Wildfire Blades: Proudly Aussie Made

With 153 years of history, WH Blakeley Industrial Knives is one of the Australian owned businesses who proudly manufactures high quality products for the tree work industry.

The arborist industry as we know it today has its roots grounded in the Saw Milling industry.

In the 1850-70s the States of Australia were separate colonies and timber was one of the key industries. Saw-mills had their own saw doctors to sharpen, hammer and set the band, circular and cross-cut saws.

H. Blakeley & Co.

H. Blakeley & Co. was the first manufacturer of saws and knives for the lumber trade in Australia. The Company started in Russell street, Melbourne, a wide dirt street in the heart of Melbourne. Today, 153 years later, W. H. Blakeley continues to trade to this day marketing their chipper blades under the ‘Wildfire’ banner.

Early chipper blades had a single edge only and slots for adjustment. The knives were hard right through, and a soft clamp over the top held the blades in the machine. If a piece of metal went through the machine it was hoped the clamp would hold the broken pieces from flying out. To hold trees together, arborists would employ metal bands and wounds inflicted by cutting tools were plastered with creosote.

Modern Chipper Knives

Today’s modern chipper knives have a dual edge and like the Wildfire brand are fabricated with a soft centre and hardened edges for longevity. The soft centre allows the blade to flex when faced with an unexpected impact. Considerable effort has been made by W. H. Blakeley to get chipper design just right.

Really amazingly ‘Wildfire’ manufactured in Melbourne are still able to compete with imported product. Unbelievable! Why?

Wildfire production is vested in state of the art machines that keep machining times minimal. Steel mills are dealt with directly. Wildfire holds a large inventory of all models and makes, and custom made blades are no issue.

The skills set that has been handed down over the generations is why Wildfire Blades outperform others chipper blades significantly. ‘Wildfire’ can claim a factor of three to one times compared with the performance of imported knives.

Once tried there is no turning back, from customer feedback many wished they had heard of Wildfire earlier.

It’s good to see an Australian family company that has lasted over 150 years and which is still producing high quality product in Australia.

For more information call (03) 9562 1511 or visit www.blakeley.com.au

September 29, 2020 / by / in ,
Instant Asset Write-Off

Measures extended until December 31, 2020.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government had both increased the instant asset write-off threshold and expanded business access, and it has recently advised that it will be extending these measures for a further six months through to December 31, 2020.

The move is designed to support business investment, with the instant asset write-off threshold having been increased from $30,000 to $150,000, and expanded to include businesses with an aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million (up from $50 million).

Previously in this series, Finlease Founder and CEO Mark O’Donoghue has noted brokers should be advising their clients of the potential to immediately claim the cost of a piece of machinery “as a deduction on their profit/loss account, despite the fact that they might put it on finance over five years”.

“However, it would be important to use a chattel mortgage, where you are shown to be the owner from a tax point of view, as opposed to a lease, where you’re not the owner, because you’ll miss out on the depreciation,” Mark told AA.

Certainly, for the remainder of the year it is worthwhile keeping in mind that there is further scope for businesses in the arboriculture sector to potentially benefit under the amended instant asset write-off criteria.

Business Eligibility

The federal government had originally introduced the changes to the instant asset write-off earlier in the year as part of a range of measures designed to support the economy in dealing with the challenges brought about by COVID-19.

As advised via the business.gov.au website, the higher threshold for new and second-hand assets “provides cash flow benefits for businesses that will be able to immediately deduct purchases of eligible assets each costing less than $150,000”.

The threshold is applied on a per asset basis, with eligible businesses able to immediately write-off multiple assets, with business.gov.au advising that eligibility depends on:

  • Aggregated turnover – comprising the total ordinary income of a business and of any associated businesses
  • Date of purchase – when the asset was purchased and when it was first used or installed ready for use
  • Cost – the cost of each asset being below the threshold

The federal government has advised that the extended time frame will provide further opportunity for businesses to invest in assets amid the reopening of the economy and the with planned investments, and providing incentive to bring investments forward.

What Businesses Should Keep In Mind

The criteria for the instant asset write-off have been changed a number of times in recent years, and it is important that businesses considering using it confirm the thresholds and check that they are eligible.

Of course, it is worthwhile seeking out expert advice if in doubt about any aspect of the instant asset write-off and how it applies to your business, and to confirm what the best path forward for your business will be.

Further information about the instant asset write-off and examples of how it can be applied can be found at the www.business.gov.au website and at the ATO website.

September 28, 2020 / by / in ,
Monitor Lifts The Dream Machine

New high performing 20m spider lift from Monitor Lifts.

This new arborist’s dream machine is the latest release from Platform Basket, and combines the tried and proven features of the existing 1890 model – the biggest selling spider lift in Australia – with new class leading features that really set it apart from the pack.

With a big 250kg basket capacity, the 2095 has an incredible unrestricted horizontal outreach of 9.5m. And with a unique double-telescoping boom design, this provides the operator with superb up and over reach.

All hoses are routed inside the booms, removing the possibility of them being damaged by branches or other obstacles.

The 2095’s radio control provides smooth proportional functions and allows the operator to manoeuvre the machine into tight access situations with safety and ease. The radio control is also used to operate the stabiliser legs which have the excellent ability to automatically level the spider up on slopes of up to 20°.

Stowing to only 790mm wide, 4870mm long and 1990mm high, the 2095 has the amazing ability to navigate through a single door way.

Built for rough terrain applications, the 2095’s tracks expand out and also down to provide greater stability and excellent ground clearance. Two speed drive also allows the operator to move the machine quickly from job to job.

Weighing in at only 2800kg, the 2095 can be towed behind a lot of tradesmen’s vehicles, making it the highest performing spider-lift that can still be towed by a ute.

Two reliable engines are on offer, with the choice of a Honda petrol or a Kubota diesel. And being a hybrid machine (option of either 240 volt or on-board batteries) it also provides the ability to work safely and quietly indoors.

The new 2095 spider-lift features basket rotation for flexibility in the air, and the basket is very simply removed with a single pin to reduce its size even more for tight access situations.

Non-marking tracks are an option for use on sensitive floors, and air and water lines are routed up to the basket to allow the use of pneumatic tools or a pressure washer.

For more information, contact Monitor Lifts on 1800 025 024 or visit www.monitor.net.au

September 27, 2020 / by / in ,
The New Rex X Splitter

Whitlands Engineering has announced the launch of their new REX X Splitter.

After a lot of research and discussion with participants in the Australian Firewood Industry, Whitlands Engineering identified a need for a high-volume production wood splitter built to handle all species of Australian hardwood timbers and with the specific goal of producing split firewood for bagging operations.

As a result of this, the REX X Splitter prototype was developed. Loosely based on a kindling splitter they developed previously, they have repurposed this concept into a new splitting machine. The X blade auto cycles as the blocks move through the blade at predetermined increments. The infeed belt increments can be pre-set to produce large or small wood pieces and also kindling.

When set up permanently, firewood blocks are loaded into a 4m³ hopper, from which the operator places blocks onto the infeed belt. This belt moves the blocks through the X blade. The pieces of wood exiting the splitter on the outfeed conveyor are still in the shape of the original block, making it very easy for workers to remove and place into bags.

The machine has been designed and built to last the rigors of firewood production. The blade is made from Bisalloy 400 HT steel. When set up permanently it can be optioned with either diesel or 3-phase electric power packs between 30 – 50 horsepower. The splitter uses a 6” Ram and develops between 30 – 50 tons of splitting force and can cycle as quickly as four seconds. Power and cycling are dependant on input power, pump flow and pressure.

Maximum block diameter is 650mm and maximum block length is 320mm.

The machine head and conveyors weigh approximately three ton. They estimate that with a five-second cycle and feeding with consistent blocks of 450 – 650mm diameter, it will be capable of producing up to 20m³ of bagged firewood per hour.

If you would like to discuss the new REX X Splitter, please visit www.superaxe.com.au  or call 1800 702 701.

September 24, 2020 / by / in ,
Always Learning

Every day’s a school day they say, and for Julian Vickers, he’s training the next generation of arborists while furthering his own knowledge at the same time.

The Black Summer of devastating bushfires in the 2019-20 season brought untold tragedy, but also acts of heroism, incredible effort and old-fashioned Aussie mateship. Of all the people and services called into action, members of the arboriculture industry played an important role. With fires burning close to 20 million hectares across Australia, the clean-up and “make safe” work required was and still is extraordinary, with arborists called in to help assess and remove dangerous trees along thousands of kilometres of fire-affected roads.

Amongst that number was Julian Vickers, whose combined experience as both an arborist and as Lance Corporal in the Army Reserve proved indispensable. After a month of marking so-called “killer trees” (identified with a big yellow ‘K’ sprayed on their trunks) and helping with their removal, he was awarded a Bronze Commendation for outstanding efforts on Operation Bushfire Assist from the Army’s 4th Combat Service Support Battalion. Quite rightly, he’s proud of his and his colleagues’ efforts.

“They were long days with plenty of work,” Julian said. “After a whole month work was still going on, but at least the roads could safely open again. The contractors came in after us. I’m with the Corps of Transport, but I’ve got all the arb tickets, so I was attached to the Engineers during the bushfires. With my ticket in advanced tree felling, I was there to advise and remove the killer trees.”

Now practically a full-time trainer, Julian works at Arbortrim Australia Pty Ltd, a business providing arboriculture qualifications and intent on improving the quality of arboriculture work in Australia. They work closely with industry to ensure the programs offered are relevant and effective, pointing out that qualified arborists are on the list of skill shortages both at state and national levels. Imperative, therefore, that the training given is matched to the real-world work needed in the field.

“Julian was awarded a Bronze Commendation for outstanding efforts on Operation Bushfire Assist from the Army’s 4th Combat Service Support Battalion.”

It’s been a varied road for Julian to reach this point. He was raised on a dairy farm in New Zealand before moving to another in Victoria’s West Gippsland region aged 10. A relocation to the Upper Yarra Valley followed, ensuring his formative years were spent enjoying the great outdoors. “I did labouring type jobs until my mid-20s, then joined the Army,” he said. “I got out after a few years and my little brother, who was then a climbing arborist, asked me to join him at the tree company he worked for. I was dragging branches through back yards a lot, so I got a bit sick of that after a couple of years. I obviously liked parts of it, but was carrying big logs and it was very physical work.”

He decided to move to a larger company on Melbourne’s fringes, meaning council contracts. “I was doing reactive work like storm damage, and also powerline vegetation work, running a crew, all for about ten years,” the 41-year-old said. All the while Julian had kept close ties with the Army, staying in the Reserves throughout his arborist career. “I did my junior leader course within the Army, and got the equivalent of a TAE (Training and Assessment) through the Reserves. I managed to transfer these to civilian equivalents after doing a couple of extra units, and came to Arbortrim as a trainer and assessor a few years ago.”

Julian had been a student with Arbortrim in the past as he’d do annual refresher courses with his job, so when a role came up he jumped at it. Training others in a job in which you’re experienced can be a terrific career move, but it’s not for everyone. You’ve got to be organised, patient, confident and a strong communicator. Being a “people person” is damn useful too – we’ve all had teachers through our lives who are anything but, and it’s hard work learning effectively from such types. “I’m a bit of an extrovert,” Julian explained, “and good at talking to people. In a training role I could do more of that. I was getting older, my body was getting a bit worn, and arb work isn’t something you can do forever.”

Julian’s worked in the bucket of EWPs (elevating work platform) but never been a climber, so he currently teaches practically all of the arb units bar rigging and climbing. “I do a lot of vegetation management training, open chainsaw courses, Certificate III in Arboriculture and the like,” he said. “My average week could be anything; today I’m teaching people at Parks Victoria to operate a wood chipper.” This was said during our chat at about 6.30am on a chilly winter’s morning. Julian didn’t start work until 8am that day, but was already on site preparing for his lesson. It’s going that extra mile that can make the difference between a good teacher and an average one.

His students include people working in the industry who need their tickets, but on open courses he could be teaching the likes of landowners who, for example, simply want to do a chainsaw course for cutting firewood. “I’ll also train people in the SES, the CFA, grounds people, EWP operators, and from all walks of life, really,” Julian said. As expected, he’s a champion of professionals and others bettering themselves and upskilling through relevant courses. “There’s always the need for more training. I don’t think you should be doing any type of dangerous work without being correctly trained. For any type of tool or equipment we use, you must be trained on it correctly, know how to properly maintain them and know the correct PPE (personal protective equipment) to have.”

If you work in the arb industry long enough, sadly, you’ll see incidents that lead to injuries or worse. It’s something nobody likes to witness, and Julian said he’s pleased to see positive changes since he began working. “We’re quite a small industry, and people within it are talking about training and safety a lot more. Things have been positively changing, with the industry bettering itself and being more professionally recognised. You need to stay safe. Look after your mates. It’s a dangerous industry if you become complacent.”

While Julian suggests more legislation and quality training is needed to improve the overall arboriculture industry, he speaks positively about the future. “There’ll be more work available, and more varied roles,” he explained. “The same factors remain: you need to be keen, want to learn and turn up on time, but there are good opportunities.

“Training others in a job in which you’re experienced can be a terrific career move, but it’s not for everyone.”

In general it can be a very physically demanding job, and you need to take care of yourself and pace yourself, but there are other roles to play. You can be an EWP operator, you can be a groundsman. As I’ve proved, you don’t have to be a climber. Just make sure you get your Cert III in Arboriculture and you’ll be a lot more desirable.”

Julian is currently working towards a Diploma in Arboriculture – he may be in his 40s, but quite rightly, we should never stop learning – and always with an eye to the future. “I’m pretty happy with where I’m at at the moment,” he said, “and it’s still a career I’d recommend to others. After all, there aren’t many jobs where you can be at a different beautiful site every day working alongside good people.”

For more info visit www.arbortrim.com.au

September 23, 2020 / by / in ,
Replantation Program

NSW Government to regrow forestry industry following catastrophic bushfires.

Fire-affected forests will soon be rejuvenated with new life as the NSW Government embarks on the largest replanting program in the state’s history, beginning with an injection of $46 million into Forestry Corporation.

Deputy Premier and Minister responsible for Forestry John Barilaro visited Blowering Nursery in Tumut to kick off the seedling season and said more than 10 million new shoots would be planted over the next 12 months across NSW.

“The forestry industry was devastated by an unprecedented bushfire season, with more than 50,000 hectares, or around 25 per cent of the state’s pine plantations burnt,” Mr Barilaro said.

“Tumut was one of the worst hit areas, losing around 35 per cent of its state-owned plantation so I’m thrilled to see the first round of replanting efforts are getting underway.

“Thanks to the $46 million stimulus funding we are able to give the replanting efforts a real kick-start, with more than 14.5 million trees to be replanted yearly across the State from 2021, a massive 40 per cent increase on 2019 plantings.

“This investment will see us get back to pre-bushfire levels of stocked trees in stateowned pine plantations within a decade.”

Mr Barilaro also emphasised this funding injection for regrowing state forests highlights the sustainable nature of the forestry industry.

“Wood is the ultimate renewable product.

When forests are managed sustainably and regrown time and again, they deliver a vast range of benefits for our communities, including carbon storage,” Mr Barilaro said.

“Trees absorb carbon from the atmosphere and when they are harvested and regrown, carbon is stored in both the products made from timber, like house frames, as well as in the new crop of trees growing within the forest.”

The stimulus funding will also support new contracts and job opportunities and rebuild lost infrastructure.

“NSW’s forestry industry supports around 23,000 direct jobs and many more indirect jobs and they’ve had a really tough start to the year, so we are showing our support by ramping-up our efforts to get the industry back on track,” Mr Barilaro said.

“Nurseries at Grafton and Blowering near Tumut will be expanded thanks to the funding boost, and we will be able to start rebuilding or replacing some of the highpriority vital infrastructure, including public roads, damaged in our state forests during the fires.”

Forestry Corporation of NSW provides about 25 per cent of the timber needed for housing construction across the country. They also provide a significant proportion of the fibre used for food packaging, including cardboard.

As part of the response to the bushfires, additional support for the NSW forestry industry has also been made available through the $140 million bushfire recovery package announced by the NSW Government.

For more information visit www.forestrycorporation.com.au and www.nsw.gov.au

September 21, 2020 / by / in ,
Trust The Experience

Platform Sales has been adding huge value for its customers across a range of industries, through their unique equipment and an extensive team of Australia-wide highly trained and qualified service engineers.

As successful contractors are well aware, highly versatile equipment designed to provide higher utilisation, being fully transportable and able to work in tighter areas will not only increase productivity but also provide the best ROI.

After 40 years of combined experience, the team at Platform Sales Australia, with David Collins as Director, have had the boots on the ground for long enough to realise that the key to embracing long-term success with contractors looking to purchase or hire equipment is by enhancing productivity, through offering a broad yet extremely specific range of machines, across the various height requirements of various industries – from a range of hand-selected manufacturers who produce the best machine from each class.

David explained that Platform Sales, which is based in Taren Point, Sydney, had originally commenced operations after becoming the first retail sales agency for Genie Australia. Shortly thereafter, the company had commenced dealing with CTE, and this was in turn closely followed by the establishment of a partnership with Palazzani.

“We were one of the first internet-based EWP sales companies to provide a broad range of equipment to all sectors of business in Australia,” David told AA of Platform’s initial establishment in the local marketplace.

It is a passion that has motivated Platform Sales to cast their net far and wide in search of better solutions for businesses looking for greater efficiency, utilisation and enhanced safety. A prime example of this is the way the Arborist Industry has embraced the CTE Traccess Spider Lift range.

As good climbers today can be very hard to find, the ability to provide a safer option– that allows to reach areas that previously only the best climbers could access – by the use of a spider lift means businesses can significantly improve the volume of work achievable on any given day without the risk previously involved.

Twelve years on, Platform Sales now presides over 250 different models, sourced from around the world – with its range having since expanded to encompass JLG, Skyjack and Haulotte products – and services a range of customers, with its machines catering to a broad spectrum of uses, from heavy industry to light commercial applications.

Platform Sales product portfolio includes material lifts, trailer lifts, boom lifts, truck-mounted aerial platforms, scissor lifts, mast lifts, spider lifts and a range of accessories, including Lodax outrigger pads, and is backed by an extensive after-sales service network throughout Australia.

“Our EWP product range today has been built on our customer’s needs and dealing with only the best manufacturers in their respective areas,” David explained.

“We seek to supply Australian businesses with a high degree of hire-based performance and reliability across all of the EWP machines in our portfolio, from self-propelled scissor lifts and booms to truck-mounted towers and the more specialised spider lifts, that will provide the most versatile investment.”

“Equipment designed for purpose, such as arbor work will provide for maximum productivity, cost savings and increased profits for those investing in today’s market,” David observed. “Realising the importance of functionality and versatility, we strive to show our customers the best options to gain the maximum benefit from their investment – and, with our key selected manufacturers, we supply a range that is broad and proven to perform in the demanding Australian market.” David noted that having the opportunity to evaluate the machine market in Europe had ultimately demonstrated the importance of a simple approach to machine design, which is perfect for operating in Australia’s unique conditions.

“I believe that keeping it simple is the key,” he said. “Machine make-up, like boom configuration, size, weight, footprint and performance, are all key components of better design, along with the simplicity, especially from an electronics point of view.

“An over-technical machine can and will be problematic in Australia. We want a simple, Tonka-tough approach to the equipment we use in Australia.”

In assessing Platform’s progress over the years, David pointed to the importance of experience, encompassing an ability to understand industry needs and connect with customers, as being a key factor.

“We believe our experience in the arbor industry and the long-term partnerships we have formed have been the key to our success,” he told AA. “We have always focused on providing the best solutions, designed to increase productivity while reducing the costs of business and ensuring our customers and their staff are safe.”

For more information visit www.platformsales.com.au or call 1300 882 762.

September 20, 2020 / by / in ,
Arborist To The Rescue

How to climb a career that makes a difference.

Sometimes it’s best to think outside the box, and outside of society’s expectations. After all, your life is yours.

Kai was a shy kid who grew up on a property on the North Coast, and liked animals and the bush. So he made an incredible career out of animals and the bush, combining a lot of volunteering with paid work.

In the past few years, after working as an arborist in Sydney, he decided to travel the world to teach Greenpeace activists to climb and come back to Australia, doing extraordinary things like rescuing wildlife from tricky spots.

Sounds simple. Well, nothing is that simple. “I was really engaged with learning in primary school,” says Kai. “But went a bit off the rails as soon as I hit high school. Uni was never something I really had any interest in. I left high school after completing Year 10 and just started working jobs I could find.”


“It took me quite a few years to work out what I wanted to do as a career. I was actually scared that I’d never find that special thing. I grew up on a property with bush, and nature had given me real peace, and I loved it. But it wasn’t until I was about twenty-four and I’d been working for about eight years, that I connected the dots and I decided to study at TAFE NSW.”

In order to find courses that were connected to his goals, Kai looked into conservation and land management, native animal rehabilitation and arboriculture at TAFE NSW.

“My best memories were definitely from our practical climbing days when we’d be given the challenge of safely removing dead trees using complex rigging systems in small teams.

“My teachers were incredibly knowledgeable and they had real world, practical experience and that made all the difference for me. I remember Wayne Hooper, Ivana Strause, and John Douglas were all fantastic teachers.”

“Well, I was just really passionate about wildlife conservation and environmental sustainability. Volunteer advocacy in these areas led me to get involved in climbing as a volunteer with Greenpeace. I found it so rewarding that I decided to become a qualified arborist.

“But being an arborist was for two reasons, really. Firstly, so I could do meaningful work with trees. And also so I could take my climbing skills to a professional level which would improve my climbing skills as a volunteer.

“While I was studying at TAFE NSW, I worked for another arborist. But as soon as I could, I started working for myself. I made the leap. Being self-employed and having the skills, equipment, insurances, and flexibility means that I can volunteer whenever, and however, I want.”

“At the end of January, I drove to Kangaroo Island and spent seven weeks volunteering to climb burnt trees, to help rescue injured and starving koalas after the bush fires. In that time, I helped to rescue one hundred and seven koalas.

“I posted about my experience on social media – partly as a way to cope with what was a really traumatic experience. Media became interested in what I was doing and that eventually caught the attention of Simon and Schuster Australia, who I’ve signed a two-book publishing deal with.”

Kai shared his tips for starting a career you will love: “Find fulfilment and your path as a volunteer. Let your passion motivate you to invest in yourself, so that you can make a meaningful contribution as a volunteer. It’s a long and windy road, but this is sure to create a solid foundation of skills and experience that you can rely on, and contacts that you will find invaluable.”

For more information on TAFE NSW visit www.tafensw.edu.au

September 17, 2020 / by / in ,
Going Remote

From the office to the field.

The practice of working remotely has gained significant traction in recent times due to the social restrictions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, and businesses are increasingly harnessing digital technologies across an ever-growing range of applications.

In the arboriculture sector, mobility is for many a key aspect of operations, and these sorts of technologies can be utilised by businesses to not only keep in touch in real time, but to also consolidate various aspects of their operations.

From the office to the field, opportunities are growing for businesses to operate in the digital space, and businesses prepared to develop their digital skills and go remote can reap significant benefits.

Changing Work Patterns

Businesses have, of course, been adopting digital technologies at growing rates in recent years, and now more than ever there is clear-cut motivation to go remote, with businesses by necessity exploring potential digital applications.

If you’re a small business owner, keeping connected can be key to maintaining momentum, including while on the go – and in the arboriculture sector, business owners will likely be dividing their time between different sites, while also taking care of a range of off-site duties.

A recent survey commissioned by NBN Co, the Behavioural Change Survey, shows how work activities are becoming increasingly remote and digitalised, finding that:

  • A majority of respondents who worked from home (67 per cent) stated they expect to work from home more after the COVID-19 crisis has ended (69 per cent in metro areas and 54 per cent in regional areas)
  • Since COVID-19, 69 per cent of respondents have purchased one or more devices to support their online activities
  • (increasing to 79 per cent for respondents working from home)
  • Of those working from home, 56 per cent of respondents have created new or dedicated office space

Meanwhile, according to NBN Co, data demand over the NBN network has seen increases of up to 70 per cent in business hours traffic volumes since social distancing measures were implemented on March 1.

“Businesses prepared to develop their digital skills and go remote can reap significant benefits.”

The Remote Way: Tech In The Field

Mobile technologies, from smartphones to tablets and laptops, in conjunction with an ever-evolving range of IoT devices, have fundamentally changed work operations, the manner in which we access information, and the way that we interact with each other and the world around us.

Arborists out in the field may be relying on mobile technologies not only to keep in touch, but to also access a range of information, to quoting and invoicing jobs, to managing project schedules and keeping track of equipment, among a host of other applications.

For instance, as looked at in the previous article in this series, there is significant potential for drones to be deployed across arboriculture operations, with drone-derived data then harnessed to provide additional insight into operations, accessible via a mobile smart device.

Meanwhile, as 5G technologies continue to be rolled out in the coming years, it can additionally be expected that a host of new mobile and IoT applications will be developed.

Going remote, and being able to effectively take your office with you wherever you go, from one site to the next, can deliver businesses ongoing benefits, and it is worthwhile taking the time to learn how certain digital technologies may be applied across different operations.

September 15, 2020 / by / in ,
Swing Machines

John Deere Forestry Swing Machines stack the deck when in full swing.

Australian forestry customers now have the full offering of John Deere Forestry Swing Machines with several hitting the woods over the last few months configured as Harvesters, Processors and Log Loaders. In addition to these configurations, these machines are designed as purpose-built forestry swing machines to also cover Road Building and Shovel Logging. Designed for specific applications these swing machines are equipped with the safety features and operator protective structures to meet global OH&S standards and keep your operators safe and comfortable every hour they are in the cabin. These dedicated forestry machines also feature robust undercarriage and mainframe, upsized swing bearings, reliable John Deere engines and a front or boom to meet the specific application you are handling. Not to mention the superior hydraulics that make these machines come together, as industry leading products.

Eight Models

Eight models rated from 28 to 48 tonne operating weight with processor, harvester and roadbuilder configurations designated in the model number by “54” and offered with hooked/excavator booms, either side entry or rear entry cabins. Then there’s the “56” models specific with straight booms for log loading, shoveling, and processing with elevated rear entry cabs. Style of the boom either excavator style and hooked (54 Series) or straight and log loader booms (56 Series) dictates the application applicable to the machine model.

Whether you need a log loader, shovel logger, road builder, processor/ harvester or a versatile “combo” machine, G-Series Swing Machines will help you get more done, more efficiently. The visionary spacious cab boasts plenty of legroom. Isolation mounted to reduce noise and vibration while smoothing the ride in rough terrain, substantially reducing fatigue. Ergonomically correct short-throw pilot levers provide smooth, precise fingertip control with less movement or effort. Creature comforts include fatigue-beating amenities such as efficient climate control, a heated/ cooled seat and ergonomic controls, plus, there’s plenty of room inside the cab to stow your personal items.

Cab Options

Two cab options are significantly more comfortable. The low Side-entry cab is 25-percent larger than the previous model. Elevated Rear-entry cab, now standard on all 56 series models (optional on 54 series), features windows in the floor and injection moulded polycarbonate windows, for superb visibility to the tracks and working area. In the log-loader rear-entry cab, floor-mounted windows and the cab forward riser option expand views to the tracks and working area for log-loading applications. Countless hours of virtual-reality studies and field-testing with loggers resulted in these superb all-around visibility changes. 32mm thick polycarbonate is the norm for harvesters and processors and all cabs are certified to global forestry industry standards, no compromises to safety of your operator. The Cab-forward design improves visibility to the right. A staircase at the rear of the machine eases cab entry and exit, for more stable footing where and when you need it. A new handrail is significantly larger than on previous models, for secure three-point contact. Low side-entry cab and elevated rear-entry cab are interchangeable on any style/series of machine.

LED lights are standard for when you need to extend your workday beyond daylight. The 14-light LED package plus service and access lights provide outstanding all-around illumination.


Productive performance driven by the John Deere Powerful PowerTechTM Plus 9L diesel engine on the 3154G/3156G and 3754G/3756G offering 30-per cent more horsepower at low rpm than previous models. The 2154G/2156G and 2654G/2656G are fitted with the efficient John Deere 6.8L PowerTech Plus engine.

Hydraulic Reversing Fan

Hydraulic reversing variable-speed fan runs only as needed, conserving power and fuel. The standard reversing feature automatically reverses airflow to eject debris from the cooler cores, decreasing the frequency of cooler maintenance. Next-size-up main hydraulic pump improves multifunctioning, fuel economy, and component durability.

All Machines Have Exceptional Hydraulic Oil Cooling Capacity.

On all models the hinged A/C condenser swings out and the engine-compartment screen can be quickly removed, easing cleanout of debris. Fuel-shutoff valve eliminates leaks, for fast fuel filter changes with less mess. Plus, a pre-cleaner for the engine air intake extends filter life, further reducing maintenance time. Conveniently located filters, fluid-fill locations, and grease points help ease daily checks and preventative maintenance. All models have a large plastic counterweight fuel tank with easy fuel sump drain access.

Productivity Modes And Remote Diagnostics

Three productivity modes allow the operator to adjust the machine to the application. High Productivity Mode delivers more power and faster hydraulic response. Power Mode delivers a balance of power, speed, and fuel economy mode for normal operation. Economy Mode limits the top speed and helps save fuel.

Because time is money loggers always need more uptime. Remote diagnostics come standard on all John Deere Swing Machines via JDLinkTM. This enables fast, accurate remote diagnostics and rapid service response with the right part the first time. JDLink also provides you with visibility to machine telematics to help you manage the performance of your fleet.

Jobsite-Mapping Tools

Now available as an option on all John Deere forestry equipment TimberMaticTM Maps and TimberManagerTM are proven jobsite-mapping tools designed for full-tree and cut-to-length logging operations. TimberMatic Maps enables enhanced visibility, allowing operators to review production values as well as see and create points of interest that can be shared in real time with other onsite team members. Staff not on the jobsite can also access any of this data through TimberManager, to optimise tasks and increase efficiency.

Talk to your local John Deere dealer about viewing this new tool on their simulators or speak to a contractor already running TimberMatic Maps and TimberManager to understand the true benefits this new technology brings to your jobsite and business.

Five years in the making, backed by over a half-century of experience in the woods, the John Deere G-Series Forestry Swing Machines will redefine your expectations about what a Swing Machine can accomplish.

For more information contact AFGRI Equipment (08) 6287 7777 in Western Australia, for all other states, contact RDO Equipment Pty Ltd 1300 008 608.

September 13, 2020 / by / in ,