tigercat forwarder cabs are spacious and you can see everywhere you need to see and that is what is important.”

Tricky terrain

Sweden’s forests are among the most northerly in the world. The warming effect of the Gulf Stream permits forest growth at latitudes that are characterized by treeless tundra in other parts of the world.

Primarily due to repeated glaciations in the region, MD Skog faces the toughest terrain from swamps to steep slopes to gigantic boulders. However, MD Skog pushes through the year only taking two or three weeks per year to stop operations for vacation and work on the drag bike. Other than that the company is working around the clock through the long sunny days and dark cold winters.

Tigercat 1075B forwarder loading and working its way uphill.

Tigercat 1075B forwarder loading and working its way uphill.

“Now after all these years working in the woods, I can narrow it down to only five days when I didn’t want to go to work. I love this job,” says Mats thinking back on his 33 years in the woods.

Mats finds it very advantageous having two different sized forwarders. The 1055B is able to work in softer ground and manouevre in tight spots and the 1075B can carry more and is good for ground clearance in rocky terrain.

“It is up to the operator to be careful but this 1075 has taken a lot of hits with boulders in the under body and it is very strong and durable,” Mats comments. When Ola is asked if he has seen the new Tigercat hooked crane, he says, “Seen it? Yes. Want it? Yes!”

The 1055B has an 8,5 m (28 ft) crane reach which Mats feels is a perfect length. He also fi nds that the crane stays very smooth throughout all movements. The 1055B also has great fuel economy at approximately 12 L/hr (3.2 US gal/hr) at 1,200 rpm.

Production

MD Skog primarily cuts Scots pine and Norway spruce, with sorts typically ranging from 3,1 – 5.5 m (10-18 ft). Logs are grouped and tagged to track chain of custody for the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Mats can actually find out exactly what his logs end up being used for, such as building a new house in Cape Town, South Africa or making diapers in China. Pretty cool!

MD Skog cuts approximately 100 000 m3 fub (85,000 tn) per year, typically producing about 2 000 m3 fub (1,700 tn) per week, depending forwarding distances. (In Sweden m3 fub measures the net volume under the bark.) Most of the clear fell sites are 3 000-4 000 m3 fub (2,550 to 3,400 tn) in total volume, so the crew moves to different sites quite often.

Mats has noted that the volume per tree has been trending lower over the years, with current typical tree volume around 0,4 m3 fub ( 0.34 tn). This means more stems to run through the harvester to get the production numbers he is accustomed to. This year Mats estimates he will produce only 90 000 m3 fub (76,500 tn) due to the fact that many of his tracts are comprised of lower piece size timber.

Vision

Among the future goals of MD Skog are to have a full Tigercat system and to improve profit margins. “Tigercat are the best machines I have ever owned. I will replace the Komatsu as soon as Tigercat comes out with their larger CTL harvester.” Mats is excited to have the 1085C model on his turf in Sweden soon and is confident the machines will last until he can pass them on to somebody else’s grandchildren. Mats knows the 1085C will ensure maximum productivity and uptime for his operations, so he can spend more time working on his bike.

Watch the forwarders in action: