WALLENSTEIN BX102R EDITORIAL – Farms & Farm Machinery.
The BX102R chipper is the largest in the Wallenstein linkage range. It handles logs up to 10 inches (26cm) in diameter; has a hydraulic roller feed system; and a 914mm rotor with four segmented knives that chops then blasts the chips up the discharge chute, where they are released at a height of 277cm. A wood chipper has traditionally not been high on the list of must-haves on sheep, cattle and cropping properties across Australia. However, with the growing trend against burning waste timber and cuttings on farms because of the effects of carbon on the atmosphere, we may see wood chipping becoming an effective alternative to burning.
The Wallenstein BX102R PTO hydraulic feed chipper gobbles up 10-inch logs and spits them out the other end as wood chips with absolute ease, writes Tom Dickson.
Most properties have waste timber. Whether this is a continual accumulation of cuttings from orchards, vineyards or tree farms, or just timber that needs to be disposed of to maintain a tidy environment, a wood chipper can convert the worthless waste into a product with value. The woodchips can be recycled back onto the property as mulch and soft flooring in stock yards or marketed for sale as an extra income stream for the enterprise.
The BX102R and other Wallenstein ag implements are manufactured in Canada by EMB MFG and imported into Australia by Sota Tractors.
With a large proportion of Canada’s income still coming in some way, shape or form from the timber industry, it’s not surprising that it is also involved in the manufacture of quality equipment used to service that industry. EMB MFG began building log splitters more than 25 years ago near the rural community of Wallenstein, Ontario. The log splitters quickly gained a reputation for being excellent quality with exceptional durability.
The popularity of these log splitters led to the creation of the Wallenstein brand name. The company grew and, within a few years, Wallenstein log splitters could be found in national retailers and farm equipment dealerships across Canada. In 1995, EMB MFG moved to its current location outside St Clements, Ontario and currently employs about 30 people in engineering, production and sales.
Today, the Wallenstein product range has grown from the original splitter range to include wood chippers, skidding winches, compact manure spreaders and a wood processing unit capable of cutting, splitting and loading in one operation. I don’t know about you, but when I think of the Canadian timber industry I associate it with 7ft-tall lumberjacks with arms the size of tree trunks carrying a chainsaw in one hand and an axe in the other. Like the men who work in the industry, the BX102R is also a brute to look at and, when you fire it up and start feeding logs down its throat, it certainly lives up to the reputation gained by the lumberjacks of old.
To operate the Wallenstein BX102R linkage chipper to its full potential, you are going to need a tractor with a power output of somewhere between 65hp and 150hp. It’s not so much the weight of the machine that demands this size tractor, because it only weighs 885kg, but rather about having enough horsepower available to run the hydraulics and maintain PTO speed when the chipper comes under extreme load.
It is essential that the tractor has at least one set of hydraulic remotes with constant flow capable of delivering hydraulic oil flow in the vicinity of 15-31L/min to drive the feed rollers, a 1000/540 rear PTO drive to turn the big 193kg chipping rotor, and Cat II three-point linkage for hitching it up. We used a 110hp Farmtrac tractor running at 540 PTO revs for the test and it didn’t even flinch as we fed log after log into it. Once you get the big 193kg rotor spinning, it acts as a flywheel and its own weight does most of the work of maintaining momentum.
When you arrive at the site for work, you lower the linkage down to allow the chipper to sit firmly on the ground. It has an adjustable leg stand that puts the machine at its correct working height to keep the PTO shaft as close to horizontal as possible. The hopper can now be folded down from its upright transport position into a horizontal work position with its 30-inch x 42-inch (76cm x 107cm) opening facing to the rear. Once it’s down and level, it’s worth considering where you want the chips to fly. Obviously you don’t want them aimed at you, the operator or the tractor.
The discharge chute is designed with a spring-loaded latch handle that allows the chute to be positioned through a full 360 degrees then locked into position with the latch. The chute is equipped with a spring-tensioned hood deflector on the end of the chute to direct the chips exactly where desired. The height of the discharge chute is 277cm so the chips can be fired straight into the back of a truck or directed into a pile on the ground. Turning on the PTO and engaging the hydraulics to constant flow has you ready for demolition.
At this point I would recommend having a play with the hydraulic roller feed lever to just get used to the speed and direction of travel. The hydraulic feed circuit is equipped with a manually set flow control. The operator can adjust the feeding speed appropriate for the operating conditions. Increase the speed when chipping brush or twigs. Decrease the speed when chipping hard, solid material or when the engine load is excessive.
The feed roller control bar controls its forward, reverse and stop action. I have mixed feelings about it. On the positive side the bar controls the entry of timber into the rotor; it can be easily operated from either side of the hopper; and, for safety, it instantly stops the roller feeder if you push it all the way forward or all the way backwards. It locks into place and can’t be reactivated until a safety release handle is engaged. No problems there.
What I do have an issue with is the fact that to make the logs move forward into the rotor you have to pull the handle backwards, and to reverse the timber out you have to push it forward. To me that seems back to front and opposite to what feels natural. In a pressure situation it could cause you to go the wrong way.
Measuring 92cm in diameter and weighing a substantial 193kg, the rotor is equipped with four blades spaced evenly to keep the rotor in balance. They are made of hardened steel and are reversible. If one needs to be changed, the one opposite should also be changed to maintain proper balance. Each machine is equipped with a ledger (stationary) blade that acts as a shear for the moving rotor blades. The ledger blade is located on the lower rotor housing, mounted on slotted holes for adjustment.
There are four usable corners on the blade. When the corner facing the rotor blade rounds over, simply remove the blade and re-install with a different corner facing the rotor blade. Adjusting the ledger blade in or out is what determines the size of woodchip that is created.
ON THE JOB
Despite its rating of handling up to 10-inch logs, I thought I’d just ease my way in by starting off small and working my way up. Two-, three- and four-inch dried sugar gum branches put up zero resistance. Five-, six- and seven-inch timber disappeared without causing the slightest reduction in the tractor’s engine revs.
Then it was time to put it to the extreme test. With a touch of nervous excitement I dragged a 10-inch dried sugar gum branch up to the hopper and shoved it in. As it turned out, it didn’t put up any more resistance than the lighter timber did, and within seconds was reduced to small timber particles measuring no more than about half an inch in size.
It’s impossible not to get a bit excited and feel a sense of childlike satisfaction watching the huge logs get dragged in, smashed to pieces and spat out onto the ground. Everyone loves to smash things, don’t they?
The rotor can easily be accessed for cleaning and working on the blades by undoing a bolt and lifting the top half of the protective rotor housing. There is also a safety locking pin to prevent the rotor moving while cleaning and maintenance is being carried out.
A hinged door under the rotor feeder allows any accumulation of debris to be cleaned out as well.
THE BOTTOM LINE
I pushed Wallenstein BX102R chipper to its maximum regarding log size and hardness, and it handled it easily. There is not much that can go wrong with it so long as you keep the grease up to the bearings and regularly sharpen the blades.
It well and truly lives up to the reputation that the lumberjacks set with regard to the toughness of a Canadian timber and forestry worker.
Tough as nails.
Hydraulic rotor feed
Safety shutoff on rotor feeder control lever
10-inch (25cm) capacity
The rotor feeder control lever works in the opposite direction to what seemed natural
Attachment Cat II linkage
Max log capacity 10-inch (25cm)
Rotor size 36-inch (92cm)
Rotor Weight 193kg
Knives 4 reversible
Hopper opening 30-inch x 42-inch (76cm x 107cm)
Discharge height 277cm