What a Tool!
We subscribe to the old adage “having the right tool for the job”. A significant focus operationally through the years has been efficiently extracting harvested tops out of spruce bogs in a manner consistent with responsible site management. To accomplish these outcomes we have leaned on our stable of Bombardier track machines. At last count, we own one RS-64, six J-5s, and three Muskeg Carriers. An expansive fleet provides peace of mind in the event of breakdowns along with the flexibility to have multiple sites on-line concurrently. These machines are tremendous assets and do an excellent job treading lightly. However, the holy grail has been equipment alternatives capable of sub 1.0 psi to reduce our footprint further to accommodate an abnormally wet season as we encountered last fall. We are aware of ATVs with tracks, Argos, etc. The deal breaker with these alternatives is the painfully limited payload capacity. Our production rate would require a dizzying number of trips per day and counterproductive reducing site impact. We decided to tackle our ‘problem’ and developed a hydrostatic tracked machine capable of hauling nearly two thousand tops in one shot. We did not re-engineer a Swiss watch, but created a vehicle when fully loaded presents a gravity-friendly 0.8 psi. The machine’s performance was a highlight of the 2016 season as treading lightly was unequivocally on display. We are excited about the unit believing it will successfully maneuver in any bog thrown its way. I could launch into how no two bogs are alike, but will save that topic for another day.
We have done a fair bit of fabrication in the past, mainly, high floatation trailers pulled through the bogs. In anticipation of building out a fleet of our specialty hydrostatic rigs, we invested in a fixturing table. We recently purchased the BuildPro welding table from Strong Hand Tools along with a tooling package. We began fabricating another machine. It has been nothing short of awesome working with this table – what a tool! We look forward to sharing updates of our progress and maybe if you are a landowner we contract with we will get the opportunity to demonstrate its use in your bog.