Professional wood choppers ‘go wild’ in centre of Minsk

International Lesdrevtech-2013 Specialised Exhibition gathers largest manufacturers from sphere of forestry
By Yury Chernyakevich

Those who tried their hand on the simulator at the Lesdrevtech-2013 trade fair, recently hosted by Minsk’s BelExpo Exhibition Centre, are likely to feel that they too could be foresters; it’s surely not so difficult to fell a tree or cut logs! Belarusian Amkodor’s simulator invited guests to ‘operate’ a harvester or a forwarder — used to cut, fell and sort timber.

Naturally, the simulator aroused great interest and a small queue waited patiently ‘to clear the forest of old trees’. Having tried the harvestor myself, I can vouch for its realism; even a child could drive it successfully. In fact, Andrey, 11, from Minsk gymnasium, was next in line behind me, joined by his grandfather. He did well and, who knows, may find himself in the profession in ten years or so.

Master classes from woodchoppers were another highlight, drawing crowds to see the professionals in action. Their technique is something to behold: even the splinters fly in a different way. They demonstrated some of the exercises with power chain saws used at the World Logging Championship.

The exhibition brought together forestry enterprises and manufacturers of forest machinery from Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Italy, Latvia, Slovenia and Germany. Everyone was keen to show off their latest innovations: timber loaders and shredding machines, mowers and power chain saws, tillers and tractors, solid fuel boilers and machines for collecting logs. There was an embarrassment of riches, since each exhibit deserved attention.

Our Belarusian companies brought samples of machinery and timber goods, with Tolochin forestry presenting its beautiful arbours: graceful in form and worthy of any garden. Colleagues from Kopyl installed a whole wooden ‘estate’ made from high-class timber. Means of protecting forests from pests and fire were also exhibited, as were clothes and equipment for forest workers.

The Belarusian State Technological University stand particularly drew my attention, with its satellite navigation innovation: the ‘Forest Resources’ geo-information system. University student Yevgeny told me that it processes cartographic information for use by Belarusian forestries in planning timber harvesting. It can also warn of fire. Volkovysk forestry has launched the new system, which is likely to be applied across other districts in time.

Lesdrevtech-2013 inspired interest among ordinary Minskers and serious buyers; ‘sold’ signs went up throughout the event, while negotiations were conducted behind companies’ stands between business partners. The forum aroused serious interest among Belarusian and foreign representatives of the forestry industry, providing a great site for product presentation, as well as a venue for preliminary agreements which may result in new contracts.
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