The Salamander wriggles into Elmia Wood

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It certainly attracts attention, Peder Hermodsson’s Salamander. He designed and built the small, ingenious mini-forwarder all by himself. Just like its namesake it can wriggle along easily and flexibly between trees and stones. And now it is being presented to the whole forestry world at Elmia Wood.

“You can drive it into tight spaces in a very nimble way,” Hermodsson says. “Except for the cab, the whole machine is not much bigger than its actual load.”

The Salamander was named for its appearance and how it moves. It is ‘four-footed’ – that is, it has four wheels, and has a ‘head’ – the cab – which can swing in both directions. The machine is deliberately designed to wriggle its way across the terrain and in between trees, just like a salamander.

Hermodsson, who normally runs a joinery firm in Skåne, and who has created everything from furniture to beautiful wooden staircases, thought about his creation for a number of years before seizing the moment and turning his concept into reality.

He and his brother own and manage 60 hectares of forest, which is where his idea developed for a machine that could function as a forwarder but not be so large. Quite simply, a small, flexible machine that could wriggle its way along between all the heaps of stones and other obstacles in the southern Swedish forests.

“I built it from scrap and sheet metal, whatever I could get. It’s truly homemade,” he says.

He even played with his son’s Lego® bricks to get a feel for what would work. He built a 1:10 scale wooden model of his final concept. A few adjustments later and it was time to start building the full-scale version in reality.

“If you don’t happen to have millions in the bank, you use what you can get,” he says, smiling at the memory of using his son’s toy as an R&D tool.

Outdoors, behind his joinery workshop, his unique creation slowly took shape. Last winter it was far enough along that he could test it in the woods. He brought out 100 cubic metres of timber with it and was very satisfied with its performance. This year he has continued to fine-tune the details and apply a few new ideas as well. The Salamander can be used in a wide variety of situations thanks to the many ways that the cab and wheels can be turned.

“For example, you can swing the cab forward and drive the mini-forwarder in parallel on a slant in to a log pile,” Hermodsson says. 

“I have many plans to develop the machine further. One idea is to make it remote controlled so you can walk along beside it, rather like when you use a horse to skid out individual logs. That would also be good from a safety standpoint.”

He is very much looking forward to now showing his creation to the world, to all the international visitors and exhibitors who are attending Elmia Wood.

“People will notice it because it stands out. It will be very fun and exciting to demonstrate it. I hope to find a business partner at the fair – someone who wants to manufacture it or someone who’s interested in my creative skills,” Hermodsson concludes.

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