Raffaele Spinelli, Natascia Magagnotti & Rubén Laina Relaño
The study investigated the possibility of replacing aggressive crawler tractors used in Alpine logging operations with a new rubber-tired mini-skidder, in the same size and cost class. Replacement proved desirable in terms of environmental protection and labor safety, and offered substantial economic benefits. While it required a moderate additional initial investment, extraction cost was reduced between 30 and 50%. On the average skidding distance of 130 m, productivity was 3.2 and 4.1 m3 per scheduled machine hour, respectively for the crawler and the skidder. Depending on extraction distance, skidding cost ranged from 19 to 47 V m3 for the crawler, and from 13 to 23 V m3 for the skidder. A model was developed to estimate machine productivity, extraction cost, and energy use for both machines (conventional and innovative) under a variety of work conditions typical of non-industrial private forestry. This information can be used for operational costing, planning and optimization. It can also serve to measure energy savings obtained through machine replacement.
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