Glotfelty Lumber Looks to Minimize Downtime: Stays with Komatsu Harvester

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Maryland based family logging operation relies on Komatsu and Anderson’s Equipment for dependable service.


Eric Glotfelty, age 40, grew up in a logging family and is part of the Glotfelty Lumber Company, Inc., of Oakland, Maryland. The company’s home base is located in a quiet valley of the Appalachian Mountains of western Maryland. Logging is part of the landscape here and runs deep in the Glotfelty family. Eric’s grandfather started the company and his father, Butch is still very involved in the business.

Hardwoods dominate the region and feed the local sawmills along with the area’s lone paper mill, all within a 50-mile radius of Oakland. It is a highly competitive area in which loggers tailor their businesses to withstand the ups and downs of the industry.

Eric said, “When I started in the business, back in 1997, we had about sixteen employees. I had just finished college, earning an Associate Degree in Forest Technology. I could have gone to work at one of the sawmills, but I wanted to be in the woods.”

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Eric continued, “I recall, right about that same time, my grandfather took my dad and me to a Timbco 445C demonstration, which was still relatively new in our area.”

“We watched a very skilled operator put on quite a show that day. We had been at the landing for about ten minutes, my dad and I were enthralled. We left my grandfather behind and followed the machine into the woods. In one instance the operator took the machine down into a steep hollow and seemed to be in a really tough spot. He reached out and cut a big old tree, then he lifted, swung and carried it back up the slope to lay it down. We were amazed!”

“Shortly after that we walked back to the landing to get my grandfather and were surprised when he asked us if we were ready to go. I replied saying, ‘Aren’t we going to sit and watch him work some more?” My grandfather simply replied, ‘No, we’re going to buy one.'”

Eric said, “We purchased our first Timbco 445C about twenty years ago and I can say these Komatsu machines have just gotten better and better. Especially since the introduction of electronic controls, they’ve been really reliable.”

The Legacy

Komatsu’s purpose-built XT-3 Series machines carry the lineage of high-production and superior multi-function performance in the most demanding forest environments.

The pioneering setback boom design and zero-tail swing provide good reach with the ability to work in confined areas and cut close to the machine, which maximizes lift capacity. The independent hydrostatic track drives introduced the first multifunction cut, travel, lift and swing machine performance.

The original machine concept revolutionized mechanical harvesting with the industry’s first engine-up, 4-way cab leveling track carrier. The leveling platform maximizes operator comfort, increases harvesting productivity, and improves lift & swing torque performance when operating on slopes. Today, Komatsu includes continuous 360-degree cab rotation as a standard feature on all XT-3 Series machines to enhance maneuverability and operating performance.

Eric said, “I couldn’t even tell you how many of these harvesters we’ve owned since buying our first one. We trade about every three years to keep our production up. That philosophy has minimized our downtime and it helps keep us ahead of the machine-repair curve.

“Today, we run our XT445L-3 with bar saw, a grapple skidder, a loader and some trucks. We have six people, which allow us to maintain a very steady production level. We have a good crew, they’re out there every day and will do whatever it takes, or whatever I ask of them. We work five and sometimes six days a week, year-round. We’ll make wood whenever we can, in any weather. I’m proud to say the mills can count on us. We haven’t missed very many days over the years.”

“My dad is 66, he runs the loader and has logged his whole life. He started when he was very young and now, is getting close to retirement. He has been very active with the local logger groups and has helped raise a lot of money for the children’s hospital and for local scholarships. We also have a driver, Stan that is semi-retired now but has been with us for over thirty years. My aunt (dad’s sister) takes care of our bookkeeping.”

Glotfelty Lumber’s latest Komatsu XT445L-3 fitted with a customized Komatsu XA233 bar saw has been on the job for several months and Eric feels his setup provides the best combination of power and finesse to take on any hardwood or softwood job, including state jobs with all the stringent regulations and environmental restrictions.

Eric said, “Most people are surprised to learn that a machine this size can go through the forest and do such a good job. It’s fast and powerful, yet surprisingly light on the land. There’s no tail swing and if I’m in a tight spot I can reach up to remove limbs and set them down before I cut the tree. I also have the power to cut the top half of a tree off and can lay it down to avoid scarring other nearby trees.”

“With this machine, I can work faster, have less residual stand damage than men with power saws and it is so much safer working inside the cab. Plus, it’s a really nice work environment.”

Modern Cab Design

The XT-3 Series has an updated cab design that puts the focus on operator comfort and convenience. It is spacious, pressurized and has an automatic heating, cooling and defrosting system. The ergonomic seat and easy-to-reach controls and instrumentation are designed to optimize operator productivity. The sloped roofline provides more headroom and allows a larger floor-to-ceiling front window. Larger side windows and skylight combine to create a commanding field of view in this machine class.

The advanced IQAN-MD4 programmable digital control system replaces analog gauges and includes warnings that appear on a LED color touchscreen monitor. Joystick controls are programmable to the operator’s handling preferences. Intuitive Komatsu programming makes the system very easy to use and can also be setup for multiple operators. Service diagnostics and access to all machine information are available on the touch screen.

Convenient Maintenance and Serviceability

Service for the XT-3 Series machine is simplified thanks to large swing-out service doors which provide easy access to all maintenance points including fluid fill locations, filters, batteries, hydraulic pressure checkpoints, and hydraulic hoses and pumps. Easy access to grease fittings provides simple routine maintenance.

The Glotfelty’s have their own shop and in the past had performed most of their own maintenance. However today, the service work for their trucks is hired out. In the woods, his employees keep up with routine maintenance, but only take on the smaller service projects.

Eric said, “Whenever there is something more involved on my Komatsu, I call Anderson Equipment. They’ve been very good to us and we can rely on them. Their people are very knowledgeable and they get out here and get it fixed up right away.”

It’s Always About Family

Eric concluded, “We make our money in the woods. I can’t be in my shop or have equipment down for three or four days trying to figure things out. I say, let the professionals do it! I need to get back to making money or head home to my family.

“I enjoy the challenges and rewards of logging. It’s been good for our whole family. My wife, Ashley, and I have young children and we’re active in our community and really involved in our son’s baseball and our daughter’s dance. We also occasionally manage to squeeze in a little time for just us. It’s all kind of hectic, but family makes it all worthwhile and I don’t think we’d change a thing.”