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KF & Peterson: A Rich History


WMR looks at the origins of what has developed into a fruitful relationship between Komatsu Forest and Peterson, and how its product range has expanded.

Komatsu Forest (KF) has had a very keen interest in the Peterson chipper and grinder distribution for the Australian market since the late 1990s.

As Brett Jones, Komatsu Forest’s Managing Director recalls, Peterson’s close association of their products with the forest and timber industries was an exciting proposition.

“There was an existing dealer at that time, which prevented us from becoming involved with the Peterson products. We were persistent and Peterson were convinced to appoint us their dealer for both Australia and New Zealand,” he says. 

The agreement marked a new era for KF, with the company now exposed to new technology. As such, steps were taken to ensure a beneficial changeover. A smooth transition of spare parts transfer, sales history, and technical support was established with the previous dealer. 

Brett says it was important to maintain continuity with Peterson’s established customer base. As a result, Peterson retained the services of Mal Windrim, the factory Area Manager for Asia Pacific region. 

“After many successful years with the KF team, Mal thought it was time to retire, this decision wasn’t taken lightly but Mal wanted to see if the fish were still biting,” Brett jokes. “KF have been fortunate enough to maintain Mal’s services on a consultant basis where his skills and long product history are invaluable.”

“The Peterson Pacific Corporation was purchased by Astec Industries Inc in 2007 and operated as an independent company within the Astec Group. Last year Astec changed its structure, rebranding and the look of its various companies which led to the new company name of ‘Astec’ for all products and companies,” says Brett. 

“Interestingly, Astec has acquired nearly 20 subsidiary brands across the forestry, road building, aggregate and other industries,” he says.

Grinders nationwide

The partnership was up and running by late 2010 and the first orders for machinery followed shortly after – these being the 2710C for Tripodi Transport and the 5710C for Davis Earthmoving, both delivered in early 2011.

These early sales lead to a good first year, with another two grinders and three chippers being delivered across Australia.

The grinder business has continued to increase over recent years with a strong emphasis on recycling products such as waste timber and green waste. 

“Peterson has a broad model range from the 2710D (780HP) to the 6710D (1100HP), all with the same unique features,” says Brenton Yon Sales and Marketing Manager.

“An Impact Release System incorporates a Patented Air Bag protection for contaminated feed stock while the Impact Cushion System protects the mill from catastrophic damage from large items in the feed stock.”

Brenton says that all models sold in Australia are tracked grinders, with the most popular model being the 2710C/D, with 18 units sold across the country. Five of now belong to Snell Contracting in the Northern Territory. Behind the 2710C/D comes the 5710 C/D, the second most popular unit in the Peterson range.

“Most Peterson owners have multiple units, testifying to the quality of the product and back-up support which we have,” Brenton says.

A growing chipper range

Since 2011 KF has delivered 64 Peterson units, including 30 horizontal grinders and 34 units from the flail and chipper range.

Peterson’s range also includes drum and disc models, depending on customer requirements. 

The disc chipper is primarily used to produce an export quality chip in bark content and chip size. It’s also capable of producing a product suitable for biomass and pellets. 

PetersonThe drum chipper is used to produce a product suitable for medium-density fibreboard manufacturing, panel board, biomass, garden products and with the change of drum can produce poultry and equine bedding. 

The most popular chipper unit being the Peterson 5000H Whole Tree Disc Chipper, with KF delivering 22 units since 2011. 

“There are several owners with multiple units including LV Dohnt, Tabeel Trading, Kevin Morgan Group, Les Walkden, Ashers, Bluewood Industries and Tiwi Islands’ Aboriginal Community,” Brenton says. “The Peterson 5000H’s popular demand is based on its combination as a flail, debarker, chipper, its suitability for softwood or hardwood operations and its ability to handle whole trees up to 56cm diameter.” 

The machine is capable of producing export chip quality at up to 80 tonnes per hour, depending on tree size and characteristics. The 5000H also has a self-loading crane with a high position cab, providing improved vision for operators.

For larger requirements, a two-unit operation is required ie. a stand-alone flail and chipper. A prime example is the Peterson 6910 Disc Chipper which can accept a 69cm diameter tree, producing up to 160-180 tonnes per hour, depending on chip size and wood characteristics. 

For smaller volumes and tree sizes Peterson manufacture a 5910 Disc Chipper which can be supported with the smaller 4810 Flail.

“The Peterson range complements our factory-owned forest products,” Brett says. “Peterson is now a significant contributor to our annual turnover in both unit sales and after-sales-support.”   

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