Komatsu Forest has introduced the Komatsu Traction Aid Winch, a high-quality capstan winch based on more than ten years’ experience of working with winches in the alpine regions of Europe. In 2017 Komatsu Forest will begin delivering the Komatsu Traction Aid Winch for the Komatsu 875 forwarder and the Komatsu 911/230H and Komatsu 931 harvesters.
There is an ever-increasing need for winch accessories for forwarders and harvesters. Competition for land use, such as for food and bioenergy cultivation, is growing throughout the world. As a result, forestry often expands into areas where such uses do not compete for land, as in steep terrain for example. In order to harvest and forward timber in such extreme conditions, there is increased demand for specially adapted technology, including winches.
Komatsu Forest has extensive experience of working with winches in the alpine regions of Germany and Austria, where the technology has been refined in cooperation with customers for over ten years. Using that knowledge, Komatsu Forest has now created the Komatsu Traction Aid Winch, a high-quality winch solution that will be available as an option when the machine models listed above are assembled.
The system is based on the tried and tested capstan principle where the winch has a separate drum for rope storage, while the motor, providing traction, is installed on the capstan unit. The rope is wound nine times around the capstan drive, which gives great friction force and thus an efficient winch.
The capstan system provides even traction because the same amount of rope is always wound around the capstan unit. This is an advantage compared to a regular drum winch where the rope is wound around a drum that also houses the motor, a construction that provides uneven traction because the torque varies depending on how much rope remains on the drum. The design also offers better control over how the rope is wound onto the drum compared to a drum winch. This is because the entire tractive force acts on the capstan unit while only indirectly acting on the rope on the storage drum. As a result, the operator can rest assured that the rope will wind onto the drum without incident. The reduced traction force on the storage drum also means less stress and wear on the rope, thereby extending its service life.
The Komatsu Traction Aid Winch has a compact design that provides the forwarder/harvester with excellent ground clearance, manoeuvrability and visibility from the cab. The harvester winch is fitted with a hydraulic tilt, making it easy to tilt the winch downwards to open the hood or adjust the rope angle. The winch also has quick couplings for easy removal during servicing or when driving on flat terrain where it is not needed. The forwarder winch is well integrated with the rear frame. The 130F crane model can be equipped with an integrated crane tilt option, which delivers higher net slewing force when used in steep terrain.
The winch has a rope feeder unit that ensures that the rope is always tensioned inside the winch, which increases reliability and prevents problems with the rope. Winch control is integrated with the machine’s control system MaxiXplorer. This enables the rope feed rate to be automatically adjusted so that it adapts to the machine’s driving speed without the operator needing to intervene. The high-quality rope has a diameter of 14 mm and a length of 325 m for harvesters and 425 m for forwarders.
The Komatsu Traction Aid Winch is equipped with a remote control that enables a lone operator to control the winch from outside the machine, as well as to feed and anchor the rope. The winch also has different smart modes to optimise operating efficiency. The Komatsu Traction Aid Winch is quite simply a well-designed solution that offers traction aid and additional peace of mind in steep terrain and when faced with challenging ground conditions.