Operating powerful vehicle with two fingers
By Vasily Bestuzhev
Traditionally, timber preparation has always been dangerous, since electric saws are used, requiring human operation. Even now, large volumes of timber are prepared this way. However, recent growing demand for timber internationally has inspired newly mechanised methods.
“Domestic machine builders are supporting the forestry industry,” explains the Chief Engineer of Mogilev’s Forestry, Mikhail Grigorovich. “Minsk’s Amkodor has launched production of multi-purpose timber machinery — similar to imported harvesters and forwarders. The machine cuts trees, then loads them onto transport vehicles, before sorting them at an intermediate storage site. The process is automated, with a human operator able to sit safely in a cabin, operating a panel board.”
Alexander Kozlov, who operates the multi-purpose Amkodor-2551 harvester, takes me to a wood cutting area, near the village of Nikolaevka. The manipulator grasps a tree near its roots, in order to cut and pull it down. Then, its branches are sawn off and the trunk is sliced into pieces, before being piled. It even gathers the remaining branches from the ground, placing them in a neat pile. The young driver operates the vehicle with two fingers, using a joystick. His cabin has no steering wheel or levers. He tells me, “This vehicle is powerful, obedient and easily operated, while having reliable controls.”
Planning to purchase more highly efficient multi-purpose machines, the heads of forestries are worried that ‘drivers’ can only be trained in the capital. At present, only four men can operate Amkodor’s harvester and forwarder; the vehicles are used two shifts a day, but 24 hour operation would be possible were there enough ‘drivers’.
Meanwhile, the Mogilev Forestry is successfully fulfilling its targets. Last year, it even surpassed some of its planned figures and enjoyed profitability of almost 40 percent (over double that forecast). This has placed the enterprise among the most profitable in the Mogilev Region and among the top ten countrywide.