Vehicle/machine design and evaluation

Forest Road Network and Transportation Engineering – State and Perspectives

volume: 38, issue: 2

Trailer Overturning during Wood Transportation: an Experimental Investigation of Effects of Trailer Joint Point and Frame Structure

volume: 39, issue: 1

Trailers may increase the risk of tractor overturn during wood transportation in dangerous
conditions. In this work, tests were carried to simulate a trailer rollover using three two wheel
tractors and a crawler tractor and three trailers (two single-axle and one two-axle), all of their
combinations moving downhill along the path on a short dirt road. The trailers were always
loaded with the same load of logs cut at a length of about 1.5 m and put transversely to the
longitudinal axis of the trailer. During each test, the following parameters were measured: the
lateral dragging of the rear wheels/crawler of the tractor, the ground detachment of the rear
upstream wheel/crawler and both the longitudinal and transversal strains (released over the
tractor hooking system) produced by the trailer overturn. The study highlighted that the biaxle
trailer structure with a turntable steering had the best performances compared to the
single-axle in terms of safety during trailer overturning. Independently of the trailer type
considered in this work, a tied load is more dangerous than a load restrained only by steel
struts, because during the overturn the load forms a single unit with the trailer mass, which
increases the transversal and longitudinal strain.

Determination of Service Life of Sintered Powder Metallurgy Gears in Regard to Tooth Bending Fatigue

volume: 39, issue: 1

The aim of this study is to check the possibility of replacing the pinion gear made of structural
steel with the one made of sintered material. The pinion is part of the gear pair mounted
in front of the gearbox of the skidder Ecotrac 55V to increase the speed and lower torque. In
larger series, powder metallurgy (PM) gears are used as a cost-effective alternative for wrought
metal gears in a number of industries including the one producing forest products. The present
paper discusses the computational and experimental approach for determining the service
life of sintered PM gears in regard to tooth bending fatigue. The proposed computational
model is based on the stress-life approach, where the stress field in a gear tooth root is determined
numerically using finite element method. The needed material data have been taken
from the authors’ previous work. Due to the scattering nature of fatigue, the statistic approach
has also been considered by presentation of computational results. The experimental procedure
was done on a custom made back-to-back gear testing rig. The comparison between computational
and experimental results has shown that the proposed computational approach is an
appropriate calculation method for estimating the service life of sintered gears regarding tooth
root strength. Namely, it has been shown that, in case of proper heat treatment of tested gears,
tooth breakage occurred in the interval with 95% probability of failure, which has been determined
using the proposed computational model.

A Mobile Hydraulic Winch for Use in Small-Scale Forestry

volume: 39, issue: 2

Winches have recently been used to extract timber from forests. Winches are often components
of tractors, but tractors cannot be used on difficult terrain and are generally too expensive for
small forest owners. The current study considers the use of an experimental winch for the
extraction of timber from small plots with difficult terrain. The mobile hydraulic winch used
in this study weighs 50 kg and has a pulling force of up to 53 kN, a 12 V motor, and a 64x224 mm
drum. The associated power unit is a gasoline, single-cylinder, four-stroke, air-cooled KIPOR
KG 390D (400D), 389 cm3 engine, with 7.7 kW of power, and a torque of 22.6 Nm at 2500 rpm.
The engine powers a high-pressure oil pump with an output pressure of 3 MPa and a flow rate
of 60 litres per minute. The input torque of the pump shaft is 25 Nm at 3000 rpm. The hydraulic
winch can be fixed to tree trunks, stumps, or wooden pegs by lashings. The winch was
tested at three locations with different assortments of wood. The results showed that the experimental
winch was practical for timber extraction and that <250 kN of force was needed
for successful extraction. At the test sites, the expense of lumber removal was on average 140%
greater with the winch than with a horse but the advantage of the hydraulic winch is high
pulling force. Because of its small size and low weight, the unit can be easily handled by two
workers, easily moved at short distances in small plots with rough terrain, and easily transported
among plots. With a one-man crew, the percentage of direct costs represented by wages
dropped to 56%, and the percentage represented by fuel increased to 40%.

Effects of Steel Flexible Tracks on Forwarder Peak Load Distribution: Results from a Prototype Load Test Platform

volume: 40, issue: 1

Steel flexible tracks (SFT) are regularly installed on bogie axles of forwarders to improve traction
and extend trafficability by increasing the contact area between machines and operating surface.
The study quantified dynamic peak loads exerted by a forwarder driving either on wheels or
using additional SFT on its rear bogie axle. To examine load distribution of a full-scale forwarder,
a load test platform was designed and constructed. Three scenarios were tested with the
forwarder unloaded and loaded to quantify load distribution between wheels driven directly over
the steel load test platform (Scenario 1) and SFT when either driven directly over the steel load
test platform (Scenario 2) or when driven over a 20 cm layer of sand placed over the platform
(Scenario 3). The platform proved to be an appropriate measuring device for full-scale tests.
Results indicate that, when operated on the sand layer, SFT (installed on the forwarder’s rear
unloaded axle) decreased dynamic peak loads by about 30% compared to wheels. The use of SFT
on bogie axles of forest machines is recommended to lower soil disturbances, especially through
a reduction of peak loads often responsible for negatively altering soil physical properties.

Development of a Sensorized Timber Processor Head Prototype – Part 1: Sensors Description and Hardware Integration

volume: 40, issue: 1

Forest operations are in constant development to provide increasingly higher standards of
economic and environmental sustainability. The latest innovation trends are concentrated in
the generation, storage and management of data related to the harvesting process, timber
products and logistics operations. Current technologies provide productivity and position, but
only physical parameters are made available for timber products. The possibility of providing
a comprehensive quality evaluation of roundwood early in the supply chain and linking the
information to each log provides a new tool for optimization of the whole forest-timber supply
chain. Current in-field methods for grading logs are based on visual rating scales, which are
subjective, operator-dependent and time-consuming. As an alternative, a sensorized processor
head was developed, featuring the following sensors: near infrared (NIR) spectrometer and
hyperspectral cameras to identify surface defects, stress wave and time of flight sensors to
estimate timber density, hydraulic flow sensor to estimate cross-cutting resistance and delimbing
sensors to estimate branches number and approximate position. The prototype also deployed
an RFID UHF system, which allowed the identification of the incoming tree and individually
marked each log, relating the quality parameters recorded to the physical item and
tracing it along the supply chain. The tested sensors were installed and designed to be independent,
nevertheless, their integrated use provides a comprehensive evaluation of timber
quality. This paper presents the technical solutions adopted, the main hindrances found and
some preliminary results of the operative prototype as tested in laboratory and in forest operational

A Plackett-Burman Design to Optimize Wood Chipper Settings

volume: 40, issue: 1

The wood-chipping process is affected by several factors, notably chipper settings and wood
characteristics. It is often difficult to test all of these factors in a full factorial experimental
plan, due to the large number of trials required. On the other hand, a screening design of the
experiment makes it possible to manage a large number of variables in a small number of trials.
Hence, this approach is used to test six factors, in order to optimize the productivity and
chip quality of a drum wood-chipper. These factors are: feeding speed, screen size, PTO-speed,
wood species, wood moisture content, and wood diameter. Productivity was significantly affected
by screen size, while chip quality was related to feeding speed, screen size, PTO-speed,
and wood species. The results suggest that the optimal configuration can be achieved by adjusting
feeding speed, the PTO-speed, and the wood species, as these settings maximize chip
quality. Screen size requires further analysis, as larger sizes increase productivity but reduce
quality, while the opposite is true for smaller sizes. Thus, the optimal screen size requires a
consideration of costs and benefits that may change according to the retail price of premium
and regular wood chips, and production costs.

What Do We Observe When We Equip a Forestry Crane with Motion Sensors?

volume: 40, issue:

Forestry machines have the power to efficiently move very heavy loads, but they are not very smart at communicating information, especially information regarding motion. Understanding how a system produces motion is one of the main stepping stones towards the world of automation. However, to acquire motion data requires sensor hardware that is not largely available in forestry machines today. As a result, at the moment there is no motion data analysis for forestry machines. Therefore, the objective of this article is to present this data, and discuss how we can use such data in regards to technology development. To this end, we have equipped a commercial forestry machine with state-of-the-art sensors and a data acquisition unit. Our aim is to understand what possibilities exist for automation, when we analyze how machine operators control forestry cranes. Among our objectives is to show how motion data can: a) give a better comprehension of the way forestry operators control cranes, b) be useful to analyze crane motion patterns, and c) show additional information that can be estimated via mathematical algorithms. The topics we cover only touch the surface of future applications, where sensor data analysis will be able to team up with other technologies to improve operator’s work, including automation, decision making, motion optimization, and operators’ training, just to mention some.

Simulation Modeling of Truck Load of Skidding Tractors with a Grapple for Chokerless Skidding

volume: 40, issue:

The objective of the present study is to define mass distribution laws for a bundle of trees using the methods of statistical simulation modeling in order to calculate chokerless skidding tractors lift capacity. For that purpose a statistical simulation model has been developed to generate forest taxation data necessary for complete filling of skidding tractor grapple. The following samples have been obtained from the regions of the European North of Russia based on the model: masses of bundles of trees that can be placed in grapple and values of vertical component of normal load applied to skidding tractor grapple. Minimum values for masses of bundles may vary in the range of 40–87% from the average value. Maximum values may vary in the range of 8–55% from the average value. The difference between the maximum and minimum masses of bundle values increased with increasing the capacity grapple and decreased with increasing the distance from the butt to grapple. We have determined the dependence of bundle mass variation and values of vertical component of normal load applied to skidding tractor grapple on capacity grapple for the regions of the European North of Russia. The studies have allowed determining recommended values for chokerless skidding tractors lift capacity. The analysis of specifications of various models of skidding tractors has shown that clambunk skidders have deficient marginal lift capacity.

Influence of Cutting Attachment on Noise Level Emitted by Brush Cutter during Tending of Young Forests

volume: 41, issue: 1

A brush cutter is the most frequently used equipment for tending young forests. When cutting unwanted vegetation, the operator is exposed to various harmful factors, such as: a forced body position, noise, vibrations and exhaust emissions. In this study, the impact of cutting attachment type on the noise level during tending of young pine stands was examined. The attachments used during the tests included: a wire head and cutting blades with 2, 3 and 24 cutting teeth. The research was carried out on 2–3 year old Scots pine plantations covered with three types of vegetation: herbaceous, mixed and woody. It was proven that the the wire head was the device that generated the highest level of noise. In the case of cutting blades, the number of cutting teeth was the important factor. The greater the number of teeth in the cutting blades, the lower the noise level the device produced. There was no significant influence of vegetation type on noise emission level. Based on the results, in order to minimize operators’ exposure to noise, the use of wire cutting attachment should be limited.

An Evaluation of the Performance of Chainsaw Lubricants

volume: 41, issue:

Chainsaws require lubrication of the guide bar and saw chain to function properly. Many oils are commercially available to provide this lubrication. Economical and more recently environmental concerns are increasingly compelling consideration of the best type of oil to use. Several published scientific studies provide some guidance, but additional information is needed for operators to make informed and effective choices in lubricating oil selection. The work presented in this paper contributes to providing this guidance by comparing the performance of economy and premium versions of three commonly-used types of lubricating oils: petroleum-based bar-and-chain oil, biodegradable bar-and-chain oil, and petroleum-based motor oil. Testing was conducted on a laboratory chainsaw test apparatus used in prior published scientific studies of chainsaw performance. Testing consisted of free running (i.e. chain traveling about the bar at cutting speed but not cutting) for a prescribed time period, while lubricating oil was applied to the guide bar and saw chain in the usual manner and at typical flow rates. Based on the correlations between wear, friction, and temperature, the mean guide bar temperature was used as the measure of performance of each oil. Results showed that, while each oil type performed adequately, the petroleum-based bar-and-chain oil performed best and the biodegradable-based oil performed worst with the petroleum-based motor oil providing intermediate performance. No consistent correlation was found between either the unit cost of each oil and its performance or the perceived quality of each oil (economy versus premium) of each oil and its performance. Tribological properties of flash point, viscosity, and four-ball wear were measured. A weak correlation was found between flash point values and performance. A possible Stribeck relationship was found for viscosity implying a possible transition from mixed and hydrodynamic lubrication. No correlations were found between performance and four-ball wear test results. These results support chainsaw operator observations and other published scientific findings that a variety of oils can be effectively used as lubricants. The lack of correlation of performance with some commonly-measured tribological properties suggests lubricating-oil providers should consider the use of a dedicated saw chain testing apparatus in product development.

Battery Technology – Use in Forestry

volume: 42, issue:

Technical development and system optimization during the last decades have targeted more efficient, socially acceptable and ecologically sustainable ways to use forestry machines and tools. This is supported by the development of electronics and electrical components, as well as battery technology, without which it is impossible to imagine doing some forestry work in forest areas with no permanent source of electricity. Today, we cannot imagine life without e.g. a cell phone, and also doing business in the forestry sector without a field computer. There are numerous examples in everyday life, but also in industry, where portable devices make life and business much easier, and the basis for the operation of these devices is battery technology. The importance of the development of battery technology is proven by the fact that in 2019 the Nobel Prize in Chemistry went into the hands of scientists who developed a lithium-ion battery - a lightweight, rechargeable and powerful battery that is used today in numerous products from mobile phones to laptops and electric vehicles. This paper will outline the historical development of battery technology and the use of battery powered devices, tools and machines with their advantages and disadvantages in forestry sector.

Trends and Perspectives in the Design of Mobile Wood Chippers

volume: 42, issue:

Mobile wood chippers represent a mature technology now available in a wide range of sizes and configurations. Different types exist, but the most widespread are disc and drum chippers. The latter have enjoyed wider popularity in recent years because they are best suited to processing logging residue and other low-quality wood. Drum chippers can be fitted with screens, designed to re-circulate oversize particles. In general, industrial chippers offer high productivity and high fuel efficiency, especially if settings are properly adjusted. Chippers are high-maintenance equipment and require proper care. Maintenance cost increases with machine age and can be predicted quite accurately, and so can chipping productivity and cost. Reliable models exist for estimating both maintenance cost and productivity, based on dedicated user-entered assumptions. All things being equal, there are no substantial productivity and maintenance differences between tractor-powered and independent-engine chippers.

Automation and Robotics in Forest Harvesting Operations: Identifying Near-Term Opportunities

volume: 42, issue:

Technology development, in terms of both capability and cost-effective integration, is moving at a fast pace. While advanced robotic systems are already commonplace in controlled workspaces such as factories, the use of remote controlled or autonomous machines in more complex environments, such as for forest operations, is in its infancy. There is little doubt autonomous machinery will play an important role in forest operations in the future. Many machine functions already have the support of automation, and the implementation of remote control of the machine where an operator can operate a piece of equipment, typically in clear line-of sight, at least is commonly available. Teleoperation is where the operator works from a virtual environment with live video and audio feedback from the machine. Since teleoperation provides a similar operator experience to working in the machine, it is relatively easy for an operator to use teleoperation. Autonomous systems are defined by being able to perform certain functions without direct control of a human operator. This paper presents opportunities for remote control, teleoperated machines in forest operations and presents examples of existing developments and ideas from both forestry and other industries. It identified the extraction phase of harvesting as the most logical placement of autonomous machines in the near-term. The authors recognise that, as with all emerging technologies and sectors, there is ample scope for differences in opinions as to what will be commercially successful in the future.

Evaluation of an HSM 208F 14tone HVT-R2 Forwarder Prototype under Conditions of Steep-Terrain Low-Access Forests

volume: 42, issue:

Forwarding technology is well established in use around the world but, at the same time, forwarders are expensive machines that require a good planning to ensure the sustainability of operations. In addition, forwarder market is characterized by a limited pool of customers, therefore innovation attempts may be limited compared to other product development industries. Since the steps towards a full automation of operations are still at their beginning, improvements of forwarder machines may rest in developing and integrating components that could contribute to an increased effectiveness. To respond to such challenges, the Forwarder2020 project developed innovative components that were integrated in a number of forwarder prototypes based on a market pull approach that resulted in a flexible adaptation to customer requirements and work environments. Since one of the typical work environments was that of low access forests, some components (i.e. suspended cabin and transmission system) were engineered to enable faster and safer operations and to economize fuel. As a common validation step is that of bringing field evidence on the performance improvement, this study evaluated the operational speed, productivity and fuel consumption of a forwarder prototype in conditions of a steep-terrain low-access forest. The main findings were very promising as the prototype was able to operate at significantly increased speeds and the fuel savings were evident. For an average forwarding distance of about 1.5 km, net productivity and efficiency rates were estimated at 14.4 m3/h and 0.07 h/m3, respectively. They were related to the availability of wood, and further improvement of such figures is possible by a better organization of tree felling and processing. Operational speed was affected by the condition of skid roads used for forwarding, which were harsh. During the transportation tasks developed on roads typical for forwarding, the machine was able to sustain average speeds estimated at 8 km/h. As a matter of fact, in such tasks, the dominant operational speed (almost in 100% of the cases) was higher than 5 km/h irrespective of the road condition. Hourly fuel consumption was estimated based on the time in which the engine was working and it amounted to 17.1 l/h. More importantly, by considering the forwarded payload in terms of volume and mass, the unit fuel consumption was estimated to be 1.25 l/m3 and 1.47 l/t, respectively. These results bring evidence on the performance improvement by modular innovation. In fact, such solutions could answer the challenges related to the sustainability of forest operations in low access forests.

Investigation of Structure of Technology Cycle Time of Hydraulic Manipulators in the Process of Loading Forwarders with Logs

volume: 42, issue:

In the practice of using cut-to-length technology, hydraulic manipulators are widely used. Understanding manipulator cycle is important for improving existing logging technologies and developing new machine designs. The paper analyzes structure of technological cycle and operating time of manipulator in the process of loading forwarder on skid trails. Twenty-one loading processes were investigated. In the structure of technological cycle, the following elements were considered: empty movements, loaded movements, movements of manipulator links when performing operations inside load space of forwarder and special techniques such as re-grabbing logs and pulling of an incompletely closed log grip through the logs when the ends of the grabbed logs tilt and abut against the ground used during loading movement. Statistical processing of data showed that median values of samples consisting of time intervals of empty movements are in trange from 3.8 to 6 seconds, the median of samples of loaded movements is 6–16 seconds and median of samples of a pair of movements 5–9 seconds. With a 95% degree of probability, under the studied production conditions, the time of one loaded movement falls within the range of 4–14 seconds; one empty movement – in the range of 3–7 seconds. Total time of empty movements takes a share from 20 to 45% of the total loading time (on average 30%), the total time of loading movements is from 51 to 72% (on average 63%), the time of operations inside the load space is from 0 to 18% (on average 7%). Time of loaded movements, including use of special techniques, is from 13% to 64% of total time of loaded movements (or 10–53% of total number of loaded movements). The time, consisting of a pair of movements: empty and loaded, is somewhat influenced by forwarder size. Duration of one loaded movement is significantly affected by use of special techniques by the operator. Number and duration of loaded movements with these techniques is significantly influenced by: average size of loaded assortments and number of assortments carried in the grapple during one loaded movement. No significant influence of average size of assortments, number of assortments in grapple and size of the machine on empty movements was found. However, some influence on empty movements of number of loaded movements performed from one forwarder parking lot was observed. Duration and frequency of operations within the load space are weakly correlated with the size of assortments and forwarder size.


Web of Science Impact factor (2020): 2.088
Five-years impact factor: 2.077

Quartile: Q2 - Forestry

Subject area

Agricultural and Biological Sciences