30 November, 2018
Matriarch takes forestry conversions to a new level
Steps and handles have been added for ease of access and the
guarding serves as hand railings for safety
while working on top of the machine.
To provide a professional and thorough approach to the conversion
of Kobelco excavators for the forestry industry, Bell Equipment has chosen its
partner, Matriarch Equipment, as the preferred service provider, which already
has a number of various conversions under its belt.
Matriarch's Ashley Bell says that the first Kobelco conversions
were carried out on three 26-ton SK260LCs to make them suitable for a mill yard
application where they are used to feed the lines to the mill as well as
off-loading trucks to stockpile. To enhance the carrier's mobility and reduce
long term running costs, the customer requested that the excavator tracks be
replaced with custom-built wheeled chassis.
Since the excavators did not need to comply with road legislation, Matriarch
designed a wider wheeled chassis configuration to provide sufficient stability
for the machine to handle timber ‘on the move' without the need for hydraulic
stabilisers, as is the case with a standard road-going wheeled excavator.
Oscillation lock cylinders were incorporated into the design of the rear axle
to lock up when the upper structure slews off centre at 90 degrees. This offers
a more stable platform by preventing movement in the chassis when picking up a
load over the side.
"The wheeled conversion raises the upper structure of the machine,
which provides the operator with a higher seating position for improved
visibility when handling timber. Steps were installed to enable safe and easy
ingress and egress of the cab. The steered rear axle also necessitated the
installation of a steering wheel and related hydraulic valving to the cab,"
To complete the conversion, the bucket was removed to make way for
a nose cone and grab. These machines were fitted with Matriarch's MT1000 grab
with a 1m² capacity and a XR400i Indexator rotator from Sweden with a static
load rating of 55 tons. Cab and windshield guarding completed the conversion.
Since then a number of nose cone, grab and cab guarding installations
have been carried out on SK260LC units and the smaller 21-ton SK210LC.
Kobelco is strong in the forestry industry elsewhere in the world
and takes a keen interest in timber applications. A Kobelco delegation visited
the Matriarch workshop in KwaZulu-Natal earlier in 2018 to see how the local
conversions are being done.
More recently Matriarch has carried out a conversion to fit a
Waratah H215E processing head to a SK210LC. "The installation of a processing
head, as a more complex attachment compared to a grab, is a more complicated
fitment as there are additional controls that are installed to the machine,
some auto-electrical work required along with additional hydraulic valving,
plumbing and an auxiliary hydraulic cooler," explains Ashley.
In addition to fitting the head, Matriarch can also extend the
track grousers for additional ground clearance and traction. Machine structural
guarding is more comprehensive in line with the operating environment and
heavy-duty belly plates have been fitted along with forestry guarding to the
entire upper structure for protection against falling trees. Cab protection
includes a bullet proof windshield to guard against chain shot and
polycarbonate windows on the side of the cab.
"A great deal of thought has gone into service accessibility.
We've tried to think of everything, so steps and handles have been added for
ease of access and the guarding serves as hand railings for safety while
working on top of the machine. The additional hydraulic cooler is easy to
access to clean and is also well protected while the guarding on the windshield
unlatches and pivots with gas-struts for easy cleaning or replacement of the windshield.
Eight additional LED lights have also been positioned on the machine for
While the fitment of processing heads to excavators is not a new
development, Matriarch Equipment has chosen to differentiate itself by offering
a complete package - from the full fabrication of the guarding to the
installation of the guarding and head. A thorough and professional approach to
the design, installation and support means that a standard excavator is
converted and delivered to the
customer as a fully functioning forestry processor, complete with an
illustrated parts manual for the Matriarch kit.
Machine structural guarding includes heavy-duty belly plates and
sturdy forestry guarding to the entire upper structure to protect against
Matriarch Equipment has carried out several nose cone, grab and
cab guarding installations on the 26-ton SK260LC excavators and the smaller
One of three Kobelco SK260LC excavators that have been converted
into MTL260 timber loaders by Matriarch Equipment. This involved replacing the
tracks with a custom-built wheeled chassis and installing a steering wheel and
related hydraulic valving to the cab as well as replacing the bucket with a
nose cone and a MT1000 grab. Cab and windshield guarding completed the conversion.
Source: Bell Equipment