HOHENLOHER SPEZIAL-MASCHINENBAU GMBH & CO. KGInnovations for a sustainable forestry

Forwarder, Foto: Hohenloher Spezial-Maschinenbau GmbH & Co. KG

Forwarders are of special interest for sustainable forestry because they have the largest wheel load and the least impact on soil compaction. Moreover, these machines have to overcome long hauling distances between the felling site and the forest road. In order to protect the forest soil and to improve energy-efficient operations, the Hohenlohe Spezial Maschinenbau GmbH & Co. (HSM) from Neu-Kupfer, Germany, currently develops a forwarder with a rear triple-bogie axle and a hybrid hydraulic system for the crane, supported by the Innovation Action Forwarder2020, co-financed by the European Commission.

In 2018, the machine was tested in forests in Germany (Saxony), Scotland and Lithuania.

Focus of this new technology is the sustainability of wood production and wood transport as well as the improvement of forest management and planning processes. The intelligent crane return train exhibits several innovations such as a hydrostatic-mechanic power split transmission, a hydro pneumatic suspension, a hybrid hydraulic system to power the loading crane with energy recovery, a rear triple-bogie axle and an innovative monitoring system for the documentation of the process data. All six wheels are geared at the rear triple-bogie axle. The three wheels on each side are flexible, so the triple wheel can adapt to the respective surface, which has never been done before. Moreover, the rear triple-bogie axle can be replaced by a tandem axle at any time. The intelligent crane control promises energy savings of 30% through reversal and recuperation of energy as well as improved hydraulics.

Three million euros for more sustainability in timber harvesting

The Steinbeis Europa Zentrum helped conceptualise HSM's EU proposal and led it to success. The project received funding for three years from the Horizon 2020 programme amounting to almost three million euros. The Baden-Württemberg partners alone received over 1.2 million euros for their contribution to the project. As a project partner, the Steinbeis Europa Zentrum accompanied and designed the research, development, communication and knowledge transfer. It also organised the communication and networking of the 13 partners from Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Romania, Scotland and Switzerland, including six industrial companies, three forestry service providers and four universities.

„We are confident that we will reach our objectives: a reduction of fuel consumption by 30 % and a decrease of ground pressure by 30 %. Beyond that, we will prepare the forwarder for the digital future: sensors collect all data during operation and save them in a cloud in order to use them for further optimisation and planning. In the end, we aim to bring a unique and modular system of competitive high-end solutions to market that allows customers to choose a tailor-made equipment without having to pay more.“

Prince Felix zu Hohenlohe, managing director of HSM and project coordinator of Forwarder2020

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Dr. Anthony Salingre
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Dr. Anthony Salingre

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