9 June 2017 | Innovation turns excavators into all-terrain vehicles

The biggest improvement to excavator chassis in many years.

Kalle Mattsson, sales manager and co-owner of the Finnish machinery manufacturer Nisula doesn’t hesitate in his presentation of the company’s world first at Elmia Wood. The chassis is mounted on an excavator from Volvo and turns it into an all-terrain vehicle.

The development work took ten years and was approved by Volvo. In many markets excavators are used as forest harvesters but they have one huge disadvantage: their rigid chassis limits where they can go in the forest.

What Nisuka has done is to design a track frame that is moveable lengthways and has 60 cm ground clearance instead of the standard 40. When the machine is stationary the track frames lock to increase stability.

Nisula has also developed an extension to the excavator’s crane, the XB-14, which adapts the crane so a harvester head can be attached. With the extension the crane has a reach of 10.2 metres.

The result is an excavator that can handle tasks in the forest far better than its standard cousins. Thanks to the tracks it causes less ground damage than wheeled machines. But Nisula says the machine is not intended to compete with normal wheeled harvesters.

“We’re targeting smaller-scale contractors who want to switch jobs so they can work year round,” Mattsson explains. “Because the basic machine has the most functions, it costs far less than buying a dedicated harvester.”

It takes just one hour to turn the excavator into a harvester and vice versa.

At Elmia Wood Nisula also presented a new harvester head that is designed to be paired with the excavator and used for thinning. It can handle stems with a diameter of up to 55 cm.

Another piece of news at the fair is that Nisula is the first manufacturer of attachments to collaborate with the Swedish-Finnish steel company SSAB by using high-tensile steel, which gives a lighter and stronger construction.