The Edge

The Komatsu 398 harvesting and processing headTension study on winch-assist harvesting released to FPInnovations members

In 2015, FPInnovations and its Forest Operations Research group took a lead role in finding solutions to the challenges of steep slope fibre harvesting in western Canada, by launching the Steep-Slope Initiative (SSI). The initiative has engaged forest industry members, equipment manufacturers and distributors, regulators, and other stakeholders in identifying and developing best practices and new harvesting technologies for steep terrain.

A study to determine the effect of different harvesting practices on the tension of wire rope in winch-assisted operations was completed in December and the results are now available to FPInnovations members in the Info Note “Winch-Assist Tension with the Summit and EMS Systems”.

The study compared wire rope tensions at the feller buncher and at the anchor machine during production logging and using stump/tree redirects. Redirects using a block and stump were compared with the Summit system. Redirects with three rub trees were studied with the EMS system. Events that caused tension spikes during operational logging without redirects were monitored.

The study was conducted in collaboration with Weyerhaeuser, North Washington Timberlands, in two 35-year-old Douglas fir plantations. John Deere custom-built load cells were shackled to feller bunchers and the tension data was obtained from a data logger connected to the load cells, as well as from video of the tension display in the anchor machines. Practical recommendations for using redirects are provided.

The Info Note is available to members and partners of FPInnovations at ....

For more information concerning the Steep Slope Initiative, please visit

The Komatsu 398 harvesting and processing headMore than 400 academics, manufacturers, suppliers, building developers, general contractors and developers of government policy attended the recent Alberta Innovates-sponsored MOC Summit in Banff.

Data, information and automation featured at modular and offsite construction summit


Advances in modular and offsite construction technology are closely linked with evolving trends in several areas, including robotics, data management, autonomous assistance technology and property management.

Recognizing the cross-over, organizers of the recent Modular and Offsite Construction (MOC) Summit stretched the boundaries of this year’s summit and successfully created an enhanced information exchange opportunity across multiple, complementary disciplines.

The sixth annual MOC Summit, co-sponsored by Alberta Innovates, was organized by the Hole School of Construction Engineering at the University of Alberta. Billed as a multi-conference, the four-day event included the International Symposium on Automation and Robotics in Construction (ISARC) and the International Conference on Construction and Real Estate Management (ICCREM).

Dr. Mohamed Al-Hussein, conference chair and the NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Industrialization of Building Construction at the U of A, said the MOC Summit demonstrates Alberta’s leadership in modular and offsite construction. There is strong and continuing support not only from the private sector, but also from the Alberta government through agencies such as Alberta Innovates, he said.

Speaking to participants, Dr. Christine Murray, Director of Agricultural Technologies at Alberta Innovates, noted that the summit was an excellent venue for information exchange on mass timber buildings, and the role that modular and offsite construction can play to advance this novel construction technology.

Alberta Innovates supports a few research projects related to modular and offsite building technology through its Alberta Bio Future program. “Many of the innovations supported through our Alberta Bio Future program in biomaterials and biochemicals from Alberta agriculture and forestry biomass will ultimately find applications in buildings of the future,” says Steve Price, Executive Director of Bioindustrial Innovation at Alberta Innovates.

Modular and offsite construction technology has advantages over current on-site, stick-built construction, says Dr. Al-Hussein. These include increased productivity, reduced costs and construction time, higher-quality products, healthier environments for workers and occupants, and decreased environmental footprint.

Attendees left the MOC Summit understanding that the future need for modular and offsite construction will grow and be in much higher demand than anticipated, due to shifting expectations of a smaller pool of new workers entering the workforce. The question is whether industry will be ready to meet their expectations and comfort level working in a factory building environment, equipped with a high degree of automation.

All presenters at this year’s MOC Summit focused their presentations on the theme “Industry 4.0 for Resilient Urbanization” to an international audience of more than 400 academics, manufacturers, suppliers, building developers, general contractors and developers of government policy.

Industry 4.0 is a name given to the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies. It is also sometimes referred to as the fourth industrial revolution.

Dr. Al-Hussein says inclusion of the ISARC (automation and robotics) conference and its speakers was particularly timely, given growing interest within Canada’s building industry for increased use of robotics. Canada is in a catch-up mode compared to other parts of the industrialized world when it comes to robotic applications in this industry, he adds. The MOC Summit featured as many as 200 scientists with robotics expertise.

“The third industrial revolution is considered to be the introduction of robotics and its application mainly in manufacturing,” says Dr. Al-Hussein. “Industry 4.0 is how we can use and share data using advanced tools and cloud-computing. Autonomous assistance and devices like drones use a lot of data. The fourth industrial revolution today is about data, information and analytics.”

The ICCREM conference, featuring primarily individuals involved in property management, was also a good fit with the MOC Summit because they will lead the expanded uptake of advanced MOC technology in commercial applications through their support for it.

“In addition to manufacturing robotics, the word resilience has also been overlooked in Canada,” says Dr. Al-Hussein.

He says that we need to accept the fact that the weather is changing, which should cause municipalities to consider how future structures should be designed and built. They should have greater ability to withstand unexpected events and whatever is built—whether they are homes, hospitals, roads or underground infrastructure—should have the ability to be put back into service to design standards quickly.

Presentations at the MOC Summit are available for review online through at For more information about the Alberta Innovates Bio Future program, contact Julia Necheff at [email protected].


Improved FPSuite modules provide higher efficiency for your forest operations

New FPDat II features flexibility of use and productivity gains

FPInnovations’ Fibre Supply Group is proud to introduce FPDat II, a tool designed to collect and analyze forestry machine performance and production data. Below is a description of improvements available with this new version.

How has the original FPDat version been enhanced?

Compared to the original system, FPDat II is a data acquisition module that shares information with a Windows tablet. This more compact, easy-to-install system can be used with or without a tablet, for much greater flexibility. The tablet goes effortlessly from the field to the office, to manage configurations and updates.

What needs do the changes address?

Mainly the need for additional flexibility. An optional high-precision GPS receiver and the possibility to work without a tablet mean a wider price range and also better address the needs for various equipment: data acquisition only, navigation, standard or high-precision GPS data collection, engine data, etc.

What impact will these enhancements have on the tool’s users?

A lower purchase price for many types of equipment that do not require a complete system like the original FPDat version. The system is easier to install and more compact. Lastly, instead of installing MultiDAT units (old technology) for applications that do not require interactions with users, FPDat II covers all needs, simplifying equipment purchases.

Does FPDat II work the same way on the FPSuite telematics platform?

Absolutely! Data is 100 per cent compatible with FPTrak, FPInnovations’ operations tracking system. The data acquired by FPDat II is essentially the same as legacy system data.

Where can one find more information on FPDat II and how it works?

Feel free to contact FPInnovations or your local distributor for help in making the right decision based on your data collection needs and application in a particular piece of equipment.

FPInterface: Several improvements for version 2.1.0

The newly released 2.1.0 version of FPInterface includes improvements, new practical functionalities, and corrections of bugs. Here’s an overview of the new features:

  • Import of 32-bit version systems: The files exported from the previous version of FPInterface, with the extension .FPINT, can now be imported into this new version directly from the systems window. The integrated conversion tool is compatible with systems from version 1.8.1 and up.
  • Identification of road network corrections: When this feature is enabled, and FPInterface finds anchor points, a layer is added to the system to view and validate the corrections made.
  • New branding and logo!

Additional information can be obtained by contacting Martin Castonguay, Manager, Precision Forestry Group at FPInnovations at [email protected].

Smart Operator for Forestry: Video series now available online

Equipment operators have a huge impact on fuel efficiency and productivity. The difference in productivity between the worst and best operators can be as much as 30 per cent, while proper maintenance of a machine can result in significant fuel savings.

To help its members increase their productivity, FPInnovations offers Smart Operator for Forestry workshops across Canada. These workshops can be delivered at member company facilities upon request. The course takes three hours to complete.

For those who cannot attend a workshop or prefer to view the information at their own pace, FPInnovations has now launched a video series that teaches participants how to choose the right machine for the job, when to replace worn out machines, and how to operate to improve their energy intensity, or fuel consumption per unit of production.

There are five videos in the series, each approximately 12 minutes long, which makes for a convenient way to brush up on your knowledge of machine operations. This series introduces the concept of tracking fuel use and the factors that drive energy intensity; it is designed for equipment operators, logging contractors, and supervisors of logging and millyard operations, who are eager to improve their fuel efficiency, but cannot take the time to sit for a half-day classroom session.

Implementing the operational improvements presented can save on fuel costs and boost productivity by 10 per cent or more.

If you are striving to find that last bit of savings in your operations, you can view the videos here:

Getting started:

Energy intensity - why does it matter?

Fuel management:

Operating tips for lower energy intensity:

Basics of spec’ing and Smart Operator course summary:

The videos will soon be available in French. If you have questions or want to schedule a Smart Operator for Forestry workshop in your community, feel free to contact Cameron Rittich ([email protected]) for more information.

CWFC's forest practices innovation supports practical and focused research


Over the past 35 years, the Canadian Forest Service (CFS) and Canadian Wood Fibre Centre (CWFC) of Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) have had the foresight to partner with industry and other research agencies to invest in small, medium, and large-scale research sites to test innovative and relevant forest management practices within Canada’s commercial forest in various geographic locations.

Twenty-year-old white spruce on high speed mixed site with 75 percent poplar retention.

This effort is now paying big dividends and making its way into commercial forest management practices.

A number of proven and demonstrated innovative forest management practices developed by CFS/CWFC on what are known as “legacy” sites are being adopted by industry because of the obvious benefits, one being significantly enhanced growth response.

The over 1000-hectare Ecosystem Management Emulating Natural Disturbance (EMEND) legacy site in northern Alberta is just one example of what can be achieved when these innovative practices are applied.

In some instances on the EMEND site, the site prepared and planted white spruce growth response has been nothing short of astounding, with white spruce seedlings achieving as much as 5 to 6 metres of height growth in just 20 years within partial harvest poplar/aspen stands.

Furthermore, it typically takes nature 20 to 25 years to achieve establishment height of 1.3 metres. CWFC’s innovative practices as demonstrated at EMEND achieved establishment height in 4 to 7 years on some test sites, which will reduce rotation age significantly.

Derek Sidders, Project Manager, Technology Development and Transfer at CWFC, says that these types of well-designed legacy sites continue to influence site preparation and vegetation management treatments across Canada. He said that these harvesting patterns at EMEND have been adopted in various thinning applications as well as mountain pine beetle rehabilitation applications in Alberta and adjacent provinces.

The focus of CWFC throughout its technology development work has been to ensure that these innovative practices are economical, tested in a variety of potential common harvesting scenarios, and use conventional logging equipment for easy knowledge transfer and acceptance by industry.

EMEND is unique in the world as a research site and is described as a large-scale variable retention harvest experiment. Established 20 years ago, its original partners included CWFC working under the umbrella of the Canadian Forest Service, Daishowa-Marubeni International (DMI), which is now owned by Mercer International, Canfor, the University of Alberta, and many others.

CFS/CWFC technical development staff originally engineered the forest harvesting design and deployment patterns and practices used at EMEND, such as concentrated machine corridors with retention strips and individual tree removal, which were adaptations from the Hotchkiss Mixed Wood Demonstration site 40 kilometres north of EMEND. They also used advanced site preparation techniques such as mounding and high speed mixing, all adapted for use selectively for partial harvest systems where an excavator can deploy the treatments from designated machine corridors.

“The innovative practices that were deployed at EMEND addressed the management and research and development objectives of mimicking natural disturbances, primarily wildfire, by commercially harvesting over 125,000 cubic metres of mixed woods comprising of four specific stages in the Boreal mixed wood lifecycle,” says Sidders.

Test sites were comprised of pure hardwoods, hardwoods with white spruce understory, mixed woods consisting of both mature white spruce and aspen or hardwoods, and pure softwoods.

CWFC and partners deployed novel and commercially feasible harvesting and log retrieval systems to achieve 10, 20, 50 and 75 per cent tree retention on operational cutblock-scale test sites. The goal was to minimize ground disturbance by using five metre wide machine corridors with 15 metre retention strips between the corridors, creating the ability to retrieve full tree length stems on either side of the corridor. Controls of a clearcut and an undisturbed site were established for research comparison purposes.

CWFC and its partners established both applied and focused research biological response monitoring protocols to achieve statistical integrity from the gathered data for long term knowledge transfer and reporting. Certain selected areas received a follow up silviculture treatment to mimic a complete typical commercial forest treatment cycle to evaluate growth response as part of this research project.

“Twenty years later, and after hundreds of peer reviewed publications covering most forest ecology and management subjects, EMEND continues to guide researchers, forest managers and regulators with evidence-based results,” says Sidders.

For more information about the EMEND legacy project and innovative practices deployed on this site and others, contact Derek Sidders at [email protected] or Tim Keddy at [email protected].

Logging and Sawmilling Journal
June/July 2019

On the Cover:
Tom Fisher Logging conducts selective harvesting in a forest that consists of several high-value wood species, which provides him with the opportunity to tap into a variety of markets for his wood products. Fisher very ably maintains good relations with inquisitive local cottage owners about the sound of logging equipment and resource road traffic as they enjoy their lake properties. (Cover shot of a Tigercat 822C feller buncher with a 22” hotsaw head by Tony Kryzanowski)

A win-win forest management plan
The First Nations-owned Agoke Development Corporation is working on a forest management plan that could revolutionize the economic structure of forest management in northwestern Ontario—and deliver benefits to First Nations communities and the forest industry.

Managing all the moving parts
Veteran Ontario logger Tom Fisher has plenty of experience at managing the many moving parts—including keeping local cottage owners in the know—that are involved in harvesting high value hardwood forests.

Bright future for fiberboard operation
With a steady source of residual wood supply from mill operations in the region, the MDF plant in Pembroke, Ontario is looking forward to a positive future under its new ownership, Roseburg Forest Products.

Taking their logging to a whole new level
Ontario’s Henry Petkau had modest goals when he started Henry’s Trucking—but with his son, Bob, joining the operation, they have now expanded, and added new Southstar processing equipment that has taken timber production to a whole new level.

Getting higher OSB production at High Prairie
With a $50 million capital investment, forest company Tolko Industries has re-opened and boosted the production capacity at its re-commissioned High Prairie oriented strand board plant in Alberta by 40 per cent.

Sorting it all out—log-wise
The Shoal Island logging sort in B.C. truly lives up to its name, doing upwards of up to 180 log sorts, but doing it all with the environment in mind.

B.C. FNFC launches new First Nations workforce strategy

The Edge
Included in this edition of The Edge, Canada’s leading publication on research in the forest industry, are stories from Alberta Innovates, Canadian Wood Fibre Centre (CWFC) and FPInnovations.

The Last Word
Tony Kryzanowski says the Forest Machinery Connectivity project is a good investment in “What If” science.


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