BTB 52: The Full Package
Published on: Monday 13th July 2020
– Samantha Paul
Sunshine Logging is based in the West Kootenay region of British Columbia, Canada – located among picturesque snowcapped mountains on the western shore of Kootenay Lake.
Clint runs three five-piece crews with twenty employees. Each crew has a feller buncher, shovel logger, skidder, processor and loader.
Clint started hand falling, line skidding and yarding after high school. In 1989 he started working for Sunshine Logging. Nine years later he purchased half the business, and in 2018 took full ownership. His wife Vanessa manages the books and keeps everything in order. Clint’s oldest daughter Kelsey runs the company’s safety program and helps out in the ofﬁce. His youngest daughter Julia operates equipment, currently working on the road-building side of the business.
Logging in the Kootenays
Sunshine Logging has a one-year renewable harvesting contract with Kalesnikoff Lumber Company based in Castlegar and a contract with Porcupine Wood Products out of Salmo. He also buys timber on private land. “It is a bit of a mix,” says Clint. “That is what the Kootenays has going for it, we still have a log market here. We still have multiple mills. We don’t have one big licensee in the area running the whole show.”
Typical terrain in the Kootenay region is quite steep. The forests generally are mixed stands of ﬁr, hemlock, cedar and spruce, known as ‘Kootenay Mix.’ “Right now we’re harvesting a 30 hectare [74 acre] tract of Kootenay Mix for Kalesnikoff Lumber Company,” says Clint.
The new iron Sunshine Logging received British Columbia’s third and fourth 850 processors – both equipped with the new 568 harvesting head. Clint was tired of playing tug of war between the carrier and head with his processing equipment. “Tigercat is a good product and I was attracted to the full package,” explains Clint.
The gear was purchased through Inland sales specialist Jason Quaife out of Cranbrook. With the new Inland dealership in Castlegar, Sunshine Logging will now be serviced by this location. “Castlegar is ramping up. They have hired some new mechanics – it’ll be good for us having a closer branch.”
AT THE END OF THE DAY, THE TWO WORK BETTER TOGETHER SINCE THEY’VE BEEN DESIGNED AND TESTED TOGETHER.
– Clint Carlson, owner, Sunshine Logging Ltd.
Clint ordered the 850/568 packages in April 2019 and subsequently toured the Tigercat plant in Ontario the following month. “I was impressed. It’s amazing what they’re doing there. It’s a factory with a customer touch,” says Clint. “A lot of the factories I’ve been to, they’re mass-producing excavators. You’re just getting what everybody is getting. You walk into Tigercat and you can see your machine. There’s a good chance I was climbing through the frame of our 850 when it was still steel,” tells Clint. “As for the head, I think we determined we were watching ours being built when we were there.”
“I’m fully aware that we are in a bit of a prototype phase when you get the ﬁrst of anything, but I wasn’t worried,” Clint says. “If any problems do come up, Tigercat has always been good about bringing that improvement back to us. And it’s not my first early Tigercat. I bought a brand new 870C buncher in 2005 and we had two early L870s before that.”
Sunshine Logging’s ﬁrst 850 processor with the Tigercat 568 harvesting head arrived onsite in January 2020. Clint wanted a head that could work efﬁciently in both 20 cm (8 in) pine and 70 cm (30 in) ﬁr. “It is a big factor,” says Clint.
“We were worried the head was going to be a bit small since we do push 30-inch wood. The whole thing is getting the right size head to be efficient in both.”
Clint provides some feedback on the machine thus far. “The swing on it is really good. I deﬁnitely notice a difference from the previous excavator-style carrier. The twin swing drive is a lot better,” he says. “The saw is a lot faster cutting than on excavator conversions, which is saving time, and it’s actually producing a better product. We’re getting less ladder check,” explains Clint. If the saw cuts too slow and there’s tension in the log when it cuts, it tries to break it, and it will leave splits. Because the saw is cutting faster, it is more of a clean cut. This is especially important as the wood gets bigger. Clint also commented on how the righthand side visibility has improved due to the hooked main boom proﬁle. “It was always a blocked view with the straight style boom,” he says.
IT DOESN’T MATTER IF IT’S EIGHT INCHES OR 30 INCHES,
IT JUST PULLS THE LOGS THROUGH EFFORTLESSLY.
– Dave LaMarsh, 850/568 operator, Sunshine Logging Ltd.
Operating the ﬁrst machine Sunshine Logging received is Dave LaMarsh. Dave has nineteen years of experience operating equipment, including experience with different brands and multiple processors. Dave comments on the processing performance. “It doesn’t matter if the logs are eight inches or 30 inches, it just pulls them through effortlessly,” Dave asserts. “It’s set up nice. The way the head hangs makes it easy for picking. The length and diameter reading is really good. The length of the logs have not varied two inches from what the reading is telling you,” adds Dave. “The heated seat is awesome and the visibility with the bent boom is way better. Overall it’s much better than a regular excavator. That is for sure.”
The second 850/568 processor package arrived the first week of February and is operated by Kerry Gouldsborough. At the time of visit, the machine had accumulated 120 hours. This is Kerry’s first Tigercat. “It’s fast,” he claims. “I really like it. It’s way quicker than I expected. I ﬁnd the operating station really comfortable. It’s a small cab but when you’re sitting in there, it’s actually quite comfortable.”
“I’m surprised at how big of a piece I can run through that head. I have run logs up to 30 inches through it,” tells Kerry. “I haven’t had to work on the carrier yet but I like how everything is contained. Everything is airy and it opens up well. There is good access to the centre of the machine and all the way around it.”
“Because it’s purpose-built, your functions are a lot better,” states Kerry. On his previous processor, if the head was having an issue, it basically eliminated the rest of the hydraulic system. “You had to wait for the head to ﬁnish before you could do anything. It didn’t multi-function as well as the new package. With this, you don’t have that issue,” adds Kerry. “Other guys that have run the Tigercat brand all say they’re great. So I was actually quite excited to be getting it, especially brand new, straight out of the box.”
Increased productivity, it’s unanimous
Clint, Dave and Kerry have all noticed an increase in productivity since getting the new machines. “We’re early on, but I think for sure we will see an increase,” says Clint. “We just haven’t got past all the visitors,” he laughs. The crew hasn’t been able to run at full capacity for several weeks due to all the interested people coming out to see the machines in action.
Clint wanted the full Tigercat package and is very happy with his decision. “At the end of the day, the two work better together since they’ve been designed and tested together.”
Click the link below to watch the associated video on Tigercat TV.
Tigercat representatives along with an Australian customer group made the trek to Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan in August to have a look at the prototype 568 harvesting head purchased and currently being tested by Brander Enterprises.
Tigercat introduces the highly anticipated 850 roadside processor.