The logging industry has come a long way since the early 1800's using animals and sheer human willpower to cut and pull logs into rivers to ride the current to the closest timber mill. The first engine powered lumber-lugger was called a steam powered wench called the steam donkey. Finally in the 1920's the industry saw a boom of efficiency with the introduction of tractors and trucks being able to haul the felled timber. Since then, logging trucks have only improved, becoming safer and more efficient.
When one is in the market for buying a used logging truck and trailer there are a handful of items to consider. Based on the tree type and load size, buyers first determine the average weight each haul will take. This will determine what type of engine and tractor unit (truck) will be needed to pull the load as well as the the weight bearing capacity of the trailer (and truck if relevant). Secondarily, the buyer will need to consider whether there is another machine to be used for loading the trailer or if the operator is capable of operating the loading mechanism on a loader trailer by himself. Another aspect to think through when selecting a used logging truck is the length of the timber that will be carried. While longer lumber requires a lengthier trailer, shorter lumber is often carried on two shorter trailers hitched together to maximize the efficiency of each trip.
All logging trucks have the same primary function of transporting timber that has been felled. However, they often have different components that can alter their functionality and mode of operation. Starting with weight bearing, some tractor units are able to support the load much like a heavy duty semi-truck. Other logging trucks simply have a dollied trailer hooked up that bears the majority of the weight on its own axles, much like a pickup truck and trailer setup. While most trailers on logging trucks require a separate machine and operator to have the timber loaded on them, some trailers are equipped with a mechanized crane-like system to pick up felled trees by themselves. This loader mechanism is typically placed in the middle of the trailer bed, thus often called mid-mount loader trailers. The last key difference in logging trucks are their mechanisms for securing a load of lumber. Most trailers use the method of manually strapping down their load with winched straps. However, some trailers can also designed with a gate at the back of the trailer to prevent logs from sliding off. While a gate seems like an obvious solution to having to manually strap down all the logs, its downside is the restriction to only load logs within a certain length so that the gate is able to close.
In Richmond, Virginia there is a logging industry expo that has been meeting for over 60 years. Aptly named based off its location, The Expo Richmond will meet next in 2018 (May 18-19) at the Richmond Raceway Complex with some of the industries leading companies and innovators both exhibiting and providing educational opportunities for those attending. The long-standing track record of this event that meets every other year has solidified as a hub for progress in the logging truck industry. You can register for Expo Richmond here.
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