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Rottne® Forwarder Strengthens Equipment Roster at Goettl Logging
Goettl Logging, a Badger state logger, adds strength and agility with a fast, nimbler Rottne F-15 Forwarder. The tie between efficiency and power really got Jon Goettl’s attention.
By Diane M. Calabrese
Date Posted: 11/1/2012
CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wisconsin — Equipment buyers evaluate machines on many criteria. Yet the tie between efficiency and power really gets their attention.
With a formal education in fluid power technology, Jon Goettl, one of the owners of Goettl Logging LLC, has a keen interest in hydraulic systems and a great concern about matters related to efficiency in movement. When Jon purchased a Rottne® F-15 forwarder from Pioneer Equipment Company in Rhinelander, Wis., it was the engine that sealed the deal.
“The John Deere motor” in the Rottne forwarder was a big factor, said Jon. He said that he really likes John Deere engines for their performance. Moreover, the 225-horsepower, Tier 3 Eco-friendly engine is an efficient user of fuel.
Another significant factor contributing to the purchase of the Rottne forwarder (in January 2012) was the relationship that Jon had developed with Pioneer Equipment, a dealer he has relied on since 2008. “They are very good,” he said of Pioneer Equipment. “They’re very accommodating.”
It’s not unusual for representatives of Pioneer Equipment to visit a tract where Jon’s company is working. Understanding the requirements of loggers is something the dealership takes seriously.
“I was a logger for 32 years,” said Steve Ory, one of the owners of Pioneer Equipment. He knows how important it is for logging companies to have the machines that fit their need.
“Jon’s a good operator,” said Ory. “I’ve known him for three or four years.”
The Rottne F-15 was a good choice for Jon for several reasons, explained Ory. “It’s fast; it’s nimble,” he said. With its off-road chassis, the forwarder is designed to load the most in the minimum amount of time.
The agility of the F-15 derives from several features. It has good ground clearance. Its squirt boom allows it to reach without the risk of damaging trees that will remain standing following thins.
The overall efficiency of the Rottne F-15 is enhanced by the DASA on-board computer. That computer system monitors fuel efficiency and drive functions.
“We became a [Rottne] dealer one year ago,” said Ory. In that capacity, the dealership serves Minnesota and Michigan and Wisconsin.
Pioneer Equipment also is the TimberPro dealer for Wisconsin. It offers Log Max®, Risley and Quadco heads.
The Rottne forwarder runs with a TimberPro 725 track machine that carries a Log Max 7000 XT head. That pair of cut-to-length machines stays in Wisconsin and tackles a variety of jobs.
Goettl Logging cuts for food plots and hunting land. It also does select cuts for the Department of Natural Resources. And it sends some of its other equipment across the country to do clearing for pipelines.
Strength and flexibility make the Rottne forwarder a good addition to the Goettl Logging equipment roster. “It handles 16-foot red pine we cut just fine,” said Jon. “It handles 18-foot hardwoods.”
Getting the right fit between equipment and logging method is as important as getting the optimal match between dealer and distribution network. Blondin, Inc. in Indiana, Pa. is the U.S. distributor for Rottne equipment. The president of the company, Rikard Olofsson has been working with Rottne since 1989.
Pioneer Equipment is a good choice for a Rottne dealer, explained Olofsson. “They are focused on logging equipment, not construction other types of equipment – just logging,” he said. “With Dan Lynsmyer and Hakan Berg, [they] have the background of mechanical and operator experience. And Steve Ory has the background of being a contractor and knowing what customers are looking for.”
It all adds up to a very positive sum. “Put them [the principals at Pioneer] together with their decades of experience and it was a perfect fit,” said Olofsson. “Their location was perfect because of the dense population of cut-to-length equipment.”
Rottne is the only product line for Blondin, a company that is owned by the Rottne factory. The headquarters of Rottne is in Sweden.
Switching between softwood and hardwood is becoming more a way of life for loggers, even in hardwood-rich areas. The adaptable knuckle-boom loader on the Rottne has good reach with excellent control.
Something that gets the notice of a hydraulics expert, such as Jon, is the separate hydraulic systems on the Rottne. There is one for the transmission and one for working hydraulics.
The Rottne F-15 is a comparatively lightweight machine. “The machine weighs about 32,000 pounds,” said Ory. “It has a 14-ton capacity.” Good flotation and low ground pressure contribute to the environmental friendliness of the forwarder.
The longevity built into the Rottne F-15 forwarder also augments its green profile, given that long life for a machine ultimately reduces the carbon footprint of its manufacturer. “It’s very durable,” said Steve of the Rottne F-15. There’s no tin [in it].”
Winter 2012 was so mild in the Upper Midwest that Jon encountered virtually no snow. He ran the forwarder throughout the season on wheels only. He does have tracks ready for snowier years.
It’s particularly important, though, for loggers that cut in rough terrain. And Goettl Logging traverses some very rough terrain. Drumlins, the round- and oval-shaped hills formed from glacial drift, are common across the region.
The area where Goettl Logging cuts is at the sort of dividing line between pine, hemlock, cedar and balsam mixes in the north and deciduous trees that predominate in the southern and eastern part of the state. Being equipped to handle both softwood and hardwood enables the company to serve a diverse customer base.
Jon started Goettl Logging 18 years ago. The enterprise is based in Chippewa Falls, Wis., a city with close to 14,000 residents. Chippewa Falls is located in the west-central part of the state. It is 10 miles northeast of Eau Claire.
Goettl Logging generally logs within an 80-mile radius of its home base. It trucks as far as 150 miles. The company owns 80 acres of land. And it has a log yard where it can hold timber prior to transport. Goettl Logging generally operates with seven or eight employees.
Working with Jon are two co-owners, his father, Gerald Goettl, and his brother Bryan Goettl (now part-time). Bryan studied electro-mechanical engineering before joining the company.
The longest root of Goettl Logging extends to the 1960s when Jon’s grandfather started a trucking company, which Gerald took over in 1978. The trucking company became quite large with a dozen rigs in the fleet at one time. The company was sold when Jon was 18 years old – the point in time when he started the logging company.
Today, Goettl Logging does some of its own trucking, but it contracts for 90 percent of trucking. There is a separate, but aligned, company, Goettl Trucking LLC, which belongs to the Great Lakes Timber Producers Association (GLTPA). The GLTPA, headquartered in Rhinelander, Wis., is committed to sustainable forest management practices.
Besides the TimberPro and Rottne harvester that work in tandem, Jon has a second TimberPro harvester (also with a Log Max head) that runs with a TimberPro forwarder. Jon is a big fan of fixed heads because the wood he cuts is typically gnarled and heavily branched. The fixed head allows the harvester to strip such limbs so that they are clean.
In fact, Jon worked closely with Log Max through Steve at Pioneer Equipment to help perfect – as a prototype tester, the Log Max fixed harvesting head. He took delivery of his own TimberPro and Log Max pairing in 2010. The machine Jon purchased was actually seen by many at the 2010 Lake States Logging Congress where it was exhibited prior to the sale.
Efficiency is borne of reliable and long-lived equipment that exploits every drop of fuel to the maximum. It depends, too, on equipment operators that know their machines and follow all the recommendations of the original equipment manufacturer (OEM).
And, finally, efficiency results from definite and robust ties between equipment owner, equipment seller and OEM. If there is a question, someone must be ready to answer. With the dependable links that Jon has to Pioneer Equipment and Blondin, Inc., the assurance of getting answers as a fast as questions arise is ever present.
Pioneer Equipment opened a new facility in 2009. It not only makes service calls – including portable welding — to job sites, but it also has a full service repair shop. All its welders are certified.
Rikard, the man at the helm of Blondin, did not reach his position without hands-on equipment experience. He started his career with Rottne as a technician. Even today, as he oversees selling machines, he often pitches in and helps with services calls and technical support.
Ory and Olofsson at Pioneer and Blondin, respectively, share a special trait with Jon. Each of the men combines business acumen and mechanical expertise to head up a strong, versatile company. Deep knowledge is another dimension of efficiency – one that deserves a lot more reflection by those who wonder what makes for business vitality.
Jon was working in a red pine plantation when we caught up with him. Actually, after a long day in the field, he was handling some equipment maintenance. He is always busy, but he is a person with definite priorities beginning with family first. For instance, he makes the time for his son’s ball games.
And when Jon does get some free time to choose an activity he relishes, he enjoys hunting. That’s a nice symmetry with work he does now and then.
Much of the public land on which Goettl Logging cuts is land being thinned for wildlife management. There are also private landowners maintaining acreage for deer and other wildlife. Jon enjoys getting involved in the management of such areas, occasionally even building a pond to sustain wildlife. It’s all about ensuring the property owner – whether public or private – gets the results he wants.
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