Vimek has previously been a company that built smaller machines for self-employed forest owners. The smaller machines have not really suited contractors who need to keep a high pace with high production. Vimek hopes that Next Generation will be a machine that succeeds in arousing the entrepreneurs’ interest.
The contractors want to maintain a high production during their driving while the landowner wants as little damage as possible after the end of the driving. Forest owners may not want a 15-tonne machine in their forest during a first thinning. That is why we have chosen to develop our new forwarder Next Generation, says Johan Johansson, sales manager at Vimek in Vindeln.
The forwarder has been developed for a couple of years, where the development of comfort, load index, new technology, and accessibility in various stocks has received the most attention. A smaller forwarder who has now been able to take part in the technology of the larger machines. Next Generation has a load index of 1: 1, which means that it loads as much as it weighs, (seven tons empty weight with seven tons load weight). Next Generation will be a unique forwarder on the market.
A common thread that runs through the entire project, I would say is comfort. Eight wheels with four bogies, a brand new larger cab with larger glass panes for better visibility, crown tip control, better sound insulation, and LED lights around the entire machine.
Vimek has chosen to drive with 8 wheels with four bogies to increase driver comfort. The two rear bogie pairs have been moved further back on the bed to avoid overhangs when loading long timber. If the wheel pair is moved further back, the compliance will be worse, therefore it has also been equipped with bogie steering that steers nine degrees automatically or manually to get better compliance in the stocks and be able to make the slip roads narrower. The width of the forwarder is between 195-225 centimeters depending on the choice of wheels.
The bed can be selected with four or six supports that can be fixed or with the VLBS (variable load bank system) function. Hydraulically controlled struts that widen the bed 15 centimeters per side, or if you are talking square meters 2.4 folded and 2.7 folded out.
The hydraulically controlled supports are flexible on narrower roads. When you drive in and start loading, the supports can be retracted until you have a full load. Then you fold out the supports and can load a little more just before you get out of the cul-de-sac. A big advantage is to be able to be as small as possible, as long as possible in the forest.
Engine and service
The engine that Vimek has chosen is a turbocharged Caterpillar with an engine power of 55 Kw. As long as we need to use diesel in forest machines, we make sure that we consume as little as possible. An optimized design means that the machine can tackle terrain with ease and has a low power-loss system. Smart control programs help achieve durable and fast work despite a relatively small 55Kw engine. Servicing the machine becomes easy when all the filters are easily accessible.