In this second issue of November, Logging-on brings valuable hydraulic system maintenance tips from Case. We examine a new free-for-download book that provides advice for small entrepreneurs considering starting a new business. We look at MAN’s HydroDrive as an option for increased log truck traction on difficult road conditions. Cat has released their new versatile 320F mid-sized tracked excavator for road construction activities. Finally, we look at research which examined whether RFID tags placed on standing trees would remain attached during felling, extraction and transport to the market.

Now to the newsletter!

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Improving the maintenance of your hydraulic systems

Case provides advice on best management practices for hydraulic system maintenance.

Modern logging and construction machines make use of complex hydraulic systems. Walking around the machine and checking for oil leaks is insufficient to ensure that the hydraulic system performs trouble free for as many hours as possible. Some operators try to reduce costs by purchasing the cheapest hydraulic oil on the market, which can have a huge negative effect on the longevity of many expensive components – halving their life in some cases. In this issue of Logging-on, we examine the information on hydraulic oil, which covers manufacturer recommendations, additives and storage and handling.

  • Manufacturer’s recommendations: The hydraulic oil listed in the operator’s manual should be used and will ensure that the system and its components are performing in the way they were designed. It is important to note that different regions need different types of oil. This is often related to temperature differences, so the manuals usually specify different oils for cold and hot weather conditions.
  • Additives: Different varieties of hydraulic oils have different viscosity and additive packages. The additive package that goes into a specific oil is designed to deal with specific types of hydraulic systems. Case gives an example that an excavator running at 5,000 psi pressure has different characteristics and requirements than a machine running at 2,500 psi. These characteristics include shear stability (its resistance to a reduction in viscosity under mechanical stress), temperature and water resistance characteristics, and others. The specific needs of the hydraulic system determine the type of additives required.
  • Storage and handling: Oil quality also relies on good storage conditions. The oil should be kept in a sealed container in a dry area. Exposed oil deteriorates in quality due to dust, particulate and moisture. Even humidity in the air can have adverse effects on hydraulic oil over time. The result of moisture is not immediate, but over time the moisture can react with the different elements in the additive package and cause rust to form on spools, valves and other precision components of the system, which will cause poor performance and unnecessary wear in the long term.

Source:  http://casece.com/en_us/News/Pages/A-Primer-in-Hydraulic-Systems-Maintenance.aspx




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MAN’s HydroDrive is well suited for timber hauling applications

The engageable front-axle drive gives more traction but not at the price of excessive additional weight.

MAN indicates that the HydroDrive has lower fuel consumption and higher payloads than conventional all-wheel-drive vehicles. The HydroDrive is ideal for situations in which extra traction is briefly needed on the front axle, such as when entering and leaving construction sites and dirt roads, on slopes, unsurfaced forest tracks and earth roads, on gradients and slippery surfaces. It is available on the TGS and TGX range with two, three and four four-axles. The HydroDrive does not impose any restrictions in bodywork height, manoeuvrability, choice of cab or axles.

The HydroDrive is engaged through the rotary switch for the differential lock, and can be activated while driving under load. It automatically cuts out from speeds of about 30 km/hr (19 mi/hr) upwards and if the speed drops below 22 km/hr (14 mi/hr) it automatically cuts in again. A display on the driver dash indicates to the driver that the front-axle drive is activated. When driving downhill with the HydroDrive engaged, the sustained-action brake also acts on the front axle, stabilising the vehicle.

The HydroDrive hydraulic pump is seated on the gearbox output shaft to feed the wheel hub motors on the front axle. The technology is rugged and comparable to conventional rear-wheel drive. Some of the advantages over conventional all-wheel drive include a weight-saving of 400 kg (880 lb), the transfer case is done away with, only the rear wheels are driven on-road and the hydraulic pump and wheel motors produce no friction. With all-wheel drive, the transmission elements keep turning even when the front-axle drive is disengaged. Source:  http://www.truck.man.eu




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Business management practice guidelines for small to medium firms.

A free-for-download book is available to provide the information needed to start a small forest products company.

The book is titled “Business Management Practices for Small to Medium Sized Forest Products Firms”, and was compiled by Omar Espinoza of the University of Minnesota and Robert Smith of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. The purpose of this book is to provide an easy to guide for business management in the forest products industry. The book will also provide invaluable information to small business entrepreneurs in the logging industry. It is divided into the following chapters:

  • Chapter 1: Provides a brief introduction to the U.S. forest products industry, including its importance and its major markets and products.
  • Chapter 2: Introduces business management and the business planning process. The remainder of the book is organised into the business planning process
  • Chapter 3: Introduces the most important components of strategic planning, from formulating the mission and vision of the enterprise to strategy implementation and evaluation.
  • Chapter 4: Discusses human resource management in detail, from recruitment and selection to compensation strategies.
  • Chapter 5: Describes the process of marketing management, including the fundamental four P’s (product, price, promotion and placement), methods to conduct market research and strategies for customisation and niche marketing. The chapter also includes an introduction to online marketing strategies, including the use of social media.
  • Chapter 6: Discusses operations management, including product development, manufacturing strategy, operations planning, inventory management, quality and process control and maintenance.
  • Chapter 7: Provides a detailed description of the financial management process, starting with financial planning. This chapter also provides a guide to financial statements and ratios and how to use them to measure and improve business performance.
  • Chapter8: Describes the process of preparing a business plan and lists useful resources to aid the writing of such a document.

Source:  http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/ANR/ANR-160/ANR-160-PDF.pdf




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New mid-sized Cat 320F tracked excavator

Weighing just 22.7 tons, the excavator is ideally suited to jobs requiring regular machine movement.

The 320F features the C4.4 ACERT Tier 4 Final engine with a 161 horsepower (120 kW) rating. It consumes up to 8.5% less fuel than the 320E in standard mode, while producing the same lifting and digging capability. Auxiliary hydraulic circuits are available to support a variety of tools like hammers, grapples, and thumbs. The cab is spacious for larger operators and features fully adjustable seat and armrests, and an automatic climate control system for hot and cold weather.

Most maintenance points can be reached from ground level. Wide service doors provide access to filters, pressure taps, and ports that are grouped together for easier servicing. The 320F has modified X-frame structures for increased machine life. Booms and sticks are robotically welded for maximum strength, and greased track links between the pins and bushings increase undercarriage life and reduce sound when the machine travels.

A handrail helps the operator or maintenance technician to the top of the machine, and anti-skid plating and countersunk bolts reduce the risk of slipping and tripping. The 320F comes with a full-length firewall to separate the pump and engine compartments. A wide variety of Cat attachments allow the excavator to be used for different functions and across industries. The Cat Pin Grabber Coupler allows for quick changing of attachments. Several different bucket styles are available, as well as attachments such as a thumb, compactor, grapple, shear, pulveriser or hammer. Source:  http://www.cat.com/en_US/news/machine-press-releases/new-cat-320f-is-builtforyourbusinessneeds.html




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Will RFID tags remain on logs during handling and storage?

Using RFID tags on logs greatly improves the efficiency of their traceability – but will they remain on the logs in the harsh logging environment?

The logging industry has been considering various ways to improve the traceability of logs - especially for high value logs or to ensure that logs do not originate from illegally logged forests. RFID tags have shown to be a success in tracing higher value logs tagged at landings and transported to mills, but researchers wanted to determine whether tags applied to standing trees would be able to withstand harsh whole-tree extraction systems and still retain their information. Standing trees were tagged on various positions on the stem with various tag models. Practitioners are concerned that tags may be damaged or removed from the tree during whole-tree extraction operations. The researchers compared two tag models and two fixing locations on the stem in three commercial hauling and one transport operation in mountain conditions. The results shows that of the 239 tags attached, just 5 were lost, proving a good indication that the RFID tags could be applied with success.

The research was published in the Croatian Journal of Forest Engineering, Vol. 36(2), 2015. The article was titled “Survival Test of RFID UHF Tags in Timber Harvesting Operations”. The authors were G Picchi, M Kühmaier and J de Dios Diaz Marques. Source:  http://www.crojfe.com/articles-915#923




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Newsflash – What’s happening in Forest Engineering?

New Komatsu Forest partner for service and sales in Switzerland

Komatsu Forest will provide service and sales in Switzerland again after the merge of Mahler AG and Robert Aebi Landtechnik AG. Komatsu Forest's new partner in Switzerland is INTRASS AG, with their headquarters in Rottenschwil. The owner, Mark Intrass, has experience with Komatsu Forest products and is now responsible for sales and service of new and used Komatsu forest machines in Switzerland. Source: http://www.komatsuforest.com/default.aspx?id=1848&newsid=143550

Ponsse wins the international Swedish Steel Prize for 2015

The prize was awarded for the new Scorpion harvester, which utilises the properties of high-strength steel. High-strength steel has the benefits of reduced total weight, which in combination with low ground surface pressures, makes the Scorpion more environmentally friendly, especially in soft terrain. Source: http://www.ponsse.com/media-archive/news/ponsse-wins-swedish-steel-prize-2015   

Volvo Construction Equipment presents global market contraction figures

The year-to-date information shows the European market is being down by 7%, mainly due to a drop by Russia and a slowdown in France. Excluding Russia, the European market is up by 3%. North America showed growth of 4%, but this shows signs of slowing. The 36% decrease in South America is caused by Brazil which is being affected by slow economic development and low overall business confidence. The Chinese market has continued to decline sharply, falling 50% in the year-to-date. Source: http://www.volvoce.com/




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Recent research publications

"Effects of sieve size and assortment on wood fuel quality during chipping operations”

Occurring in the International Journal of Forest Engineering, Vol. 26(2), 2015. The authors were K Kons, D Bergström and F Di Fulvio. Source: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14942119.2015.1069173#abstract  

"Plantation forestry and dairy farming land-use impacts on potential wear of rural roads"

Occurring in the International Journal of Forest Engineering, Vol. 26(2), 2015. The authors were G Murphy and L Williams. Source: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14942119.2015.1069171

"Stand, stem and log segregation based on wood properties: a review”

Occurring in the Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research, Vol. 30(8), 2015. The authors were G Murphy and D Cown. Source:  http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02827581.2015.1055791

"Strategic decision model for the evaluation of timber harvesting systems"

Occurring in the International Journal of Forest Engineering, Vol. 26(2), 2015. The authors were V Dimou and Z Malivitsi. Source: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14942119.2015.1083750

"Forest road quality control using ALS data"

Occurring in the Canadian Journal of Forest Research, Vol. 45(11), 2015. The authors were K Kiss, J Malinen and T Tokola. Source: http://www.nrcresearchpress.com/doi/abs/10.1139/cjfr-2015-0067#.VkIlzCPovIU




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Conferences and Exhibitions

To see the full list of conferences and exhibitions, please click on "Conferences and Exhibitions" in the menu at the top of the page.





Andrew McEwan & Michal Brink




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