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