A well-built choice
Although Shane Kropp started his career in trucking, he was destined to become a logger. At 20 years old, he began hauling logs for his father’s company. Then in 2000, Kropp decided to establish his own company – SK Trucking Ltd. in Slave Lake, Alberta. That trucking business added a stump-to-dump logging operation in 2014 as Kropp added several Waratah processors to his fleet.
The newest addition to Kropp’s line-up is a Waratah HTH622C 4x4 head, which he received at the Deere-Hitachi Specialty Products (DHSP) factory in Langley, British Columbia, at a special Gold Key event – a celebration of a customer receiving the keys to his machine. Kropp attended the event with his father, Dennis, and two sons, Seth and Skylar – a representation of three generations of loggers.
“My kids are eager to learn how to log, and the oldest one’s going to start logging this summer running processors, and he’s very excited,” Kropp said. “I thought it was neat having three generations at the event. Dad coming and the kids – I thought that was pretty awesome.”
The event also meant DHSP team members could meet the customer who bought the machine they built. The HTH622C 4x4 head was factory-installed on a Hitachi ZX210F-FE-6 processor.
“The Gold Key event is significant to the factory employees because it’s an opportunity for them to see the other end of the machine life,” said Jarvis de Groot, Product Marketing Manager at DHSP. “They get to see the customer who actually uses the machine. The factory employees typically don’t see the machine once it leaves the factory doors; it’s complete and it’s gone. But this gives them an opportunity to see the customer who uses the machine, and it’s just a really good experience. It ties the two ends together – the manufacturing and the end customer.”
The factory takes pride in its products and de Groot enjoys hearing feedback from customers.
“What we hear from our customers in general is that they really like our products, including our ability to integrate the Waratah head as a factory install,” de Groot said. “Our products are a quality product when they leave the factory.”
Representatives from Kropp’s local Waratah dealer, Brandt Tractor Ltd., also attended the Gold Key event.
“We have a very dedicated focus in forestry,” said Rod Bowes, Vice President of Sales, Forestry and Road Positioning Technology, Brandt Group of Companies. “We spend a tremendous amount of time helping support our customers in the logging business, and we were honored to join SK Trucking on the delivery of their new machine.”
The 622C 4x4 is well known for its multi-tree processing capabilities – but can also be configured for cleaner single stem delimbing requirements. Kropp optioned the new head with single stem arms for cleaner delimbing, and a standard drive arm link for better diameter accuracy, log handling and traction - all of which better suit his application and mill specifications.
“I think I’m going to get better luck with the single-stem operation because I’m leaving nubs on the trees and I’m excited to try it,” Kropp said. “I think it’s going to work great.”
Kropp said he plans to use his new processor nearly 24 hours a day until next spring. He estimates the new machine will have 10,000-12,000 hours on it within four years. And Kropp is confident the machine can handle the heavy workload.
“Waratah is a very durable head and well built,” Kropp said. “I’ve chosen Waratah because they’ve been around for quite a while and they’ve got more experience in the head industry.”
As his business continues to grow, Kropp plans to continue to choose Waratah for his logging needs.
“I go with Waratah on my equipment,” Kropp said. “I find I’ve got a good relationship with them. They have a nice product, and they look after me. And I’ve had them for the last three machines. They’re an excellent, excellent choice.”
SK Trucking Ltd. is serviced by Brandt Tractor Ltd. in Edmonton, Alberta.
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