Grapple carriage on a 100-foot tower no leap of faith

 December 2020   
Grapple carriage on a 100-foot tower no leap of faith

SOME PEOPLE THOUGHT GARETH WHITE WAS NUTS FOR wanting to put a grapple carriage onto his recently purchased Skagit 739 100-foot tower hauler.

It would be more trouble than it was worth, they told the Rotoruabased forestry contractor.

But Gareth wanted to protect his vulnerable workers, saying: “Getting people off the ground is most definitely a major reason for introducing the grapple carriage.

“When you’ve got breaker-outs down the hill, at the back of your mind is the thought that something could go wrong.”

White Logging has two swing yarders fitted with grapples, which persuaded Gareth to try it on the hauler: “Having always grappled with a swing yarder I couldn’t see why it wouldn’t be possible to use a grapple carriage on the tower.”

It has been more successful than Gareth dared hope. The grapple carriage now stays on the skyline in all but the most exceptional circumstances and has proven to be a valuable business tool.

He chose the Falcon Claw, developed by DC Equipment of Nelson, saying: “The decision to go for the Falcon was availability and good reputation, and this one suited what we wanted to do. Being made here in New Zealand it’s always good to support local.”

He chose the 1750 model, the largest in the Falcon range, weighing 1,870kg and utilising an 11.2kW (15hp) Hatz diesel engine to rotate, open and close the 2-metre wide grapple. It’s robust and faultless in all weathers and conditions he says, and it has been tested to the limit by Gareth’s crew.

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