Perched among the granite outcrops and resolute presidents of Mount Rushmore, Bandit’s new Model 1890 Track self-propelled drum chipper is working to spruce up the national monument while protecting the surrounding forests of the southern Black Hills. Compact in size, highly maneuverable and capable of impressive production rates, the 1890 Track is the perfect machine to tackle the thinning operation occurring within the national park.
“Projects like this are exactly what we had in mind when we decided to build a self-propelled version of our 1890,” said Jason Morey, marketing manager for Bandit Industries. “It’s small enough to go pretty much anywhere, and it’s strong enough to chip a surprising amount of wood for its size.”
Already an industry favorite, the Model 1890’s versatility in the field is taken to the next level with a loader and a Caterpillar 307B steel-track undercarriage. It rides on a pair of 500-millimeter pads, giving the 1890 exceptional flotation over soft terrain and plenty of stability to scale steep slopes. A built-in loader takes the hands out of this hand-fed chipper, allowing a single operator to feed the machine with material up to 19 inches in diameter. A standard radio control permits operators to handle all chipper functions remotely, while an easy-to-use swing out control panel on the machine itself is available for those preferring direct contact. Engine options range from 114 to 213 horsepower, and a swivel discharge allows chips to be broadcast where they’re needed.
The extent of the 1890 Track’s versatility is being put to the test in South Dakota, where its ability to scale tricky terrain and climb mountains is assisting the National Park Service in thinning the woods around Mount Rushmore. The three-month project is designed to make the park and surrounding forests more resistant to fire by removing younger trees less than 10 inches in diameter. The measure will also serve to slow the pine beetle infestation which has affected the area. To preserve the integrity of the forest and area wildlife, tight restrictions are in place to ensure the project only removes that which is necessary.
“It’s not logging or clear cutting,” said Mike Johnson, the park service regional fire information officer. “It’s thinning out some of the stuff that would’ve burned in a natural forest cycle.”
The goal of the project is to develop a diverse ecosystem similar to what existed in the area approximately 100 years ago. As material is processed, the chips are spread back over the forest floor to keep nutrients in the park, sustaining a very natural feel. The ability of the 1890 Track to traverse jagged rocks on precarious slopes, process trees and brush and blanket the chips over the ground makes it the ideal machine to handle such a project.
“Hand-fed track chippers are becoming very popular because of their versatility,” said Morey. “We’ve designed and built the 1890 to be the best on the market, and watching it work at one of our greatest national monuments is truly an honor for us.”
Bandit Industries Inc. is a leading manufacturer of equipment for the logging, tree service, biomass and wood waste recycling industries. Bandit offers a complete line of hand-fed chippers, stump grinders, whole tree chippers, and horizontal grinders, all manufactured in a modern 240,000 square foot facility located at the company headquarters in Remus, Michigan.