For the timber industry professionals who were looking for the latest in timber handling and chipping equipment, the Mid-Atlantic Logging and Biomass Expo in Selma/Smithfield, NC, held on September 24 and 25 gave them an opportunity to see equipment in action. With chipping and timber-handling equipment demonstrations taking place regularly during the two-day event, and with sunny, autumn-like weather providing the perfect backdrop, attendees could compare and contrast equipment from some of the industry’s leading manufacturers. For exhibitor and attendee alike, the expo’s primary focus ultimately pointed to biomass fuel production.
“Chipping our waste wood for use in making wood pellets has been something we have been doing for the past three years or so,” said Jeff Bell, equipment operator and foreman for J&R Cahoon Logging, Inc. Bell, who was on hand at the Bandit Equipment exhibit as the knuckleboom loader operator, said that with the advent of a market for biomass material used for pelletizing for export and boiler fuel at nearby paper mills, there is very little waste that comes from a timber harvesting operation. With quality trees going to saw mills for cut wood products and the remaining, unusable branches and limbs (previously being left behind as waste) needed for use as biomass, they now can chip that material, putting it to good use.
At the James River Equipment exhibit, attendees were able to see an entire tree felling-to-wood chipping demonstration, using the latest in John Deere and Morbark equipment and accessories. Beginning with the cutting and stacking of timber with a John Deere 843L wheeled feller buncher, the moving of the cut trees with a John Deere Grapple Skidder to an area where an operator using a John Deere 2154D Forestry Swing Machine, delimbed and cut the trees with a CSI/IDT Whole Tree Processor, the entire process took a matter of minutes. Once the timber had been harvested and processed, the limbs and branches were put through a Morbark 50/48 whole tree chipper, turning it into the highly marketable micro-chipped wood material that is sought for biofuel and wood pelletizing. For the casual observer, it was a process to behold. To the industry professional, it was a chance to see the latest in timber handling and processing equipment in action.
Other wood chipping demonstrations featured presentations from a number of manufacturers. These included a Bandit 2590 chipper, a Terex Environmental Equipment Ecotec 440 chipper, a Vermeer WC2300XL whole tree chipper, a Trelan 686-WRC Extreme Disc Clean Chipper and a Petersen 4310B tracked drum chipper. Material handling and timber processing equipment such as Vermeer’s FT-300 Forestry Tractor, TimberPro Feller Bunchers, Knuckleboom loaders from Tiger Cat and BARKO and material handling units like the Sennebogen 825 and the Doosan SX225LL excavator outfitted with their log loader attachment, were also on static display at exhibits around the grounds.