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    01 Nov 2014 
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Last Update: 08 Sep 2014

SATMODO


   

Objectives

 
The initial project objectives were to improve the management of timber harvesting for both forest owners and harvest machine operators by improving the links with the supply chain. Forest harvest machines were monitored in real-time or near real-time using satellite and cellular networks providing information back onto a central web platform. This information helped to reduce waste and to ensure the right proportion of logs were harvested by allowing individual machines or groups of machines to be monitored. An in-vehicle device was installed in each harvest vehicle also facilitating in-vehicle mapping (boundaries & hazards) for the machine operator.
In the CCN, forest forwarding machines were monitored in real-time or near real-time using the same techniques as the harvesting machine. This information helped to increase efficiency by ensuring the flow of logs was monitored for pick up by timber trucks. It also helped to manage and ensure the right logs are forwarded to the best locations. An in-vehicle device was installed in each forwarder vehicle which also facilitated in-vehicle mapping and positioning of boundaries and hazards for the machine operator. The added security features provided timely alerts to owners/managers of interference with machines in remote locations.

Features

The SATMODO harvest system  consists of the following elements:  
  • A full web-integrated remote harvest machine management tool
  • An in-vehicle hybrid Satellite/GPRS data communications device for use in remote forest locations
  • Real-time or near real-time data connectivity
  • Data compression over satellite terrestrial networks
  • A GPS tracker on monitored vehicles
  • An interface to the on-board computers on cut-to-length harvest machines
The features developed to date include:
Production Monitoring: 
  • Live production monitoring to help with harvest planning and that the correct quantities of log types are harvested. 
Multiple User Platform: 
  • The live data can be shared between users to enable efficient transfer of data and improve efficiencies. E.g. the machine owner can share the data with the forest owner and harvest manager who can then share the data with the timber purchaser (sawmill).
Integration with TLS (terrestrial laser scanning) forest inventory system: 
  • The system is fully integrated with TreeMetrics TLS forest inventory system to improve log product volume return efficiency therefore protecting forest value. 
Post Harvest Returns:
  • The position and production data from the machine can provide inventory returns such as number of trees and volume cut. This can enable better management of the resource post harvest operation. 
Integration Between Various Machine Type Manufacturers: 
  • The system can work with multiple machine types and deliver comparable  production data. 
 
The SATMODO Forwarder project developed the following:
  • A web-integrated remote administration and reporting management interface
  • A GPS location device /tracker and mapper to aid management in improving efficiency and security
  • A forwarder machine tracking device
  • Added security Features using sensor alarm technology
  • Security sensors to provide timely alerts to owners of interference with machines
  • Adaptation to the power supply to provide continuous power to the single board computer
  • The Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs) to allow users to manage forwarder machines activities
  • System database and communications server development: Current SQL and Mongo databases shall be modified to cope with the new features demanded by the integration of forwarders

Project Plan

The initial harvester development lasted approx. 12months.
The Harvester machines had the SATMOD IVD installed to validate the project for a 3 month pilot phase in which 14 Harvesters appraised the systems performance.
The forwarder developments lasted for approx. 12 months also. The forwarder machines had the SATMOD IVD installed to validate the project for a 2 month pilot phase in which 6 forwarders appraised the systems performance.

Challenges

  • Ensuring quality commercial service and excellent performance reports.
  • A possible challenge could be customer's willingness and ability to pay and mitigations against price push back and price reductions. This can be resolved by offering different price packages depending on the customer's usage of the system. For frequent users they can pay a package price which would be at a controlled reduced rate. A pricing strategy will be controlled on the amount of information made available to the customer. 

Benefits

The main benefits of SATMODO are:
  • Help reduce time and inefficient harvesting and forwarding of wood.
  • Users ability to monitor their entire production.
  • Recording of delivery locations of multiple log types to various roadside locations for transport pick up and improved security
  • Improve efficiency due to the proper management and monitoring of progress.
  • Reductions of production costs due to the improvement of the timber/log product supply chain.
  • Cost Saving  from using the SATMODO system come from
    i. Reduction in management cost for the forest owner, harvest manager and machine owner.
    ii. Reduction in cost from Boundary marking / Navigation.
    iii. Travel costs to and from forest property greatly reduced due to live monitoring.
    iv. Ability to control the wood flow for harvest managers, forest owners and machine owners. 

Current Status (dated: 08 Sep 2014)

The SATMODO harvesting machine project is successfully completed.
The harvesting machine pilot stage successfully demonstrated the following,
 
A.  Monitoring of cut to length harvest machines in real-time or near-real time in order to collect “live” harvest activity data from them
B.   That there is a valid business case for the SATMODO system through the delivery of improved  harvest management and process control
C.  That SATMODO performs satisfactorily in the delivery, processing and presentation of data derived from the harvesting process from any forest location using satellite and GPRS data transfer
 
The project extension to the forwarder machines was successfully completed in August 2014.
 
The Forwarding machine pilot stage successfully demonstrated the following,
 
A.     Monitoring of the Forwarding machines in real-time or near-real time in order to collect “live” forwarder activity data.
B.    Ability to communicate between the harvester and the forwarder. To provide locations and transfer data.
C.     Recorded Log types, quantity and roadside location is displayed on a web basis.
D.   Forwarder security to notify owner via Text and email of machine interference.

Main Achievements:

The SATMODO project has achieved most of the target objectives according to the user requirements. 

The SATMODO project has three major outcomes:

(1) The development of the system enabling the operational service;

(2) The pilot of the service to the users; and

(3) The establishment of agreements with the pilot partners to use the system on a commercial basis.

 

The Harvester system was successfully implemented in 14 cut to length harvest machines as test vehicles for the pilot operation. SATMODO in-vehicle devices were installed in all 14 machines, linking the on-board computers in the cut-to-length (CTL) harvest machines via a local Bluetooth connection. The Pilot operations for the Harvester Machine were conducted from February 2013 to May 2013.

The system was installed in 6 Forwarder machines as test vehicles for the pilot operation. In-vehicle devices were successfully upgraded 6 CTL machines in order to reliably link the data from the cut-to-length (CTL) harvest machines with the Forwarder Machine.The Pilot operations for the Forwarder Machines were conducted from April 2014 to July 2014.

SATMODO is commercialised with the name RTFI™ (Real Time Forest Inventory); it has been successfully designed to provide an In-Vehicle-Device and online service for the efficient access and analysis of Harvesting and Forwarding data to aid in the management of the forest resource.

The adoption of new technology by the forestry industry has been very promising. Both machine owners and the Harvest managers, representing the forestry industry in Ireland, have expressed a willingness to use RTFI in the future.

The Pilot also has provided valuable feedback and results which include:

  • 16% improvement in distance travelled by Forest Machines due to more effective route planning as a result of In-Vehicle-Navigation & Maps
  • Faster Communication to and from the Machine 100% of the time when compared to the current system.
  • 12.5% less trips necessary to the forest for harvest managers due to the ability to plan and communicate online.


Last Update: 08 Sep 2014
 
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