New Zealand Logger - - Contents -

Get­ting wood onto the land­ing or skid site is just half the bat­tle – trans­port­ing logs to the mill or port in a timely man­ner is equally im­por­tant. This year’s Wood­flow con­fer­ence saw var­i­ous ideas and new tech­nolo­gies sounded out.

IN­TRO­DUC­ING MORE RO­BOT­ICS INTO har­vest­ing op­er­a­tions will ease labour short­ages, the Wood­flow 2018 con­fer­ence was told last month.

Keith Ray­mond, Har­vest­ing Pro­gramme Leader with For­est Grow­ers Re­search (FGR), says the lack of young peo­ple com­ing into the in­dus­try is al­ready lim­it­ing wood flow from our forests.

And the sit­u­a­tion will con­tinue to worsen, with another thou­sand young log­gers re­quired by 2025 as the wood har­vest in New Zealand in­creases to 35 mil­lion cu­bic me­tres.

But it could be al­le­vi­ated by in­tro­duc­ing more au­to­mated equip­ment and sys­tems more quickly.

“I don’t know where we’re go­ing to get the hun­dreds of young­sters for our crews, so if we can have more au­to­mated ma­chines it will keep a lid on the num­bers we’ll need over the com­ing years,” says Mr Ray­mond.

FGR is close to re­ceiv­ing the green light for an am­bi­tious re­search pro­gramme that will speed up the in­tro­duc­tion of au­to­ma­tion by 2025.

It has ap­plied to the Min­istry of Pri­mary In­dus­tries for fund­ing un­der the Pri­mary Growth Part­ner­ship pro­gramme and Mr Ray­mond says it could be signed off within a mat­ter of weeks.

The new pro­gramme could see up to $30 mil­lion pumped into re­search on a range of new ma­chines and new ideas, with the aim of com­mer­cial­is­ing them by the mid­dle of the next decade. FGR has al­ready brought a num­ber of in­dus­try play­ers on board in readi­ness to kick-start the pro­gramme, in­clud­ing seven manufacturing part­ners, nine tech­nol­ogy de­vel­op­ment sup­port par­tic­i­pants, nine forestry com­pany con­sor­tiums and five har­vest­ing and log trans­port com­pa­nies.


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