Big and powerful

STIHL has offered the world’s most powerful series-production chainsaw for over 30 years, in the form of the STIHL MS 880. Then the EU 5 emissions standard arrived and meant the requirements for the saw had to change: A new powertrain was needed. Developers and engineers from more than 25 departments at STIHL set to work. The result is a professional chainsaw that is second to none worldwide: The STIHL MS 881.

One step at a time

The first step in the project was a precise inventory: Which components can be retained? Which need to be adapted or completely replaced? Reduced-scope testing illuminated dark spots. But it didn’t stop there. The design of the new saw posed challenges for everyone involved: Many of the series-production components, such as the handle, shroud and filter cover, lacked 3D models, and special tools for manufacturing the plastic parts were also only available as old 2D ink drawings.

“Because the design of the old tools was often not fully known, we had to produce new CAD models for some parts. Creating the corresponding 3D data records based on ink drawings was an unusual challenge for us all,” explains Daniel Martin, Design and Project Management. But the hard work paid off: The first concept prototypes were already within the target range in terms of performance and the targeted exhaust emission values. Things could start moving. After two years of development and thorough testing, the machine was released to the market in September 2020.

MS 881

The result: True power

Thanks to its new design, the STIHL MS 881 is not only the most powerful chainsaw in the world, it is also the only one in its performance class to meet the requirements of the current EU emissions standard. Professionals are particularly pleased with this, as the machine is often used in mobile sawmills and for harvesting thick timber. Felix Mohr, Series Launch Planning, remembers that collaboration between everyone involved at STIHL was also fantastic: “It was only possible to implement a project like this in such a short time because we always supported each other and tackled difficult tasks together.”

What’s new?

The chainsaw can only meet the strict requirements of the European EU5 emissions standard by means of an advanced powertrain with stratified scavenging system. Both the piston and cylinder on the STIHL MS 880 had to be replaced to make this possible. “In addition to the drive, we have also optimized many other components that have further improved the performance and handling of the STIHL MS 881. This work meant our gem of a product proved itself in worldwide testing from day one,” explains Dr. Ricardo Hojczyk, Testing Coordination. That’s why the STIHL MS 881 comes with a total of 50 new components.

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What’s new?
What’s new?

2-MIX stratified scavenging engine with 2-pipe manifold: The STIHL 2-MIX engine is both powerful and economical. Separation of exhaust and fresh gas minimizes scavenging losses, thereby reducing consumption while also increasing performance.

Captive nuts: The sprocket cover and housing are equipped with captive nuts or screws, which enables easy and convenient assembly of the components.

New oil pump: Thanks to the quantity-controlled oil pump, the user can set precise and demand-dependent dosing for oil delivery quantity.

Stop button function: After switching off, the control lever automatically returns to its operating position. The warm machine can then be restarted immediately.

HD2 filter: Keeps even fine dust away from the powertrain – for a particularly long service life. The filter is also very easy to clean by washing out.

Diagnostic function: Specialist dealers can use a STIHL diagnostic tool to read and check product, operating and service data from the power tools, among other aspects. Electrical diagnostics also make it possible to detect and rectify faults more quickly.

Modern design: With its new design, the STIHL MS 881 fits very well into the current professional saw range alongside the STIHL MS 661 and STIHL MS 500i.

The team behind the MS 881

The minds behind a large team of successful saws

The MS 881 chainsaw development team includes (from left): Daniel Martin, Design and Project Management; Igor Baschlykov, Product Manager; Daniel Diepolder, Functional Engine Design Development and Dr. Ricardo Hojczyk, Testing Coordination. 

But it did not just involve the STIHL site in Waiblingen. The MS 881 is the result of close international collaboration. 

The STIHL sites involved

Germany Plant 1 (Waiblingen)Production of crankshaft and connecting rod
Germany Plant 2 (Waiblingen)Development, coordination, production, plastics center, pre-assembly
Germany Plant 3 (Tengen)Production of handles
Germany Plant 4 (Weinsheim)Production of die-cast parts
Germany Plant 6 (Waiblingen)Final assembly, pre-assembly, scheduling, quality assurance
Germany Plant 7 (Ludwigsburg)Packing
Germany Plant 8 (Fellbach)Product management, controlling
Brazil (São Leopoldo)Cylinder production
China (Qingdao)Oil pump assembly