A Balfron-based woodchip and firewood producer has taken delivery of a new Volvo ECR88D reduced swing excavator that will be put to work on material processing.

WoodForFuel.com produces hardwood and softwood logs for wood burning stoves and biomass boilers, along with woodchip for biomass boilers and CHP units.

The nine-tonne ECR88D is to replace a competitive model. Company co-director Gordon Mair explained, “We basically got our CHP operation up and running in just three months from a standing in March 2016. However, the nature of our business dictated the need for a thoroughly reliable prime mover, which we certainly weren’t getting with the machine we had.

“Our new Volvo is ticking all the boxes so far in terms of reliability, robustness, operator comfort and good all round visibility.”

The ECR88D is used primarily for feeding 3m softwood lengths into a heavy-duty chipper to produce the fuel to feed two CHP units, which are used to dry product sitting on a forced-air, underfloor heating system, as well as a giant drying kiln. The machine is also used for loading hard and soft wood from stockpile to loading table, where it is then split, screened and bagged.

Gordon continued, “We don’t just cut up wood and bag it for sale; we chip, screen and dry timber to feed our CHP units, which generates 90 kW of electricity to power everything onsite and heat that dries all products on our drying floors to ensure consistent low moisture content.”

The ECR88D has a Stage IV 2.6 litre engine, 56 horsepower and a closed centre load-sensing hydraulic system. The machine offers a horizontal reach of 7.3 metres and a lift capacity of 960kg at full reach.

Gordon added, “The visibility from the cab is a really good feature of the machine and the overall control and responsiveness using the wood clip grab is exceptionally good.”

The machine was supplied by Bo’ness firm Rockbreakers.