If you need a clear demonstration of how safety conscious harvesting contractors have become in the past decade, the sale of the 150th Falcon Winch-Assist machine provides convincing evidence. It took just seven years to reach that milestone and manufacturer, Nelson-based DC Equipment, says demand is currently at an all-time high.
The shift to mechanised tree falling on steep slopes has accelerated around the world after the technology and safety of the innovative practice was proven in New Zealand. Kiwi companies like DC Equipment are at the forefront of the tech drive, exporting safety-first forestry equipment to customers in New Zealand and across the globe as a solution to removing vulnerable workers from dangerous task such as tree falling and breaking out.
“I can’t believe we’ve hit Winch-Assist number 150, it just seems like yesterday we were building our first one,” says Dale Ewers, founder and owner of DC Equipment, as well as running a successful logging company. We got into this business to protect people in our own harvesting crews and it worked so well we offered it to other contractors. We haven’t looked back.”
Designed and tested extensively in a wide range of slope and soil conditions the Falcon Winch-Assist has clocked up approximately half-a-million operational hours and zero harm incidents across its customer base.
One leading customer is forestry equipment leasing company, TDF Solutions, which has purchased 27 Falcon Winch-Assist machines in recent years, including number 150. TDF’s Business Manager, Frankie Davidson, was himself involved in the early years of winch-assist development with a company that built a double-drum, twin-rope bulldozer but he has since become a firm believer in the single rope system produced by DC Equipment.
“It’s an awesome product and it works bloody well,” says Frankie, whose company provides forestry equipment to contractors on a lease-to-own basis through New Zealand. You’ve only got to see how they have changed the way we work on the hills and the safety record. Perhaps the best endorsement is that the customers we have keep coming back for another one……and another.
“Since we took delivery of the 150th Falcon Winch-Assist – our 27th – we’ve already signed up our 30th.” TDF was among the early purchasers of the Falcon Winch-Assist and Frankie says that although the key principles have not changed over the years, he has seen it become more refined and more user-friendly.
“Compared to the first one, number 150 is different in almost every single way and yet it is exactly the same,” says Frankie.
Photo: DC Equipment’s Nick and Solomon (left & centre) hand over the 150th Falcon Winch-Assist machine to Nigel Bryant of Nelson-based Nigel Bryant Logging