By Tony Kryzanowski
Developed in New Zealand, the Harvestline mobile cable yarder is available in North America through Technical Forest Solutions (TFS), based in Kelso, Washington. TFS provides distribution in Canada through a network of dealers.
On extreme slopes with challenging ground conditions, a cable yarder system is often deployed to retrieve fallen logs. A simple system consists of a guyline tethered yarder and backspar connected with overhead cables consisting of main and haulback lines. Guylines are typically tethered to stumps to hold yarders in place. A carriage moves along a skyline, controlled by an operator either in the yarder cab or on the ground.
There are choker setter crews on the ground that chain or ‘choke’ logs to the overhead carriage, and once connected, the engineer operator has to wait for the chokermen to clear to a safe spot. Then he lifts and transports the logs to an area where they are either hoe chucked, forwarded, or placed on a landing for processing and delivery. A manual chaser removes the chains from the log at the landing, although there are automatic release systems for that now.
Vince Wilbur, Product Support and Sales Manager for TFS, describes Harvestline as a mobile, purpose-built grapple yarding system designed to be mounted on a forestry excavator/log loader base machine. The system features hydraulically-powered winches that provide precise control of the carriage and grapple. “Control in grapple logging is money,” he says.
B.C. logger Ray Harscarl, who put the first Harvestline to work in North America, says that the winches are fully interlocked, and that’s a very key aspect of the machine.
“When you haul in with your mainline, your haulback line automatically feeds out at the same speed,” says Hascarl. “You have a foot pedal to control speed, and you can feed in or feed out with a push of a button. It’s so easy and smooth to run, it’s crazy. It is the number one reason why I went with the Harvestline system over some of the other manufacturers.”
An excavator equipped with Harvestline has a fold-down mast. With the mast extended, wires cables run from a spool on the back of the excavator, through the top of the mast, and are connected to a stump or mobile backspar like another excavator or log loader, to establish an overhead skyline system that supports the grapple.
Wilbur says Harvestline offers considerably better control over older style yarders because it doesn’t involve clutches, brakes and air controls. It’s all hydraulically controlled. Unlike traditional yarders, the Harvestline is a hydraulic yarder designed for grapple logging. Its hydraulic drivetrain and fully-integrated control system provide precise control of the grapple. The Harvestline uses a motorized grapple carriage called the Hawkeye. The two are engineered and designed to work together. The Hawkeye uses an onboard camera system, providing eyes on the ground for the operator.
“With the Harvestline system, you’ve got two guys doing the work of what used to be a five- to six-man crew,” says Wilbur.
The Harvestline can work out to as far as 1,200 ft, but it works best between 600 ft to 900 ft in either uphill or downhill log retrieval, in medium to extreme slope ground.
“The Harvestline has many advantages over traditional yarders but where it really shines is the ability to set up and work with no guylines and the Hawkeye grapple gets workers off the ground,” says Wilbur. “The ease of operation and precise control make the Harvestline equally productive in bunched and hand felled wood.”
On the Cover:
Winch-assist systems are becoming an essential tool for some Canadian loggers as they pursue options to help with harvesting harder to access—but valuable—timber on both steep slopes and in adverse ground conditions. B.C.’s Essential Evergreen Contracting have mounted a quick-attach T10 Timbermax traction winch to a Hitachi ZAXIS 290 Forester to do steep slope skidding (cover photo by Anthony Robinson).
Beetle attack growing in B.C.
The numbers are revealing: the spruce bark beetle outbreak in the B.C. Interior has been growing at an alarming rate—and it’s gaining momentum.
Kiwi equipment cuts steep slope logging costs
The New Zealand-produced—and new to B.C.—Harvestline mobile cable yarder is proving to be a good solution to accessing extreme steep slope timber in the province’s tough geography.
Getting an edge on steep slope skidding
B.C. logger Creole Dufor is gaining an edge on skidding on steep slopes with help from the Timbermax quick-attach winch-assist unit.
Forest pays dividends—to the town
The B.C. town of Powell River has seen big-time benefits from its community forest, with a hot log market meaning significant investments in community projects—and work being created for local contractors.
Grinding it out is a team effort
The Canadian Woodlands Forum’s Outstanding Logging Contractor of the Year—New Brunswick’s Jack McMillan—started out in trucking, but now runs a major chipping and grinding operation, with a strong focus on employees working as a team.
Opening the door to further growth
An investment in a new cut line, featuring high performance scanning technology, is helping Quebec’s Milette Doors meet increasing demand for its products throughout North America.
Achieving contractor sustainability is just going to be plain tough
B.C. logging contractors are continuing to push for a viable business sustainability model, but there is some tough work ahead to achieve that goal.
Included in this edition of The Edge, Canada’s leading publication on research in the forest industry, are stories from the Canadian Wood Fibre Centre, Alberta Innovates and FPInnovations.
The Last Word
New logging technologies are good for both loggers—and the environment, says Tony Kryzanowski.