Have we seen the end of pro­duc­tiv­ity im­prove­ment with mech­a­nised har­vest­ing?

Australian Forests and Timber - - PRODUCTIVITY -

RE­SEARCHERS BE­LIEVE that the next wave of pro­duc­tiv­ity im­prove­ment will come from hu­man fac­tors.

There has been re­cent con­cern that the con­tin­u­ous im­prove­ment of for­est har­vest­ing has stag­nated or pos­si­bly de­creased in the Nordic coun­tries.

A mod­ern prob­lem is not the lack of knowl­edge, but the in­abil­ity to put the knowl­edge into prac­tice. Through a lit­er­a­ture re­view, re­searchers ex­am­ined whether hu­man fac­tors can im­prove the per­for­mance of har­vest­ing sys­tems by sim­u­lat­ing con­tin­ued per­for­mance im­prove­ments.

Re­searchers fo­cussed on mech­a­nized cut-tolength (CTL) op­er­a­tions, with spe­cific ref­er­ence to the op­er­a­tion of the sin­gle grip har­vester and the har­vester-for­warder sys­tem. The re­searchers cre­ated a con­cep­tual frame­work to al­low the anal­y­sis of hu­man, tech­nol­ogy, or­ga­ni­za­tion and en­vi­ron­men­tal in­ter­re­lated el­e­ments. The re­searchers dis­cov­ered that the cor­rect abil­i­ties, skills, tech­niques and train­ing alone are not suf­fi­cient to en­sure the high per­for­mance of a log­ging sys­tem.

It was dis­cov­ered that ed­u­ca­tion, train­ing, semi-au­to­ma­tion, shift sched­ul­ing, har­vester­for­warder co­op­er­a­tion and in­ter- and in­traor­ga­ni­za­tional knowl­edge ex­change were all very im­por­tant in or­der to ob­tain im­prove­ment and de­vel­op­ment.

Au­to­ma­tion specif­i­cally will in­tro­duce a sys­tem change that will have a sim­i­lar ef­fect on the forestry in­dus­try as that change which oc­curred when mech­a­ni­sa­tion was in­tro­duced into log­ging. Semi-au­to­mated so­lu­tions and in­creased de­ci­sion sup­port will pre-empt the move to au­to­ma­tion, which is al­ready a stated goal for coun­tries such as Swe­den. In or­der to gain pro­duc­tiv­ity ben­e­fits, re­search is re­quired into meth­ods, in­ter­faces, forms of in­ter­ac­tion, risk analy­ses and au­to­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy.

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