With its brand-new design, the Komatsu X164E has been specially developed to efficiently harvest eucalyptus. When developing this head, Komatsu Forest's engineering team put aside all existing head designs for softwood trees and instead focused solely on the needs and conditions of eucalyptus harvesting.

"To minimise losses in production time, we established strict requirements for the debarking function. With the Komatsu X164E, the ambition is for at least half of the stems to need only be fed through once, from felling cut to the end of the stem, also known as one-pass debarking," says Tobias Ettemo, Product Manager at Komatsu Forest.

The effective debarking is due in part to the head's specially designed feed system, which has a very high degree of contact between the debarking knives and the stem. The design is based on four angled feed rollers which cause the stem to rotate inside the feed path, efficiently debarking and delimbing the stem at the same time. The head also shreds the bark into shorter lengths, minimising process disruptions at sawmills and greatly benefitting the growth of new stands.

The main difference compared to Komatsu's other heads is that the X164E slices rather than saws through the stem. The head is equipped with extremely powerful hydraulic shears, with broad, sturdy blades, that easily and effectively slice through each stem. 

"This solution reduces service and maintenance costs, including downtime, while the hydraulic shears also offer great advantages in terms of machine and operator safety," says Tobias Ettemo.

For excellent reliability, the Komatsu X164E is equipped with several smart solutions, such as protected hose routing all the way from crane tip to head valve and from head valve to roller motors. This means less downtime and reduced spare parts costs, greatly boosting profitability. The underlying concept of using hydraulic shears instead of a saw bar also helps to keep maintenance costs down, as there are no chains, bars, sprockets or saw motors to replace, and no need for saw lubrication either.

The Komatsu X164E can be mounted on an excavator or a wheeled machine.

“All the development that we have put into this new head had had the primary focus to reduce the total cost of ownership, that is what really matters in the end. And we are very happy to say that we have seen proof of substantial reduction of TCO with the X164E.” Ettemo concludes.

With the Komatsu X164E, eucalyptus harvesting is taking an innovative step forward. New technology combined with a robust design and well-proven advantages result in a head that truly comes into its own in demanding plantation environments. Add to this the smart solutions for improved reliability, such as the protected hose routing, and the Komatsu X164E is clearly a highly profitable alternative.