Production has doubled in recent years for Sands Logging, based in Daisy, Ga. And Cat® forestry machines have helped the family-owned company keep pace with the rapid growth.
When Sands Logging became a dealer for International Paper three years ago, production began to grow exponentially. “We now buy all our own stumpage,” says Carson “Rock” Sands, Jr., owner and co-founder.
The company cuts mainly pine and some hardwood. "We cut a lot of pine plantations and do a lot of thinning,” says Carson.
He added a second three-man crew two years ago. Each crew operates with a feller buncher, skidder, and loader.
To equip the company crew that was added, Sands Logging purchased a Cat 559B loader and 535C skidder in the past two years and most recently a 535D skidder.
“We also have an older 535C skidder that we keep as a spare machine in case we need a second machine on a job,” says Carson.
In addition to adding a crew of employees, in the past year Sands Logging added three contract crews and a full-time registered forester. Between those five timber harvesting crews, the company is producing about 225 to 250 loads per week.
The new Cat skidders are helping the company keep production up. The 535D features improved hydraulics and fuel economy. “The hydraulics are quicker and stronger,” says Carson. “The machine seems to handle a load better. When you put this machine in gear, it’s ready to go. The transmission is about as good as it gets.” At the same time, the 535D delivers 10-12 percent better fuel economy, according to his estimate. “That’s very significant with the cost of fuel as high as it is,” says Carson.
“The biggest thing that my operators like about the Cat skidders is the controls,” says Carson. “In your left hand, you have the steering wheel and the transmission control. In your right hand, you have all the grapple functions. A Cat machine is the only one that has every function in two places, and you don’t have to move your hands.”
Mill prices for wood have not risen much in the past 30 years, observes Carson. During the same time, however, the cost of fuel, equipment, and labor have gone up. “We have to use less labor, fewer pieces of equipment, and move more wood to remain competitive,” he says.
Machine longevity is an important part of the business equation, and Cat equipment has helped. “We’re getting a lot more hours out of the C series machines,” says Carson. “If the D series is better than the C series, I can see us keeping this machine even longer.”
Cat Product Link™ transmits performance data of the 535D skidder to Sands Logging’s Cat dealer, Yancey Bros. Co., ,which monitors the data in order to avoid down time. “If they see a problem, they will contact us,” says Carson. “With Product Link and oil sampling, we know about any problems and can correct them before the machine goes down.”
His company gets strong support from Yancey Bros., Carson indicated. “When we walk in there, we don’t have to introduce ourselves. They know us.”
“We log 12 months a year down here,” he adds. “They realize that, in our business, the machines run every day. They understand that and get us going as fast as they can.”
Cat equipment and dealer service, along with outstanding employees, have enabled Sands Logging to keep pace with the increased demands being placed on the company, positioning them for continued growth.