By Wanda Curtis

The Northeastern Forest Products Equipment Exposition, also known as the Loggers’ Expo, is coming to Bangor. The Expo’s scheduled to be held at the Cross Insurance Center on Friday, September 24 and Saturday, September 25. The doors will open at 9 a.m. each day. The Expo alternates between Bangor during the odd years and Essex Junction, Vermont during the even years. 

Executive Director of the Northeastern Loggers’ Association Joseph Phaneuf said everyone is excited about this year’s Expo in Bangor. He said after last year’s show was canceled due to COVID, everyone is looking forward to things getting back to almost normal this year.

“We’re super excited just to be able to host an Expo this year,” said Phaneuf. “Last year’s show in Vermont was cancelled, and our original dates for this show in May didn’t work out. I think the whole forest products industry in Maine and beyond will be excited to get together and celebrate something that’s close to normal.”

According to Phaneuf, a crowd of 5,000-7,000 people is expected to attend the two-day trade show. He said they’re looking forward to welcoming a variety of people from the forest industry including loggers, sawmillers, firewood employees, truckers, equipment operators and anyone else interested in the forest industry. Attendees are expected to come from throughout Maine, New Hampshire and beyond. In the past, they’ve had attendees from Eastern Canada but their attendance will depend upon when border restrictions are lifted.

“I expect we’ll welcome large and enthusiastic crowds this year,” Phaneuf said.

Many Indoor and Outdoor Exhibits

In the past, the Loggers’ Expo has featured more than 200 exhibitors. There have been a mixture of live demonstrations and static displays, both indoors and outdoors. They usually feature a variety of in-woods forest products equipment, trucks and trailers, firewood splitters and portable saw mills, said Phaneuf. There will be products and services of interest to the forest products industry, as well as to the homeowner who may be interested in wood heating, he said.

“The evolution of forest products equipment is ongoing,” said Phaneuf. “Equipment, for many years, has been getting bigger with huge gains in productivity being the target, so there will likely be something new to see in this area.”

Log Loading Contest

A popular activity, featured at other Expos, has been the annual log loading contest sponsored by Weiler Forest Equipment and Milton-CAT. The contest will be held again at this year’s Expo, Phaneuf said.

Heavy Duty Equipment

In regard to equipment used in the forestry industry today, Editor-in-Chief of The Northern Logger and Timber Processor Eileen Townsend said the logging industry has changed a lot over the years. 

“A typical logging operation used to involve work horses,” said Townsend. “A small operation in the past involved a chainsaw and cable skidder. Those folks are still out there, but we also have a range of other heavy duty equipment used in the industry — feller bunchers, grapple skidders, cut-to-length harvesters, heavy duty grinders and chippers.”

According to Townsend, much of the equipment featured at the Expo is “big iron for fully mechanized loggers who either run what are called ‘full tree operations’ or ‘cut to length’ systems, depending on the terrain and markets they deal with.” The market for equipment is dictated by what loggers have for wood, Townsend said, and the major companies who make forest products equipment are “always driving innovation.” Regulation is also responsible for some changes in the types of equipment on the market, she said.

“Regulations have changed around emissions of industrial engines, so some of the newer equipment features streamlined engines that are both more efficient and more environmentally friendly,” said Townsend.

Many Companies Represented

As in the past, many major companies such as John Deere, Komatsu and Ponsse will be represented at the Expo. President/CFO of Freightliner of Maine Tracy Thibodeau said they will showcase Freightliner OEM products as well as Alliance aftermarket products “to better outfit the hardworking trucks out there.” They will tailor their displays to the heavy duty and wood markets to correspond with the theme of the show, she said.

One of the newer pieces of equipment that Freightliner will have on display, said Thibodeau, is the Western Star heavy duty spec’d Tractor 49X which was just released for production in the last year. She said it has a very expansive list of possible configurations and will be a strong competitor in the heavy duty market.

“We will also have a few heavy duty spec Freightliner over-the-road tractors, as well as dump trucks that are used in logging and construction applications,” said Thibodeau. “We normally have our booth area staffed with parts and truck sales reps who will also have literature as well as advertising handouts.”

Freightliner Open House

In addition to their display at the Expo, Thibodeau said Freightliner will be holding an open house at their Bangor dealership (located at 422 Perry Road) at 5 p.m. on Friday, September 24. She said they’ll have a meal, along with vehicles and products on display. Sales representatives and staff will be present to answer questions.

“It helps make the customer experience as well rounded as possible for their weekend visit to the area!” Thibodeau said.

Registration & Attendance

To find out more about the trade show, email or call (315) 369-3078. The show is scheduled for Friday, September 24 and Saturday, September 25 at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. The entry fee is $10 (which covers entry to the trade show for both days), and attendees can complete a registration card at the door. The doors will open at 9 a.m. each day.

See this Section as it appeared in print here