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Smart Forwarder for sustainable and efficient forest operation and management

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - Forwarder2020 (Smart Forwarder for sustainable and efficient forest operation and management)

Reporting period: 2018-04-01 to 2019-09-30

Forwarder2020 aims at improving sustainability of wood production and delivery as well as operational forest management and planning by developing five specific innovations for more efficient forwarders (wood extraction and transportation vehicles). Improvement of eco-friendliness and operational productivity of the forwarders will have the biggest direct effects to reach a more sustainable forest operation, including soil and climate protection.
Forwarder2020 project had then the following main objective of producing an innovative forestry machine, which will:
• Minimize damages on forest soils by reducing ground pressure under the machine wheels (avoid deep ruts, soil compression and reduction of growth of fine roots)
• Improve the fuel economy to decrease the need of fuel transport to the operation site and work interruption
• Improve driver’s comfort to diminish impact on the health and increase motivation of the operators
• Improve the timber harvesting on wetlands
• Improve transparency and documentation of the timber production
• Decrease the costs per volume extracted
Forwarder2020 developed five innovative modules to be integrated into forwarders and focusing on the above mentioned objectives: hydrostatic mechanical transmission, suspended cabin, hybrid energy saving crane system, triple-bogie rear axle and monitoring system, which were tested under real operational conditions in Germany, Scotland, Lithuania and Romania.
Originally, the hydrostatic mechanical transmission had to be installed together with the suspended-Bogie-axle into one prototype. Although successfully developed, the time for the production and test of the suspended axle within the frame of the project was too short because of the long production time. The consortium changed its strategy by replacing the suspended axle by a suspended cabin,allowing then to test the promising transmission. The final benefit on the driver is the same, only the stress on the chassis was not reduced as foreseen.
The energy-saving-crane, the triple-bogie-axle and the monitoring-system were installed in a second prototype, which was successfully tested in Germany, Scotland and Lithuania.
The tests of both prototypes were successful and all goals set by the consortium were achieved. Expectations regarding energy saving and environmental protection have all been met.
Specific results achieved on the 5 modules:
• Suspended bogie axle with hydropneumatic suspension
The suspended axle and the associated hydro-pneumatic suspension were completely designed, dimensioned and are ready for production. It is actually on a TRL4 but the time to market is estimated around 2022. Partners are already preparing the next steps towards the production and tests of this innovative suspended axle for forwarders.
• Suspended Cabin
THe suspended cabin and the related suspensions were successfully designed and produced during the proejct by partners HSM, Roteca and Hydac. The field tests of this suspended cabin showed amazing results with extreme reduction of vibrations on the driver. Only one competitor is actually coming close to the Forwarder2020 developed solution. The suspended cabin has reached TRL8 and is ready for market access.
• Triple bogie axle with 3 driven wheels on each side
The prototype of the triple-bogie has been successfully produced and integrated into the forwarder prototype. The demonstration tests in Saxony and Scotland as well as field tests Lithuania were a full success. The design was really challenging as this axle, being bigger than a normal axle, has to be interchangeable with this latter. The actual status is a TRL8 and it will be proposed to HSM clients in a really near future.
• Energy-saving crane with energy recuperation system
The whole system was first simulated according to reference cycles based on real working processes. Forwarder2020 is using a prototype crane from the manufacturer Epsilon, but the whole hydraulic system was designed and produced by the partners. The final integration on the forwarder was successful and the crane system successfully tested in Germany, UK and Lithuania. The result is a fully functioning prototype with TRL8 close to serial production. Due to the latest hydraulic modifications, almost 30% savings during loading and unloading were achieved.
• Hydrostatic mechanical transmission
The HVT-R2 from partner DRTS (already in use in other agricultural machines) was adapted to the Forwarder2020 needs and integrated into the forwarder chassis. The transmission controller software has been developed, finalized and successfully tested. The end TRL is 8 and some minor improvement regarding the integration are still needed before being proposed to HSM clients.
• Sustainable management decision tool (software and hardware)
A series of specific sensors were installed on the forwarder to provide data about different machine parameters such as transported weight, position, fuel consumption, etc. All data are stored into a cloud storage and were analyzed by the iFOS software of the partner BFH which is run on-board on a tablet. The visualization of the data on the tablet is possible thanks to the adapted GeoMail interface from partner FIG. The integration of both iFOS and GeoMail was successfully implemented and tested. A prototype of a pile place generation system was achieved by the end of the project (TRL7-8), and may be a subject for further development/exploitation by forest industry customer.
The result of the Forwarder2020 project is the supply to the market of a flexible high-end solution above the competitors, where the customer can make his choice of equipment and bear no higher costs for the modules not chosen.
Forwarder2020 provide the following advantages and has the following impacts:
• Sustainable forest management decisions and operations: 1) the fuel consumption during driving on long distances has been reduced by 30% (field tests and test-bench) thanks to the innovative transmission; 2) the double recuperation of the potential energy of the innovative crane system saved almost 30% of the energy during loading and unloading
• Lower environmental impact of forest Management and harvesting operations: 1) low density of forest roads needed because of high efficiency on long hauling distances thanks to the innovative transmission system; 2) less rutting due to lower dynamic wheel loads (25% achieved in simulations), thanks to the suspended axle; 3) reduction of the ground pressure by approx. 50% on wetlands thanks to the triple bogie with three driven-wheels; 4) better planning, online-control and quality assurance of harvest operations thanks to the monitoring system
• Massive reduction of the risk to suffer of the occupational disease of back problems for the operator: vehicle suspension of the new forwarder reduce the low frequency vibrations by 70% at the same driving speed off-road thanks to the suspended cabin.
• Reduced need for truck roads networks; thus reduced negative ecological impact through truck roads: the transport of short-wood on the forwarder is more economical and the need for more forest road is minimized
• Sustainable supply of quality wood for the growth of forestry enterprises in the bio-economy and the creation of new jobs in SMEs: the vehicle suspension allows the job of machine operators to become more attractive thanks to the reduction of the vibrations and then the diminished risk of occupational disease.
triple-bogie axle
Project logo
forwarder prototype loading