volume: 42, issue:
Cable yarders are often the preferred harvesting system when extracting trees on steep terrain. While the practice of cable logging is well established, productivity is dependent on many stand and terrain variables. Being able to continuously monitor a cable yarder operation would provide the opportunity not only to manage and improve the system, but also to study the effect on operations in different conditions.
This paper presents the results of an automated monitoring system that was developed and tested on a series of cable yarder operations. The system is based on the installation of a Geographical Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) onto the carriage, coupled with a data-logging unit and a data analysis program. The analysis program includes a set of algorithms able to transform the raw carriage movement data into detailed timing elements. Outputs include basic aspects such average extraction distance, average inhaul and outhaul carriage speed, but is also able to distinguish number of cycles, cycle time, as well as break the cycles into its distinct elements of outhaul, hook, inhaul and unhook.
The system was tested in eight locations; four in thinning operations in Italy and four clear-cut operations in New Zealand, using three different rigging configuration of motorized slack-pulling, motorized grapple and North Bend. At all locations, a manual time and motion study was completed for comparison to the data produced by the newly developed automated system. Results showed that the system was able to identify 98% of the 369 cycles measured. The 8 cycles not detected were directly attributed to the loss of GNSS signal at two Italian sites with tree cover. For the remaining 361 cycles, the difference in gross cycle time was less than 1% and the overall accuracy for the separate elements of the cycle was less than 3% when considered at the rigging system level. The study showed that the data analyses system developed can readily convert GNSS data of the carriage movement into information useful for monitoring and studying cable yarding operations.