The north Swedish machine manufacturer Vimek has been a bit secretive about their new forwarder. Some leaks have occurred, but all details haven’t been presented. Last week, Torbjörn at the sister-site Skogsforum.se was invited to see, take pictures and film the new machine. Here are his impressions and the film of the machine that so far goes under the name Next Generation (NG).
Vimek presents a new forwarder – load index 1,0?
Vimeks largest forwarder, the 610 SE, has a loading capacity and weight of approx. 5 tons. In this size we also find Malwa’s and Terri’s forwarders. Above that, there is a leap up to 8,5 – 9 tons loading capacity where we find the EcoLog 750F (former Gremo) and Komatsu 825 TX. Those larger machines weigh more than their loading capacity meaning that their load index (loading capacity/machine weight) is far below 1,0 where the smaller machines are. The new Vimek also seems to end up around 1,0 despite eight wheels, a good crane, reasonable drivers’ comfort and good stability.
A new size class for the new Vimek
The new Vimek forwarder ends up in its own size with a loading capacity of 7 tons. Novotny’s forwarder is in this size too, but that machine is mainly seen on fairs and not so much in the forest (in Sweden). Vimek claim that their new machine weigh 7,6 tons which means that it´s very close to a load index of 1,0 (0,92). When loading pulpwood in falling lengths the Vimek takes approx. 7 cubic meters solid wood under bark, which should be compared to Gremo 750F that take a little more than 8 cbm, or the Komatsu 825 TX that take almost 10 cbm. If you want to compare with something from history, the good old Mini Bruunett loaded 9 cbm solid wood under bark in its days.
Vimek is owned by the crane manufacturer Cranab. The Vimek NG have received a completely new crane from the mother, a smaller version of Cranab’s new series of modern forwarder cranes and it´s equipped with crane tip control. An accessory that so far only has been available on larger machines.
100 % tracking
The Vimek NG has double steering. That means the normal waist steering plus an automatic boogie steering at the rear. This means that the trailer follows the tractor up to 30 degrees steering angle. The waist of the machine is a twist-steer-joint which means the steering joint is placed quite far back, and this contributes to a better tracking.
Good cab comfort
Torbjörn got to ride along with Tomas, the test operator for one year, in the cab. There was room enough for two and Tomas talked about his experience of operating the prototype. In the film below you can hear the conversation. The noise level and comfort in the cab was pleasant. Although Tomas drove the empty machine quite fast from the landing back through the forest, it seemed comfortable for him. The machine has a low angle on the boogies and eight wheels which gives a smooth ride.
Vimek hesitates to show the front of the machine as the final design is not yet decided. However, an exception was made for us to give a feeling for the whole machine and its measurements.
Tomas has operated the Vimek NG after a Rottne H8 and claims he could have used the same strips as that small harvester. With the 500-tires that are mounted on the prototype, the machine width is a little over 2 meters. The loading area could be widened if you have room for that in the strip roads. If you need more bearing capacity, the Vimek NG could be equipped with wider tires, or narrower if that suits your requirements better.
The loading area is quite long, and the rear boogies are placed far back meaning that the rear of the machine doesn´t swing out so much when turning. Thanks to the boogie steering, the tracking is still good as mentioned above. The design gives a balanced weight distribution. You get bearing capacity from all eight wheels even though it´s a small machine.
The prototype for Vimek NG is equipped with a CAT-engine that is slightly bigger than in the Vimek 610 SE. The new engine is a C2,2 (2,2 liters), has 55 kW (75 hp) engine power and a suitable torque curve for a forest machine. The operator, Tomas, who operated this machine for a year, claims that the engine never felt limiting in any way. Neither when driving with full loads through the terrain, nor when operating the crane. Not even last winter when the snow depth was challenging.
Launch at the Elmia show in June
Vimek are convinced that the new forwarder will live up to the expectations and manufacturing of the initial 0-series is already underway at the factory in Vindeln. Seven new forwarders are planned for dealers and customers throughout Sweden. The official launch will happen at the Elmia forestry show in June 2022. That will be the premiere for a wider audience. We look forward to seeing what the name of the model will be. Will it still be NG, or something more forwarder-like?
Perfect thinning machine – for the forest owner
Out of a forest owner’s perspective, this must be the ideal machine. In combination with a small harvester, the possibility to make good thinning is obvious. The stand shown in the film below, is a dream – narrow strip roads and a moderate thinning. The result is many good main stems in the stand, that can grow to become nice future timber.
The challenge for Vimek, like for many other manufacturers of small machines, is to find customers who are willing to pay for the higher value that those machines create. Even if the loading capacity on this machine is slightly larger than most small machines today, the contractor must charge a couple of Euros more to make it pay. There are for sure forest owners and timber buyers who see these values, but how many?
It will be exciting to follow the development of the new Vimek NG here at NordicWoodJournal.com.
Film and photos: Torbjörn Johnsen