Back in my days, we had the two-grip harvesters – a felling head in the crane tip and a processor at the back of the machine to process the trees, two grips. Back then there was no idea discussing what head to use because there were no, or very few, options except for what followed the machine. Today, on the other hand, with what we in my days called one-grip harvesters, the situation has turned into a jungle of options. A jungle that we want to sort out for you dear reader. At least we will try …

Harvester heads

A good ol’ two-grip harvester. Rottne TGS Rapid at the Elmia show in 1989.

Harvester heads

As the two-grip harvesters faded away, the market for harvester heads grew rapidly. Suddenly the buyer of a harvester had to make two choices, one base machine, and one harvester head. Of course, the harvester manufacturers offered the whole package, and they preferred to sell the whole package. In some cases, they even tried to prevent the use of other brands for harvester heads by making the communication between the base unit and the head complicated. But “the customer is always right”, and soon harvester- and head manufacturers started to cooperate.

SP started it

According to themselves, SP Maskiner in south Sweden started the one-grip revolution. In 1978 they launched the SP21 harvester head that definitely was one of the first, maybe the first harvester head of today’s type on the market.

In 1981, I saw an SP21 head in action for the first time in a young thinning. It cut the stems with shear instead of a saw and could therefore only be used for pulpwood felling. Back then, I wasn´t a machine operator yet, I was a lumberjack, but I doubted that this concept would ever breakthrough. Well, now we know what happened …

Soon other manufacturers, like Log Max and Waratah, turned up and the ball was rolling.

Harvester heads

A modern “one-grip” harvester. Komatsu 901 in action 2021.

New and exciting turns to normal

We all know what happened. The “one-grip” harvesters took over completely and today we don´t even bother to call them that. It´s simply a “harvester”. Among the manufacturers of large forest machines, Rottne was the one that held on to the two-grip harvesters the longest. Their last “Rottne TGS” (“Två-Grepps-Skördare”/ Two-Grip-Harvester) was made in 2000, and sold to Canada.

The list

Let us hit the jungle of harvester heads! There were more heads on the market than I expected and still I have most likely missed some. You are more than welcome to help me make the list complete. I was especially surprised over how many models and sizes some of the brands offer. In the list below, only the span between the lightest and the heaviest, the max cutting diameter for the smallest and the largest, and the max delimbing diameter for the smallest and the largest heads for the respective brand is mentioned. There are also links to the manufacturer’s home pages for those who wish to dig deeper into the “jungle”.

As for the max cutting- and delimbing diameters were difficult as that doesn´t necessarily correspond logically to the heaviest or the lightest head. Therefore, I reserve myself for that there might be errors in the list. If so, let me know.

Photos: Per Jonsson

BrandTypeCountry of originWeight, kg (lb)
Min
Weight, kg (lb)
Max
Cutting diameter, mm (in)
Smallest Max
Cutting diameter mm (in)
Largest Max
Delimbing diameter, mm (in)
Smallest Max
Delimbing diameter, mm (in)
Largest Max
Link
AFMHarvester headFinland550 (1212)3200 (7055)500 (19,7)1000 (39,4)??Home-page
BiojackHarvester headFinland300 (661,4)430 (948)300 (11,8)430 (16,9)260 (10,2)330 (13)Home-page
Bracke ForestEnergy felling headSweden625 (1378)625 (1378)260 (10,2)260 (10,2)--Home-page
John DeereHarvester headFinland770 (1698)2050 (4519)520 (20,5)750 (29,5)??Home-page
KeslaHarvester headFinland350 (771,6)1690 (3725,8)380 (15)780 (30,7)250 (9,8)480 (19)Home-page
KomatsuHarvester headSweden829 (1828)2830 (6239)580 (22,8)780 (30,7)517 (20,4)?Home-page
Kone-KetonenHarvester headFinland305 (672)3360 (7407,5)300 (11,8)860 (33,9)250 (9,8)1020 (40,2)Home-page
Konrad WoodyHarvester headAustria500 (1102,3)1740 (3836)450 (17,7)750 (29,5)400 (15,8)750 (29,5)Home-page
Log MaxHarvester headSweden420 (926)4266 (9405)410 (16,1)890 (35)268 (10,6)710 (28)Home-page
LogsetHarvester headFinland850 (1870)2900 (6390)550 (22)900 (35)400 (16)620 (24)Home-page
MecanilEnergy felling headFinland200 (441)460 (1014)350 (14)450 (18)--Home-page
Moisio/MoipuEnergy felling headFinland330 (727,5)430 (948)250 (9,8)630 (24,8)--Home-page
MonraEnergy felling headSpain??650 (25,6)650 (25,6)--Home-page
MonraHarvester headSpain1350 (2976)1350 (2976)600 (23,6)600 (23,6)??Home-page
NarvaEnergy felling headFinland200 (441)900 (1980)230 (9)320 (12,6)--Home-page
NisulaHarvester headFinland285 (628)1400 (3086)340 (13,4)750 (29,5)250 (9,8)550 (22)Home-page
NisulaEnergy felling headFinland52 (115)650 (1433)120 (4,7)320 (12,6)--Home-page
PonsseHarvester headFinland900 (1984)2600 (5732)?950 (37,4)??Home-page
PrenticeHarvester headUSA2090 (4600)2090 (4600)610 (24)610 (24)478 (19)478 (19)
RobusttrackEnergy felling headUnited Kingdom250 (551)?200 (7,9)550 (21,7)--Home-page
SatcoHarvester headNew Zeeland1370 (3000)4100 (9039)640 (25)860 (34)350 (14)660 (26)Home-page
SP MaskinerHarvester headSweden726 (1600)1800 (3968)530 (21)750 (29,5)350 (14)550 (22)Home-page
SouthstarHarvester headCanada2086 (4600)4390 (9678)????Home-page
SyketekStroke harvesting headFinland205 (452)430 (948)300 (11,8)400 (15,8)250 (9,8)350 (13,8)Home-page
QuadcoHarvester headCanada3152 (7300)3152 (7300)610 (24)610 (24)559 (22)559 (22)Home-page
RottneHarvester headSweden480 (1060)1580 (3480)430 (17)810 (32)330 (13)570 (23)Home-page
TapioStroke harvesting headFinland215 (474)550 (1212,5)250 (9,8)550 (21,7)200 (7,9)450 (17,7)Home-page
TigercatHarvester headCanada2250 (4940)2790 (6140)590 (23,3)775 (30,5)??Home-page
WaratahHarvester headNew Zeeland770 (1698)4850 (10692)520 (20,5)860 (34)360 (14,2)?Home-page
XuvolHarvester headChina800 (1764)800 (1764)360 (14,2)360 (14,2)330 (13)330 (13)Home-page