Evaluation of the economic impacts of length and diameter measurement error on mechanical harvesters and processors operating in pine stands

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Date: July 2006
From: Canadian Journal of Forest Research(Vol. 36, Issue 7)
Publisher: NRC Research Press
Document Type: Article
Length: 6,788 words
Lexile Measure: 1570L

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Abstract: Value recovery studies from around the world have shown that on average mechanical log-making systems lose 18% of the potential value compared to 11% for motor manual systems. One of the potential reasons for their poor value recovery performance is the level of accuracy of their stem diameter and length measurements. Numerous studies have looked at the level of error in both the diameter and length measurements made by mechanical harvesters and processors; however, few have looked at the economic impacts of these errors. The paper investigates the economic impacts in terms of value loss of six different harvesting operations in three different pine species. The accuracy and precision of the measurements recorded in this study were similar to those of other studies from around the world. A simulation model was developed to estimate the value loss caused by these errors. The results of the simulation model showed that the operations were losing between 3% and 23% of the potential value because of measurement errors. Further analysis showed that the industry should concentrate on increasing the precision of the length and diameter measurements to optimize gains from reducing the measurement error rates.

Resume : Des etudes de recuperation de valeur lors du tronconnage, menees a differents endroits dans le monde, ont montre que les procedes de recolte mecanises entrainent en moyenne une perte de 18 % de la valeur potentielle comparativement a 11 % pour les procedes motomanuels. Une des raisons potentielles pour expliquer cette faible performance est liee au degre de precision des mesures de diametre et de longueur des tiges. Plusieurs etudes ont porte sur l'estimation du degre de precision des mesures de diametre et de longueur des abatteuses-faconneuses; cependant, peu d'entre elles en ont evalue les impacts economiques. Cet article examine les impacts economiques en termes de perte de valeur associes a six operations de recolte differentes et ce, pour trois especes de pins differentes. La precision et l'exactitude des mesures enregistrees dans cette etude sont similaires a celles d'autres etudes a travers le monde. Un modele de simulation a ete developpe afin d'estimer la perte de valeur occasionnee par ces erreurs. Les resultats du modele de simulation indiquent que les operations de tronconnage ont entraine la perte de 3 a 23 % de la valeur potentielle a cause des erreurs de mesure. Des analyses plus approfondies montrent que l'industrie devrait se concentrer sur l'augmentation de la precision des mesures de diametre et de longueur pour profiter au maximum de la reduction des erreurs de mesure.

[Traduit par la Redaction]

Introduction

There is a worldwide trend toward mechanization and computerization in the forestry industry. The drivers for this trend include productivity and cost improvements (Anonymous 1997) and labor-related issues, for example, improving worker safety (Axelsson 1998) and addressing growing labor costs.

Modern harvesters and processors are commonly equipped with merchandising computers that are connected to length and diameter sensors, which provide a continuous stream of stem dimensional data to the computer to assist the operator in...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A149615510