Komatsu XT430-5 Tracked Harvester is more than Up to the Challenge in Big Hardwood
When something new comes onto the Lake States forestry scene it is going to be thoroughly vetted by the logging community and put to the test. Komatsu’s new XT430-5 (non-leveling) Tracked Carrier fitted with the Log Max 7000XT Fixed Head debuted at a Customer Road Show Demo event sponsored by Roland Machinery this past July. The XT430-5 along with other Komatsu tracked and wheeled machines passed these initial tests and delivered many positive impressions.
Cancellation of the 75th Anniversary Great Lakes Logging and Heavy Equipment Demo in September spoiled the machine’s big coming out party, but that setback didn’t prevent word from getting out among loggers that the Komatsu’s XT430-5 and Log Max combo was the real deal.
Prior to those events, Sales Representative, Larry Jarecki of Roland Machinery had been selling the concept to customers looking for a tracked harvester-fixed head combination.
Customers were looking for stability, power, and speed to be able to do more in the large diameter hardwood stands of northwest Wisconsin. Allen Suzan of Suzan Logging was the first logger in the Lake States area that matched his company’s need with this new machine combination.
Allen says, “How that all started with Larry is that we were after a non-leveling track machine with good stability to work in the big hardwoods that we were cutting every day. We needed to do the job more effectively and get more production. We had tried a Log Max head on a different tracked machine a few months earlier and were happy with that head’s performance.
“As far as the Komatsu XT430-5 carrier, I had seen the photos and the write-ups, but in truth, my operator Jeremy Derby had done a lot of the initial research. He is the one who got me to look more closely at its impressive track and boom power.”
The Komatsu-Log Max equipment combo seemed almost custom-made for Suzan Logging’s needs, plus there were incentives that made it an easy decision to go with Komatsu and Roland Machinery. Allen says, “At the time there was a great financing incentive and Komatsu had just come out with the extended warranty program. Things like that don’t come along everyday so we were happy to take advantage of them.”
Komatsu is offering a special 2-year or 5,000-hour warranty for a limited time to provide customers with a combination of performance, efficiency, and peace of mind. The special warranty program covers all new XT430-5, XT445L-5 and XT465L-5 tracked feller bunchers purchased through March 31, 2021, as well as those purchased since the 2018 launch. This coverage is in addition to the standard Komatsu Care® coverage which includes 100-, 500-, 1000-, 1,500- and 2,000-hour maintenance services for the first three years or 2,000 hours, whichever occurs first. All these services are performed using genuine Komatsu filters and fluids.
Allen says, “This was our first equipment purchase from Roland Machinery and since July, we’ve got more than 650 hours on this machine. Our start-up has been smooth. They’ve been very responsive to our needs, so no complaints there.
“As far as production, this Komatsu XT430-5 with the Log Max 7000XT is outproducing our previous wheeled harvester. It can handle the bigger wood here, and by that, I mean the delimbing part of it is so much better. It has the power to hold onto a tree and knock off those big limbs.”
Harvester operator, Jeremy Derby agrees with Allen’s assessment and shares his overall perspective, “I like the machine and am glad Allen decided to go with it. It has long tracks and is very stable. It never lags or lacks for power. It is good in the hills and it pulls big wood really well. It has good service access to everything, and the fold-down engine hood platform makes it easy to work on things if something does need servicing.
“The comfort in the cab and visibility are good. It is roomier than most and I’m a big guy. If on occasion I need to spend 10 or 12-hours inside a machine, I’d rather it be in a cab like this.” Regarding the Log Max 7000XT fixed head, both Allen and Jeremy are happy with its performance and have reported only minimum issues. Jeremy concludes, “I like Log Max. That top saw is a real time saver. Overall, the heads are simple, reliable, and fast. They just work. This Komatsu-Logmax setup is so much more productive in big hardwoods than our previous wheeled harvester. The comparison is not even close.”
Garrett van Doorn works for his cousin at Tom van Doorn Logging. Garrett operates the company’s new Komatsu XT430-5 fitted with the Log Max 7000XT and cuts in the region’s big hardwood forests. He is most impressed with the carrier for its stability, power, and multifunctioning performance.
Garrett says, “For me, I like the weight and stability of the undercarriage. You’re planted to the ground so much better in this setup. The head is so well matched to this carrier. You can reach out on a sidehill to cut and you won’t even lift up a track. At least I haven’t experienced that anyway. In hardwoods, you don’t want to be rocking around, that is too hard on an undercarriage. It’s hard on your body. It’s hard on everything. The floatation is also very good. The tracks have good length for the overall weight of this machine so it will also go through some very wet or soft terrain.”
Garrett describes the multifunctioning capability as fast and smooth. He says he is a bit demanding but relies on that feature as he operates, noting the machine power is there when he asks for it, and he never has to wait on this machine to catch up.
The Komatsu XT-5 series includes the XT430-5, and the larger cab leveling XT445L-5 and XT465L-5 models. These machines let customers travel, operate the swing, arm, and tool simultaneously for maximum usability. To further boost multifunctioning performance, Komatsu recently added 7% more horsepower (331 hp vs. 310 hp at launch) to the Cummins QSL9 engine and increased the hydraulic flow, while maintaining excellent fuel efficiency.
Garrett is also impressed with the Log Max 7000XT fixed head. He says, “It is my first time running it. It is very accurate and I love that top saw. That feature saves a lot of time over the course of a day because at the end of a stem you don’t have to double handle the wood. You can just cut it with the top saw. Limbing too, you can notch a big limb, back up and run it through. The knives will just peel it right off.
“With the fixed head you can also save the overstory from excessive damage which is good for regeneration. It helps to do a better job and landowners appreciate that it can handle a tree and drop it right where it needs to go.”
Garrett appreciates a new machine and notes the fit, finish, and thoughtful design of the cab. He says, “The joysticks and controls are well positioned. The seat is comfortable, and the cab is quiet. Visibility is good and there is virtually no tail swing, I don’t have to worry about bumping into anything. Garrett concludes, “We’ve been looking for comfort in a track machine and with the Komatsu XT430-5 I think we’ve found it.”