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Bracke C16.a

Nice and neat in the forest – and money in your hand
 
After having worked in the forest for ten years or so, Robert Alm started up the Alm Energigallring company in Vena, near Vimmerby, in Småland in spring 2007. He had found his niche, using his own machine to help forest owners get to grips with neglected clearing and thinning. After a year or so, he employed another person, and the two now operate in shifts out in the forest.
”Previously, there was a legal obligation to clear, but since that disappeared, many people have wanted to avoid the costs of clearing and have simply stopped doing it. When the neglected stock is then thinned, the traditional method of thinning is too expensive. We can do the job more efficiently with our  harvester,” explains Robert. As much of the thinned material can be chipped and used as bio-fuel, the clearing thinning does not actually need to cost the owner anything. Quite the reverse, it is possible to earn a few hundred krona per thinned acre. ”Bio-fuel is, of course, all the rage today and so demand for chips is high. What was expensive a few years ago can now provide a financial return instead. Plus you can actually walk in the forest afterwards.”
 
Creating something good
 
Just working on looking after the forest is something Robert appreciates.”Clearing and thinning is basically forestry work, even though, thanks to the bio-fuel, it can also generate a profit for the forest owner. Often, you  can’t see a yard between the trees before we start, but once we have finished on a stand, it’s nice and neat. It feels as if you are creating something good,” he explains.
Alm Energigallring operates within a 60 miles or so radius around Vimmerby. Its largest customer is Sveaskog, but it also helps a number of smaller, private forest owners. According to Robert, there is a good market for his company’s services.
”The need for clearing and thinning is huge out in the forests. You can also get EU subsidies for keeping pastureland clear. There is actually plenty for us to do. It’s just a question of securing the work,” he says.
In order to achieve good end results from the clearing work, Robert explains that he needs to be precise and deft. He also needs the right equipment. That’s why purchasing a Bracke C16 head in August 2008 was an important investment for Robert.
”Before that, I used a cutter on my harvester, but there were constant stoppages for repairs with that. When I heard about Bracke’s solution, which uses a blade instead, I took a closer look at it and was taken by it immediately,” he explains.
 
Less maintenance and quicker work
 
Robert sees several benefits from the accumulated C16 head. For one thing, the need for maintenance has been greatly reduced.
”When we used the cutter, I would spend half a day per week just on maintenance. I have an employee who gets a salary and costs money even when I am standing around welding. That simply won’t work in the long run. The C16 has a huge blade with a ¾ inch chain. Changing the chain takes just a few minutes.”
In addition, you avoid stoppages and repairs, which also makes the work itself much more efficient.
”We definitely work 30 per cent faster with this head than the previous one. As it is accumulating, you can tackle any diameter from half a centimeters up to 26 centimeters. With an ordinary harvester, you cannot deal with anything below 7 centimeters. So with the C16, you avoid the need for a power saw. We have sawn down most of what we’ve faced, anyway,” explains Robert. Felling is also better, as the trees are cut off completely and you avoid rootage, which cannot be used in the chipper.
”With Bracke’s head, you can more or less cut grass if you want!” says Robert.
Alm Energigallring’s customers can also benefit from the choice of equipment. As the work is more efficient, the costs for the forest owner are reduced, giving them a higher net return on their bio-fuel.
”And when it comes to the small problems we have nevertheless faced with the new head, Bracke has been fantastically accommodating and given us excellent service,” concludes Robert.
 

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