Promising field runs with the Centipede forest machine on SCA land

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For a few weeks, SCA has been test-driving the Centipede concept machine, which Komatsu and eight Swedish forestry companies are jointly developing. The machine is seen as the sustainable forest machine of the future and combines lower soil compaction, increased productivity and better work environment. “There are many possibilities with the machine”, says Thomas Persson, business developer at SCA Skog and one of two test drivers.

The work to develop the Centipede machine is one of forestry's most important development projects where the issue of sustainability is central. The machine is intended to be able to meet the climate of the future and the challenges arising from increasingly shorter periods of frozen grounds.

“The machine is gentler on the environment and the driver, while at the same time we get a more efficient flow of timber and can access wet areas even during the bare ground season, without causing ground damage”, says Magnus Bergman, head of technology and digitalization at SCA Skog and chairman of the project's steering group.

During autumn 2022, Skogforsk carried out a number of different test runs on different types of land. And in December, the machine went on tour with the participating companies to further be tested in different environments. SCA was the first to test drive it.

Centipede machine

“We have tested the Centipede in more practical field trials to see how it performs when driven in more operational conditions. During our test period, there was both severe cold and thawing weather, a winter weather that was both icy and with "clumpy" snow, i.e. crammed snow. We also compared the Centipede with a regular forwarder to see if the Centipede produces less ground impact as intended. And our tests looked very promising”, says Magnus.

During the time that the machine was driven on SCA land in the Sollefteå district, the two drivers were able to forward approx. 2,230 cubic meters of wood.

“It went surprisingly well, even though there was no frost and a very wet area. We loaded approx. 15 tons per time, which corresponds to a medium-sized forwarder, says Thomas Persson, who test drove the machine together with Hans Olsson at the Fränsta machine team, and continues:

Centipede machine

“It was clearly positive and fun to drive the Centipede. The machine went smoothly over the ground and has a good load capacity. Where a harvester and conventional forwarder cause ruts in the ground, the Centipede just glides over. Nor did a passage over a crown ditch yield any traces of the machine. And the driver comfort is also good.”

Both Thomas and Magnus think that the test runs show the Centipede's potential, although there is still a lot of work to be done to bring a machine to the market.

“The Centipede shows that it is possible to develop a gentler machine that can drive on wet areas regardless of the season, without causing ground damage”, says Magnus.

“The machine offers many opportunities for sustainable forestry in the future”, concludes Thomas.

Behind the Centipede project is SCA, Södra, Sveaskog, Holmen, Norra Skog, Mellanskog, Stora Enso and BillerudKorsnäs, as well as the forest machinery manufacturer Komatsu Forest. The project was established 2019.

Photo and film: Thomas Persson/SCA

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