One of the biggest release at the upcoming forestry fair FinnMetko will be the new Bison forwarder from Ponsse. As you may have noticed, Ponsse goes retro and re-using old machine model names like no other. First we got the new harvester Ponsse Bison and in the same breath, the Ponsse Bison, re-using the name from a disused forwarder from the nineties.

The new forwarder has a load capacity of 16 tonnes and wedges in between the Buffalo and the BuffaloKing. A side note is: “what is the difference between Bison and Buffalo (the animals)?”
In short; Bisons lives in North america and parts of Europe. Buffalos lives in South asia and Africa. Buffalos have larger horns but no hump. Bisons also have beard.

Ponsse Bison Specs

The new forwarder has a loading capacity of 16 tonnes. That makes it a middle-sized forwarder for medium sized final fellings. K100+ crane with lifting capacity of 160 kNm and K90 crane as an option. A 200kW diesel engine from Mercedes that is Tier V ready and dual hydraulic pumps for the working hydraulics. 26,5” wheels (eight of them of course) and 200kN tractive force weighing in at a machine weight of 22 tonnes. This makes it an quite ordinary forwarder right? No, let’s get down to the news.

Ponsse CVT transmission

Bison is now the first ever model from Ponsse with a CVT transmission. CVT stands for Continuously Variable Transmission. This is not a new transmission type but it is Ponsses first and maybe also the first CVT transmission in a serial production forwarder of it’s kind.
The main advantage of a CVT is that you don’t need to change gear, it is fully automatic. Normally a forwarder with a hydrostatic drive has two gears, low and high. When for example hauling on a road you need to switch to “high”, but in the forest you need to drive on low gear.
With Ponsse Bison you now can go from 0 to 20 km/h without changing gears and you always have full tractive force as well.

This will come in handy if you have sites with long hauling distances on for example forest roads.

Gearless forwarding is not something new. Manufacturer Gremo had it on their forwarder 1350vt and Komatsu Forest has its “SpeedShift” as an option. They offer the same result, kind of, but they have different technical construction.

Ponsse Active Frame

With the release of Bison, Ponsse emphasizes their Active Frame option. This is not a coincident. Active Frame which is a system for less vibrations and shocks in the cabin syncs well with the CVT transmission, fast road hauling with low vibrations is a big selling point.
Active Frame is not new though, it was released in 2014 and is now an option for Bison, Buffalo, Elephant and ElephantKing.

Ponsse Active Crane

Simultaneously with the release of Bison, Ponsse also launch Active Crane, their first ever boom tip control. Boom Tip Control is a semi-automated, computer controlled, crane steering system making it easier for the operator to control the crane from the cabin. Normally you have two levers with three functions each. With Boom tip control you still have all these controls and the same levers, some of the functions are automated though. For example you adjust the height of the grapple with your right lever and move the crane in and out with your left lever, leaving the control of the extension to the computer.

A positive side effect with Boom Tip Control is that all the functions of the crane has position sensors making it easy to make a computer aided function for electronically end damping of all vital functions.

Boom Tip Control has been a buzz word some years in the CTL branch with up until now only John Deere Forestry with their IBC solution on the market. Now there are two and I guess we’ll see further movement on the market from now on.

Videos of Ponsse Bison

Here are some videos from the launch of Ponsse Bison.

To sum up, with Bison Active Frame, Ponsse moving their position forward with pioneering technic, let’s see how the market reacts. Ponsse Bison will be available late 2019.

Ponsse Bison at Ponsse: https://www.ponsse.com/products/forwarders/bison-active-frame