forest tract

Mar 10, 2020

Forest-Tract Introduces XXL Skidder


Wood transformation is labor-intensive and mandates high productivity throughout the value chain. Enhanced productivity must go hand in hand with sustainability to protect the planet’s primary carbon and greenhouse gas sink, as well as the habitat of 80% of the world’s biodiversity.

Sustainability and productivity were the priority in the minds of Forest-Tract’s founders Faouzi Doghmi, President and CEO, and Didier Guibourt, CTO, when they designed the Skid XXL skidder in 2014. They applied their expertise in developing bespoke machinery for severe applications and partnered with the Poclain Hydraulics sales and applications team early in the project to imagine a revolutionary transmission. Branded Full Hydraulic System, it integrates two SmartDrive CT Electronic Control Units (ECUs) that control four P90 pumps and power two MS50 motors at the front and two MS83 at the rear.

Each Skidder Component is Optimized

The machine, with its permanent four-wheel drive, generates no skidding. The ECUs control the swashplate angle of each pump and continuously adjust the wheel motor speed according to the steering angle. Subsequently, when the machine turns, the outer wheels rotate faster than the inner wheels. The ECUs also continuously monitor the adherence of the wheel to the ground and reduce the oil flow to the motors that start losing their grip. The XXL skidder thus limits its footprint on the forest soil.

With its articulated frame (+/-45 degrees articulation and +/-15 degrees oscillation angle), the skidder can operate on adverse terrain, twisting trails, and grades up to 40 degrees, giving the operator access to spots that are hard to reach. Purpose-built and designed in-house, the ten-meter boom provides 25 kNm of lifting capacity. In other words, it can lift a 25-ton load or 2.5 tons if the load is lifted with a ten-meter offset. Superior lifting capacity and gradeability, as well as extended reach enable the operator to resort less to manually securing the stems using the cable and winch to pull an inaccessible log.

With its three-meter wide opening, the grapple can lift the log from the ground and cause less damage to the surroundings. It can also carry out loading and sorting and handle short and long logs as well as fuelwood.

Driving is smooth and precise, as the high efficiency of the motors, coupled to the ECUs, provide high starting torque and responsiveness even when the crane is at work.

In terms of speed, the machine can work at a maximum speed of 18 kph when the terrain allows it and travel at 32 kph on the road with the rear wheel motors freewheeling. The Skid XXL is certified for road use.

Lastly, operator safety is guaranteed with a ForestTract designed cab that complies with the ROPS, FOPS, and OPS certifications.

A Skidder with 20% Higher Profitability

“We’ve done several comparative tests on the field, alongside skidders with mechanical or semi-mechanical drives and we estimate that profitability is 20 to 30% higher with the Skid XXL”, summarizes Faouzi Doghmi. The profitability gains can be primarily attributed to the Poclain Hydraulics transmission. The volumetric efficiency of the direct drive motors is greater than on a mechanical axle, so fuel consumption is reduced. In addition, since the speed of each wheel is constantly adjusted, the tires never skid and have a longer lifetime. Furthermore, as the transmission operates without the traditional gearbox, differential and axle, there is less downtime for servicing and repairs. Lastly, the ruggedness of the machine, built with fine-grained structural steel, further increases its uptime and overall lifetime.

Now that the Skid XXL has proven its performance on the field, Forest Tracts’ managers are heading for the European market, and in particular Germany, where skidders are widely used. They are opening a sales office in Saarbrucken, and are displaying their machine in tradeshows in France, Belgium, and Germany