FPInnovations conducted two trials in 2017 to compare productivity and soil disturbance of a Tigercat 635E skidder. The skidder was assisted by the Ecoforst T-Winch in one trial and it was unassisted in the other trial. The results showed that productivity is greater with winch-assistance; potential benefits were also found in fuel economy and extended machine life.
The T-Winch is a remotely operated tracked machine that provides traction assistance to harvesting machines through a single cable winch system. It can be controlled remotely through a handheld control box which allows tension adjustment and machine movement. More information and specifications can be found on the Ecoforst website.
Winch-assist technologies that enable conventional ground-based systems to harvest on steep slopes show potential for improving safety and increasing productivity compared to handfalling and cable yarding. Winch-assist systems have been used for many years in Europe, South America, and New Zealand. Many of these systems have recently been introduced for harvesting steep slopes in western Canada.
A technical report presenting detailed results and findings of the study will soon be available to all interested industry members.
For more information, please contact Vladimir Strimbu, researcher in FPInnovations’ Fibre Supply group.