Quick Coupler ready for the forest
THE LATEST INNOVATION FROM THE Steepland Harvesting research programme is almost ready to hit the forest.
Keith Raymond, who has led the Forest Growers Research Steepland Harvesting project for the past five years, says work on the Quick Coupler being developed by Doherty Engineered Attachments in the Bay of Plenty is complete.
With funding made available through the government’s Primary Growth Partnership programme, the Quick Coupler is a device that fits onto a boom that enables switching between a grapple processing head and a log loading grapple in around ten seconds, without the operator needing to leave the cab.
Mr Raymond says this will save contractors requiring two machines, as one tracked base can do both tasks. It will also save time when switching between roles.
Similar systems have been developed overseas, but these are not suitable for the equipment used in New Zealand, leading to the local project. The first unit has already been completed and is awaiting commissioning with a FOMS crews in Wanganui in the New Year.
Mr Raymond says the Quick Coupler is ideal for crews producing up to 220 tonnes per day and he expects savings of around $2.86 per cubic metre, with a possible payback on investment in just four months.
Collectively, the innovations overseen by the FGR Steepland Harvesting programme have added up to more than $151 million for the forestry industry, with operational savings of $71 million and sales of new equipment creating in excess of $80 million of business, mostly in overseas exports of winch-assist systems.