Logger Jussi Antman lives and breathes forest. He knows forest machines and their equipment like the back of his hand, including harvester rotators and their important parts. This 47-year-old thoroughbred forest professional himself represents longevity and continuity in their truest sense, first working for 9 years as a hired driver and thereafter running his own business specialising in regeneration and thinning felling for 20 years. After all that he has seen and done in the forest business, Jussi Antman can look back proudly on his wealth of experience of different rotator models, their links and swing dampers. And he is generous in sharing that experience.
Forest work makes heavy demands for a harvester rotator: everything needs to be durable, strong and accurate. Man and machine must react fast – time and again – when feeding timber and controlling the harvester head. There are many opinions among drivers about the need of swing damping: some drivers don’t want brakes at all whereas others tighten and loosen them to their liking. Based on his experience, Jussi Antman has a strong opinion: ”With correctly adjusted brakes it is just a lot more relaxed and pleasant to work, no bumps in the cabin. For example, when you’re driving and working on stony soil, it can be pretty rough and the harvester head swinging.” Jussi also has a clear favourite among rotators: After having been testing the latest version of Black Bruin’s RH3016 rotator Jussi’s opinion is clear: ”It’s just great that a Black Bruin rotator never wears out, like some other makes do. It maintains its accuracy throughout its long, long service life. The rotator stays strong and causes no problems even in the longer run.”
Jussi’s overall experiences of other rotator makes are not very positive: ”I had to buy a new rotator after every 4,000 working hours, because the old one simply lost its power. And you can’t use them for any other work – not even in the garden – so they end up in metal recycling. For one harvester head, I had to buy three rotators during the machine’s lifetime. Durability and uneven rotation are the biggest problems with rotators powered by vane motors.” As for the maintenance of the Black Bruin RH3016 rotator, the very standard procedures at the same time with normal service routines of the machine are quite enough – the most important thing being utilising the case drain line, which enhances oil circulation in the hydraulic circuit. And the less hydraulic oil is lost the lower is the fuel consumption. “Black Bruin’s rotator has no oil bypass problem, and it’s been great to see savings in fuel costs,” Jussi reports. “With another rotator, I noticed that the higher the pressure I drove, the greater the leakage was and the efficiency decreased accordingly.”
Jussi Antman has been testing a swing damper with a 310 mm link and Black Bruin’s dual brakes. In practise the upper brake kits have fewer than normal brake lamellas, meaning that the brake kit is shorter and thus the tip of the boom narrower. ”In my opinion, this works better for tree felling, the brake kit doesn’t touch the trunk and force the harvester head into a wrong position,” Jussi describes. Owing to the dual brakes there’s more torque and the adjustment mechanism is on two sides. ”You don’t need to do tightening so often, which is definitely an asset in use, because it helps positioning on the trunk. Accuracy is important – especially in tight places where brakes and all you do is a matter of centimetres.” And why the longer link? “If there’s a sharp movement, the slighter angle buys you more time to react,” Jussi explains why his solution is better.
Jussi lives in Kuhmo, eastern Finland and has lately been doing a lot work on thinning sites some two hour’s drive away from home. ”Currently I’m working on some swampy ground where I did the primary harvesting in the autumn. It’s easier to continue work in winter when the ground holds better and there are no leaves on the trees. You can see so much better.”
In Jussi’s opinion, the best thing about a logger’s job is the machines. ”And I like nature a lot, being in the forest. It’s great to be working with people who are really interested in machines and developing them,” Jussi continues. What about the future availability of workforce in forestry? ”You have to be interested in the business, nobody can be forced into this.”
Jussi cannot name his favourite season in his work. He finds all of them great in their own way. From the point of view of working efficiency, summer and autumn are ideal, and a low-snow winter. Lots of snow is good for skiers but for a logger it simply means high fuel consumption. ”Seasonal variation is a good bonus because you just can’t get tired of your job,” Jussi says with a smile. Jussi Antman plans to go on working in the forest for many years to come. He says: ”And I want to learn something new every day!” That’s the way to grow into a superpower. From an analytic mindset always looking for new ways of doing.
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