Timber sales are often limited by wet conditions, steep roads, and small landing sizes. We investigated a means to work more efficiently under these conditions. Providing a means for the direct transport of logs from the forest to the mill can eliminate the need for a loader and reduce transition time between skidding or forwarding and road transportation. This capability can improve the revenue received from timber sales, reduce the cost of stewardship projects, and increase our management options to reduce landing sizes and work with unfavorable conditions.
The solution identified was the incorporation of a hook-lift system on to a forwarder. The hook lift system can accomodate log bunks, or bins that can haul slash, chips, logs, or debris. The hook-lift system adapted to a forwarder allows the forwarder to load a bin or log bunk, drive it to a suitable landing, and unload the whole bin/bunk as a unit. The log truck or haul truck then loads the loaded bunks or bins directly using the hook lift system. The advantage of this system is the time savings of not needing to unload the forwarder log by log and loading the truck log by log. Loaded bunks can be staged so that the log truck does not need to wait for a loader to load his bunks.
There are many possible advantages to this system, including but not limited to:
- eliminates loading delays at the landing
- allows easy exchange from bunks to containers to fire suppression equipment, etc.
- permits transport of multiple empty bunks or bins via "nesting"
- reduces handling of individual logs , chips, slash or debris
- allows a variety of products to be transported with the same truck configuration
- increases the feasibility of transfer yard
To date, a hooklift system has been installed on a forwarder owned by Cky-Ber logging in Montana. San Dimas provided a grant to the Montana Community Development Corporation (MCDC) who worked with Cky-Ber to implement this system. The hooklift has been installed, and is currently operating on timber sales. Cky-Ber built both log bunks and chip containers that work with this system.
A recent study in Montana used the hook-lift system on trucks hauling chips, but forest-going vehicles with the hook-lift system where not used. In this case, the truck payload could not be maximized. The University of Montana recently performed productivity studies of this system, the results will be linked on this page when they are available.
The link below, above the images, will take you to the MCDC site. This site has additional pictures and reports concerning the hooklift project.
Acknowledgements: This project was initiated by the proposer, Mike Malone, of the Mount Hood National Forest in Region 6; it was refined by the Forest Management Steering Committee.
These images show the hooklift on a harvest site.
These show the hooklift system with both a container
for hauling slash and a log bunk for pulling out logs.
The image above shows the hooklift system
after unloading a bunk full of logs.
These images show the hooklift operating in the woods.
In this operation it is removing logs with the bunks to
the landing. The slash is loaded in containers and hauled to
the landing for further processing and transport.