Forwarders are carefully controlled, utility vehicles utilized in the forestry industry to carry fallen timbers through the woods to a suitable road location for loading onto specialized log trucks. These machines are designed to operate in tight quarters between narrow tree lines, on wetlands, uneven ground and severe slopes. The Forwarder 2020 Project is a result of the increased realization that forest managers must protect the environment and our valuable forests while still meeting society’s demands and the commercial need for wood production.

Forests play a critical role in mitigating climate change with CO2 capture, supplying the air that we breathe and promoting biodiversity. Forests are a major source of renewable energy and building materials, while protecting watersheds and preventing soil erosion. The Forwarder2020 project is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program and consists of fourteen different European industry and university partners.

Forwarded2020 project goals included:

  • Decrease costs for wood extraction
  • Improve wetlands harvesting operations
  • Provide increased travel speeds with improved driver safety and comfort
  • Improve fuel economy to limit refueling interruptions and to reduce emissions
  • Increase documentation and transparency through better analysis and tracking of forwarding operations
  • Minimize damage to soils in forests with reduced ground pressure to prevent soil compression and deep ruts

Project goals focused on sustainability and efficiency, aiming to reduce fuel consumption by 30% and to lessen the soil impact, specifically the rut depth and wheel load by 30%.

Five Technology Modules Include Hybrid Hydraulic System

The five technology modules developed in the Forwarder2020 prototypes include:

  • Hybrid hydraulic system
  • Hydropneumatic suspension
  • Hydrostatic-mechanical transmission
  • Advanced control system
  • Triple-bogie axle

The prototypes were tested in forests throughout Romania, Lithuania, Scotland and Germany. The project resulted in Forwarder prototypes designed with five innovative technology modules which won the Product of the Year award at the Forest Romania Fair in September of 2019. The prototype met the project goals of better managing forestry operations through “smart” logging for improved sustainability of wood production.

Hybrid Hydraulic System

The hybrid hydraulic system for cranes is a key feature in the prototype, designed to capture and reuse energy. This advanced hydraulic technology reduces fuel consumption and emissions while allowing for faster handling speeds. This is important because 80 to 85% of a forwarders operating time is spent loading and unloading logs. When the boom lowers on cranes on conventional forest harvesting equipment, the hydraulic flow which is metered through hydraulic valves, decelerates the load. This wastes energy and generates heat.

With many opportunities for this potential energy to be recaptured and reused, there are currently no forwarders on the market to utilize built-in recovery systems. The Forwarder2020 crane is designed with a novel, hybrid hydraulic system designed to recuperate and regenerate energy.

The crane consists of a pillar, a main or inner boom and the outer boom or articulating arm, with a hydraulic control system that could be compatible on similar equipment from various suppliers. With this design, the energy that is released when lowering the arm is captured and temporarily stored to reuse for the lifting process. This conserves energy and decreases the demand put on the main pump. Two hydraulic circuits control the movements of the inner and outer booms.

This advanced hydraulic system provides energy savings for economical and environmental benefits. These advanced technologies support sustainable wood production and forest protection with more desirable selective harvesting over clear cutting operations.

Stucchi Supports Innovative Hydraulic Solutions

Stucchi is a global leader in designing, engineering and developing innovative hydraulic solutions. We set the industry standard for ISO 16028 flat face quick couplings and continue to design custom, innovative hydraulic coupling systems. Stucchi is an Italian family owned company recognized worldwide for high quality, reliable and safe hydraulic quick coupling products.

Stucchi offers significant strengths over other hydraulic quick coupling manufacturers with the ability to develop customized hydraulic solutions. We are committed to satisfying our partners needs and adding value through improved performance, ease-of-use, safety and environmental sustainability. Stucchi is a leading global manufacturer and supplier of hydraulic quick couplers and adapters, multi-coupling plates, quick connect and quick release solutions.

We offer a high level of product quality through raw material certifications, ongoing improvements in materials, automation, pressure and fatigue testing and an ISO 9001:2015 certified quality management system. Stucchi is committed to providing a safe workplace and adheres to our BS OHSAS18001:2007 certification as well as environmentally friendly practices and ISO 14001:2015 certification. View our management system certifications here.

Stucchi is a leading global supplier of innovative, high quality hydraulic connection solutions. We offer a vast product line as well as custom analysis and development of quick connect products designed to improve overall business operations. Contact us to learn more about our innovative quick coupler solutions.