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Safer tree-falling tech going from NZ to BC

10 December 2015

The tables are about to be turned on logging contractors in British Columbia. After years of exporting logging equipment and technology to countries like New Zealand, there's been big change in forest harvesting down under. Kiwi loggers are set to show off their safe logging innovations on Canada's west coast in March 2016.

In recent years, loggers in New Zealand have faced massive safety challenges in tree falling, especially on steep slopes. They had to reduce accidents. It took a contractor to respond quickly to the dilemma by building a specialised harvester to meet local needs.

Once the first steep slope harvester, the ClimbMax was proven on the hill, more engineering innovators developed competing designs. This spark in competition drove innovation. The results are now set to provide those same safety benefits to loggers working on steep slopes in Canada and USA.

One of the first to build an engineered solution for his loyal logging customers was Chris Hancock of Electrical & Machinery Services (EMS) in Rotorua, on New Zealand's North Island.
Hancock and his EMS design team worked closely with their logger clients and professional engineers to ask, "How can we tick all of the boxes for safety and engineering requirements first?"

Working closely with the engineers, they then set out to see how steep they could take a Caterpillar feller-buncher on forest slopes while keeping the operator safe but productive.
"Safety and productivity can be designed into a modern harvester that tackles steep slopes", says Hancock. "We worked with a professional engineer to ensure no safety or engineering principles were compromised," he adds.

The result is a double winch system that is controlled by a separate base machine remotely controlled by the harvester operator – the "Tractionline" system. (http://emsnewzealand.co.nz/products/tractionline/) 

"Our logging design team have worked closely with both loggers and forest managers", says Hancock, "we need everyone's input so our designs perform.

"Engineering standards come first, then we need to meet performance expectations. So far it's working well."

Hancock leads a focused logging equipment company based in Rotorua – the heart of New Zealand forestry. He's quick to point out, " Our success very much comes from a team effort." 

EMS has a long history of supplying innovative equipment. EMS is highly regarded for their innovations in cable logging. Their new Tractionline steep slope harvesting system comes on the back of years of boosting logger productivity with their Harvestline system – a highly developed hybrid excavator/yarder.

Personally, Hancock has years of logging experience himself, working on New Zealand's toughest logging country on the east coast of the North Island. He is one of a small group of practical logging speakers heading to Vancouver for the first "Steep Slope Logging" Conference planned Vancouver on March 2, 2016. Check out the full programme at http://steepslopelogging.events

Source: Innovatek media release