volume: 41, issue: 1
The great complexity of the operation of wood harvesting machines and unpredictable differences of performance between operators must be reflected in the industry recruitment techniques. This work aimed to carry out an evaluation of the bimanual motor skill in candidates for the position of harvester operators using a virtual reality simulator to generate information that can contribute to and improve the selection process. The work was developed at the Forest Operators Training Center (CENFOR), at the State University of the Center–West, in Irati, PR. A sample of 12 individuals was studied and distributed into three levels of performance. The motor ability of the individuals was evaluated through the variables: »run time«, »fall direction«, and »cutting height«, assessed at different points during a 4-hour practice – 0.5; 1.0; 1.5; 2.0; 3.0 and 4.0 hours – practice in a virtual harvester simulator. The data were analyzed by variance and means, as well as compared to a Tukey test at the 5% level of significance. The individuals had a significant difference in the variables »run time« and »cutting height«, and could be accurately used to predict bimanual motor skill/performance. There was a significant gain in the performance of the operators up to 1.5 hours after the beginning of the skill test, and all those who demonstrated greater and lesser ability in the first half hour of the test maintained this behavior until the end of the training period. The virtual reality simulator can be used as a tool to assess bimanual motor skills during the selection of harvester operators.
volume: 41, issue:
Demand for higher value-added wood products stimulates research for new, mainly mechanized, thinning operations in order to increase productivity and reduce production costs. In this context, the aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of distance between strip roads on forwarder productivity and costs of thinning operations in Pinus taeda stands. The study was carried out in 10-year-old Pinus taeda stands located in Parana State, Brazil. Two thinning methods were evaluated: (1) TH5: systematic harvest in every fifth tree row and selective harvest in adjacent rows; and (2) TH7: systematic harvest in every seventh tree row and selective harvest in adjacent rows. Working cycle times, productivity and costs were determined through a time-motion study of the forwarder. The additional variables evaluated were wood assortments (industrial wood and energy wood) and extraction distances (50, 100, 150 and 200 m), and mean values were compared between thinning methods using t tests for independent samples (α=0.05). Loading and unloading elements consumed the most time in the working cycle, with lower participation time in TH7 due to greater availability of logs along the strip roads (higher pile volumes), influencing total cycle time up to the mean distance of 150 m for both assortments. TH7 consequently showed 6% higher productivity, its energy yield was 5.3% lower and its production cost was 3.0% lower.