20th November 2018
BTB spoke with owner-operator, Eli Coblentz of Coblentz Logging to get his thoughts on his 602 cable skidder.
BTB: Describe your current operations.
Eli: We are based in Fresno, Ohio and are logging a 300-acre piece right now. It’s a three-quarter mile skid, one way. We have the 602 skidder, a dozer and a loader. The skidder is the only thing we use to pull. The dozer is to make a path. And the loader to load logs obviously.
BTB: When did you start operating the 602?
Eli: I saw the machine at the Paul Bunyan Show in October, so I called Ricer Equipment [Tigercat dealer], put my order in and started operating in December 2017. I have the third 602 made.
BTB: What are your thoughts on this machine?
Eli: It’s a very operator friendly piece of equipment. It’s really stable and it pulls really well. The pivot point in the centre section just makes it so much more stable. You can go up steeper hills without tipping. The fuel consumption, the power to the wheels, it pulls so nice. Everything is balanced just right.
BTB: Is the machine easy to manoeuvre?
Eli: This machine is bigger than the last one I had. But power for power, it’s about the same.
BTB: How is the Turnaround® seat for a cable skidder application like this?
Eli: You just sit back and relax. It’s easier on your back. You have the joysticks so you don’t have to lean forward for the steering wheel all the time. And it’s just so much more operator-friendly. When you swivel that seat, it automatically changes from forward to reverse. And you just back up, winch them up, flip your seat back around, and floor it.
BTB: How do you like the performance of the winch?
Eli: Very good. I love that winch. It’s fully hydraulic. If you have trees that are leaning toward the property line, you just ease on it very easy and it brings that tree over steadily. With a direct drive winch, you pull on it, and it was all-in or all-out. With this one you can roll it as slow as you want to. You can do it like a foot a minute if you want to. But if you pull it all the way back, it reels a lot faster than any other winch I have ever had.
BTB: How is the Tigercat EHS transmission compared to your previous direct drive?
Eli: It’s a lot better. With the direct drive those wheels were spinning all the time, it couldn’t slow down and speed up on its own. If you were pulling and it caught on something and you pulled harder, you would dig a hole. This one just slows down and then takes off on its own. There is a lot less wear on the tires.
BTB: Have other loggers in the area been curious about this new model?
Eli: Yes, actually, a lot of them have wanted to come see it. There’s one guy that was using a different brand of skidder to help us log the other half of the piece we’re on. He said after he saw what the 602 does this would be his next skidder. And, to be honest with you, they had two skidders rolling full time and there was four guys – one with the loader, two on the skidders and one guy cutting. We had one on the loader, one guy skidding and one guy cutting. We had one less guy and one less skidder. And by the time we had 38 loads out, they had 40 loads out.
BTB: Is your machine equipped with telematics?
Eli: Yes. It’s very easy to understand everything. And if something does not function right, Tigercat and Ricer can both see what’s going on with the machine. They can see what they need to fix it. The dealer can make one trip and get it done, instead of coming out, seeing what’s wrong, and then going back to get what is needed. The dealer knows what might be wrong before getting here.
BTB: How has your productivity changed since purchasing this machine?
Eli: It has almost tripled. We did a comparison. We used the older skidder the first day. We got two loads out. The next day, we used the 602 and we got six loads out.
BTB: Do you have any feedback on Ricer Equipment as a dealer?
Eli: They are always very easy to work with, very friendly and dependable.
BTB: Anything else you would like to add?
Eli: It’s just amazing, how they came up with this machine. The logs, they don’t bang against the back end. The arch is hanging out over the back far enough to where you don’t break cables or get underneath the skidder. Everything like the centre pins are way stronger than they have to be. But that just adds to the strength of the machine. All around it’s just a well thought out machine.