A comparative study of mechanized cable harvesting systems in New Zealand
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameBachelor of Forestry Science
Productivity and safety concerns of traditional cable harvesting systems have been the key drivers for increasing levels of mechanisation in New Zealand. The use of grapples in cable yarding could eliminate the need for motor-manual tree fallers and breaker-outs in most situations. A comparative time study was carried out on two mechanised cable harvesting systems utilising grapple carriages in an attempt to better understand the benefits and limitations of each system in different harvest settings. These systems include the Mechanical system which involved a swing yarder operating a mechanical grapple carriage and the Motorised system, which used a tower yarder with a motorised grapple carriage. The Mechanical system took less time to accumulate felled trees but took longer to unhook trees on the landing than the Motorised system. The Mechanical system had a shorter cycle time (2.07 minutes) than the Motorised system (2.32 minutes) and extracted 1.3 tonnes more than the Motorised system per cycle. The Motorised system had shorter cycle times when in horizontal haul distances of less than 90 metres, but had the longest times when the distance exceeded this. Utilisation rates were similar between the two systems, although the main difference in delays between the two systems was the use of surgepiles on the landing by the Motorised system. Both systems were effective, although on average the Mechanical system was more productive, with a productivity of 45 t/SMH, compared to 40 t/SMH for the Motorised system. The Mechanical system was the most productive when extracting mechanically felled and pre-bunched or trees while the Motorised system was the most productive when extracting motor-manually felled trees. Pre-bunching with an excavator was a more cost effective method than handing stems directly to the grapple carriage. Further research of the Mechanical system under more adverse conditions would allow a better overall comparison.