How to maximize uptime in forestry applications

Safe and reliable applications are essential for successful forestry operations. Power demands need to be met, uptime must be assured, and maintenance should be kept to a minimum. This while maintaining personnel safety and fire hazard mitigation at all times. Below, I will discuss how you can achieve operational reliability and maximize uptime in forestry applications, and outline some of Volvo Penta’s work in this field.

Engines must provide operational reliability even in challenging conditions

Not only do forestry machines operate outdoors, often in cold climates; they are kept and parked in these conditions as well. Accordingly, operators need to know that their vehicles and equipment will start and function reliably, every workday.

Torque response is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing an engine for your application. Your engine’s torque response must be fast in order for your machines to perform with excellence.

At Volvo Penta, we have worked extensively to make sure our engines are optimized for forestry and other off-road applications. One concrete example of this is the engines’ high power density. This means that they are powerful yet also light in weight and highly fuel efficient. The engines can run on HVO 100, and even at low engine speeds, they work efficiently and maintain their fast, powerful torque response. They also meet the European Stage V emission standards.

Your engine exhaust system must not be a potential fire hazard

Stage V-certified engine exhaust systems need to reach a certain temperature in order to remove (essentially burn off) the soot that builds up inside them. One common way of doing this is to inject fuel into the engine exhaust system. However, doing so may in fact increase the temperature too much inside the system, and cause a fire. Dangerous enough in itself, and even more so a forested area.

Volvo Penta’s Stage V engines use a different method to remove soot from their exhaust systems. Uncooled exhaust gas circulation (EGR) together with an electrical exhaust pressure governor (EPG) and inlet throttle are used to raise the exhaust temperature inside the system. No fuel injections into the engine exhaust system are necessary.

Maximize Uptime in Forestry Applications

A passive regeneration strategy helps you maximize uptime

If too much soot builds up inside your engine exhaust system, you may have to adopt an active regeneration strategy. This means that you need to take your vehicle or application out of operation temporarily, in order to have the soot removed.

With a passive regeneration strategy in place, the soot is continually removed during the engine’s operation. This as the engine automatically reaches the temperatures required to burn off the soot. That results in more uptime, less maintenance, and a cleaner engine exhaust system – even as you are using it. Volvo Penta’s EATS-equipped Stage V engines all use this technology.

Long service intervals increase uptime and lower your costs

Keeping maintenance and service intervals few and far between means that you can spend time and resources on your business operations instead. Also, forestry operations do not always allow for easy on-site maintenance, let alone visits to conveniently located workshops.

The service interval for a Volvo Penta Stage V engine is approximately 1,000 hours. These long intervals help keep maintenance costs low, and make it easier to maintain high productivity and increase uptime.

Volvo Penta has a global customer service network. However, we understand that OEMs may want to serve their machines themselves, including the engines. Therefore, we choose to be flexible, maintaining dialogues with our OEM customers about what aftermarket support arrangement – us, them, or both of us together – works best for them.

Hybrid solutions and connected engines benefit forestry applications

Electrification continues to be an area of great interest for customers across a variety of industries, including forestry. However – certain small-scale exceptions aside – we have not yet seen the battery capacity and/or charging infrastructure needed to switch to fully electrical forestry operations.

Even so, we appreciate having this conversation with our customers. Hybrid solutions can often be an attractive transitional solution for many forestry applications. Connectivity and self-driving vehicles are other interesting, parallel trends, where connected engines can help boost productivity and maximize uptime in your forestry operations even further.

Want to know more about what we can do for your forestry operations? Feel free to contact me at tobias.bergqvist@volvo.com. Make sure to also read our other, related articles here on the Volvo Penta Professional Power blog – on electromobility, connectivity, our exchange component system, and more. Last, but not least, why not have a look at our D8 engine in action, helping a harvester pull off its heavy workload with power and precision!

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