A new take on an old method to deal with forestry slash is set to help New Zealand logging crews more effectively manage skid sites and landings…….with the potential to increase productivity.
The locally developed Falcon Slash Grapple Rake brings fresh thinking to slash control in a typical Kiwi approach.
The Falcon Slash Grapple Rake fits around two of the most common sizes of Ensign grapple and an independent study shows that it can reduce the laborious task by as much as one hour a day, whilst improving safety and environmental outcomes.
Designed by loggers – for loggers
The idea for the new attachment was suggested by Moutere Logging M3 Crew Manager Steve Johnson, who was frustrated with existing methods of managing slash and debris on their sites.
“I was up on the skid for three hours one evening moving slash for management purposes and thought there’s got to be a better way as I continued to pick up small loads,” says Steve.
The Falcon Slash Grapple Rake consists of a one-piece spring lock system to attach to either side of a standard Ensign grapple commonly used for loading. It can effectively grab huge amounts of slash in one go, which can then be precisely placed in a designated area.
“There was three points which I determined it needed to have when it was designed. One – it must be quick to take on and off. Two – it needs to have minimal maintenance and accessories to ensure it’s simple…. No plumbing. And lastly it needed to be versatile to be able to still be used for logs such as loading or sorting if needed.” Steve told us as we were hooking it up it in the space of 3 minutes flat.
An industry perspective
“Clearing slash from skids and landings can be a real headache,” says Darrin Barr of DC Equipment, the company behind Falcon Forestry Equipment products.
“It can slow down operations and make them unsafe if you don’t keep on top of it. But you also need to deal with slash in an environmentally responsible manner, ensuring it doesn’t end up in waterways or impede access. Simply pushing it over the edge of a slope might not be the best way to deal with it.
“Slash grapples aren’t new, but the suggestion made by Steve for an attachment that fits around an existing grapple is a great solution. The aim was to turn that into a simple piece of engineering that works well in the forest.”
Fitting in with current systems and adding value from day one
DC Equipment has designed two versions conjunction with a local engineering company – one to fit the Ensign 1530 and a larger model to fit the Ensign 1730, weighing 1100kg and 1200kg respectively, in addition to the weight of the grapple. Fitting or removing from the host grapple takes around three minutes.
The grapple rakes are already working well with the Moutere crews and grabbed a lot of attention when displayed for the first time at the recent forestry show in Rotorua.
With 7 more pencilled in on order from conversations during the prototype phase, it has highlighted the versatility of the Falcon Slash Grapple Rake, thanks to its ability to augment an existing Ensign Rotating Grapple, along with ease of use.
“If you have an alternate branded grapple there’s scope to include these during our development with the final solution being a complete grapple product that is versatile across the skid” says Darrin.
Read the full article on the Falcon Forestry Equipment website here: https://www.falconforestryequipment.com/media/never-grapple-with-slash-again
Media Release 14 February 2023.