Waratah wins prestigious National Safeguard Award
WARATAH NEW Zealand, a leading manufacturer of mechanical tree harvesters based in Tokoroa, has been awarded the “3M Best use of innovative New Zealand design or technology to eliminate or manage a risk” award at the recent Safeguard New Zealand Workplace Health and Safety Awards for its head orientation sensor. The award was given to the New Zealand-originated design or technology initiative which best demonstrates a solution to a specific health and safety issue, including new designs or control methods which help to eliminate or minimize a risk.
Chain shot is a phenomena that can be caused when a saw chain breaks during operation, potentially releasing high speed fragments during the operation of a cutting head on a mechanical tree harvester machine.
There are currently effective features already fitted to mechanical tree harvesters to reduce the risk of chain shot. The Waratah head orientation sensor is a conceptual supplementary system designed to alert the machine operator when the chain saw is aligned with the machine cab. The operator can then rotate the saw to a different orientation to reduce the risk of chain shot impacting the machine. Waratah approached New Zealand company Hunter Safety Lab to see if they could adapt their awardwinning IRIS technology for potential use with mechanical tree harvester heads. IRIS was originally developed to help prevent hunters from accidentally targeting other members of their hunting party. The head orientation sensor consists of a highly ruggedized infrared laser sensor which is mounted to the harvester head. The sensor detects retroreflective tape which is applied around the perimeter of the cab window, directly in front of the machine operator. When the sensor detects that the saw is aligned with the cab, the system then alerts the machine operator that the head position is not optimal and that it should be adjusted away from the cab.
The Waratah Orientation sensor product is still under evaluation and further verification on all carrier types.