An FPInnovations service that incorporates geopositioning technology is helping Canadian wood yard operators improve machine efficiency and realize significant savings.
“Wood yard operators do not typically have the tools to monitor the use of their machines, making it difficult to determine whether they have the right complement of machines, whether those machines are following the best routes in the yard, and whether they are working to optimal capacity,” says Catalin Ristea, Research Leader, Modelling and Decision Support. “We came up with a method to help answer those questions.”
The method involves equipping wood yard machines, including log loaders, stackers, wood chip loaders, and forklifts with GPS devices that track machine movements and collect data such as the amount of time the machines are in use or idle, and travel loaded and unloaded. FPInnovations analyzes the GPS data collected from yard machines over a period of time and combines them with on-site observations and yard audits to develop recommendations on how clients can reduce their operational costs. “We provide tailor-made recommendations for each case,” Ristea points out.
Depending on the client, recommendations might include opportunities to increase machine use and loaded travel time, where to reduce high idle times, whether the existing complement of machines is the best fit for a specific yard, and eliminating costly and unnecessary back-up machines.
FPInnovations has deployed the service in more than 10 wood yards, and in every application, has identified potential savings that range from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Yard operators, acting on the recommendations, are seeing results. Several clients have reported net savings of between $100,000 and $200,000 per year after implementing a number of FPInnovations’ recommendations.
To learn more, please contact Catalin Ristea, Research Leader of FPInnovations’ Modelisation and Decision Support group.
This article was originally published in the 2016-2017 IMPACT magazine.