volume: 38, issue: 2
volume: 39, issue: 2
The forest industry around the world is facing common challenges in accessing wood fiber on
steep terrain. Fully mechanized harvesting systems based on specialized machines, such as
winch-assist forwarders, have been specifically developed for improving the harvesting performances
in steep grounds. While the mechanization process is recognized as a safety benefit,
the use of cables for supporting the machine traction needs a proper investigation. Only a few
studies have analyzed the cable tensile forces of winch-assist forwarders during real operations,
and none of them focused on large machines normally used in North America. Consequently,
a preliminary study focused on tensile force analysis of large winch-assist forwarders was
conducted in three sites in the interior of British Columbia during the fall of 2017.
The results report that in 86% of the cycles, the maximum working load of the cable was less
than one-third of the minimum breaking load. The tensile force analysis showed an expected
pattern of minimum tensile forces while the forwarders were traveling or unloading on the
road site and high tensile forces when operating on steep trails, loading or traveling. Further
analysis found that the maximum cycle tensile forces occurred most frequently when the
machines were moving uphill, independently of whether they were empty or loaded. While the
forwarders were operating on the trails, slope, travel direction, and distance of the machines
from the anchor resulted statistically significant and able to account for 49% of tensile force
variability. However, in the same conditions, the operator settings accounted for 77% of the
tensile force variability, suggesting the human factor as the main variable in cable tensile force
behavior during winch-assist operations.
volume: 42, issue:
Skyline tensile forces have been shown to frequently exceed the recommended safety limits during ordinary cable logging operations. Several models for skyline engineering analyses have been proposed. Although skyline tensile forces assume a dynamic behaviour, practical solutions are based on a static approach without consideration of the dynamic nature of the cable systems.
The aim of this study was to compare field data of skyline tensile forces with the static calculations derived by dedicated available software such as SkylineXL. To overcome the limitation of static calculation, this work also aimed to simulate the actual response of the tensile fluctuations measured in the real environment by mean of a finite element model (FEM).
Field observations of skyline tensile forces included 103 work cycles, recorded over four different cable lines in standing skyline configuration. Payload estimations, carriages positions, and time study of the logging operations were also collected in the field. The ground profiles and the cable line geometries were analysed using digital elevation models. The field data were then used to simulate the work cycles in SkylineXL. The dynamic response of six fully-suspended loads in a single-span cable line was also simulated by a dedicated FEM built through ANSYS®. The observed data and the software calculations were then compared.
SkylineXL resulted particularly reliable in the prediction of the actual tensile forces, with RMSE ranging between 7.5 and 13.5 KN, linked to an average CV(RMSE) of 7.24%. The reliability in predicting the peak tensile forces was lower, reporting CV(RMSE) of 10.12%, but still not likely resulting in a safety or performance problem. If properly set-up and used, thus, SkylineXL could be considered appropriate for operational and practical purposes. This work, however, showed that finite element models could be successfully used for detailed analysis and simulation of the skyline tensile forces, including the dynamic oscillations due to the motion of the carriage and payload along the cable line. Further developments of this technique could also lead to the physical simulation and analysis of the log-to-ground interaction and the investigation of the breakout force during lateral skidding.