Swedish Forest Industry Joins Forces with Forest Machinery Manufacturer to Develop New Sustainable Forest Harvesting Machine

Sustainability is one of many major challenges facing the Swedish forestry industry. In 2019, a group of eight Swedish forestry companies—Södra, Sveaskog, SCA, Holmen, Norra Skog, Mellanskog, Stora Enso, and BillerudKorsnäs, along with the forest machinery manufacturer Komatsu Forest—started working together to create a machine with a low-impact approach that could increase harvesting productivity and improve the operator’s environment. The result of those efforts is a new concept machine called the Centipede.

With its innovative technology, the Centipede is designed to ensure the most sustainable possible management of forests for both the environment and people. The machine is built to reduce the risk of ground damage, increase transport speed, and reduce whole-body vibrations for the operator. The machine has a newly developed forestry track system, with a large support surface to minimize ground impact. It also has a fully suspended chassis to manage uneven ground conditions, enabling the speed of the machine to be increased significantly without the corresponding increase in vibrations.

Due to this newly developed technology, the Centipede can be driven both on sites that are normally regarded as winter sites and on sites that are significantly impacted by precipitation. In addition to being able to satisfy timber supply throughout the year and thus provide better prerequisites for profitable harvesting operations, Centipede has a number of characteristics that will directly increase production.

An extensive preliminary study was implemented. The machine has been thoroughly evaluated through simulations and test drives. The comprehensive testing will continue in spring 2022, and decisions will thereafter be made about the project’s continuation.

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