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Effects of two different forwarder steering and transmission drive systems on rut dimensions

Jeanette Edlund, Urban Bergsten, Björn Löfgren
Journal of Terramechanics, Volume 49, Issue 5, October 2012, Pages 291-297, ISSN 0022-4898, 10.1016/j.jterra.2012.03.004.
Abstract: Impact of two different forwarders, with similar carrying capacities but different transmission drive and steering systems, on rut formation was compared. El-forest F15 with three individual steerable axles without bogies, large wheels (∅164 cm) and an electric hybrid transmission drive system, and a Valmet 860, with conventional transmission drive (∅131 cm wheels, two bogies) were compared. The ruts from the El-forest with or without a load were generally deeper than those produced by the tracked Valmet when driving in a straight line on soft arable land. On an S-shaped or circular course the El-forest and Valmet produced the same rut depths after the first pass, but with an increasing number of passes, the Valmet made deeper ruts. On the intermediate forest land, after driving in a straight line, the El-forest generally produced shallower ruts than the non-tracked Valmet (tracks not used at this site). When driving on a circular course, this difference was also apparent when machines carried a load. The mean rut width created by the El-forest was significantly narrower than from the Valmet at both sites. A transmission drive system with axles and wheels that can be individually steered seems advantageous to reduce rut formation, especially if the wheels have reduced ground pressure on soft soils.
Keywords: Forest; Forwarder; Propulsion system; El-forest; Forest machine; Soil damage