Forest harvesting and transport
Programme leader: Dr Ger Devlin
One of the main drivers of this programme was the potential to use GPS technology to improve transport logistics and reduce operating costs in the forest sector. The GPSTRACK project is a significant step in the overall integration of information technology into the Irish forest industry. The work was carried out in collaboration with industry and the Forest Industry Transport Group (FITG) and assessed the potential of vehicle tracking devices and engine diagnostic sensors and made recommendations regarding their use in timber haulage.
There are approximately 320 Coillte-contracted timber haulage trucks in operation in the country. The overloading that occurred in the past has been significantly reduced, making the sector one of the most compliant across the entire haulage industry. As a result, payloads are smaller, but haulage costs have increased, mainly due to the unpredictable cost of road diesel. Furthermore, as the maximum gross vehicle weight (g.v.w) for 5 axle trucks is due to revert from the current 42 tonnes to 40 tonnes, possibly in 2009, this will also impact on revenue per kilometre. Taking these factors into account it is imperative that maximum legal payloads are hauled 100% of the travelling time in order to maintain and build competitiveness in a sector that impacts significantly on the delivered-in price of roundwood. The basis for the LOADSENSOR project was therefore to develop and test the most appropriate, affordable and accurate on-board weight systems for optimising payload weights for in-forest loading and remote load monitoring.
GPSTRACK and LOADSENSOR are projects that have arisen as a result of recommendations in the FITG Code of Practice for Timber Haulage:
Potential benefits and outcomes of this programme include:
Projects in this programme are:
GPSTRACK: Assessment of GPS tracking devices and associated software suitable for real time monitoring of timber haulage trucks
LOADSENSOR: Evaluation of air bag pressure sensors/gauges as load weighing devices for use on timber haulage trucks